When I used to fill out dating profiles online, the one section that had me flummoxed was ‘hobbies’. The main hobby I had was, er, dating.
It’s the same for my CV – ‘other interests’ tend to circle around eating out, seeing friends, cinema, sport. But hobbies? Hmm, not so much.
I’ve realised that I don’t really have a hobby and I wonder if I should have, as I approach 40. Surely by now I should have an interest that is something other than wine, food, bothering dogs and spinning.
Or should I? Do I need a hobby just because I'm a 'certain age'?
The pic with this post is me in The Boyfriend’s garden last weekend. He’s been doing it up and I was valiantly weeding as well as getting a bit stroppy with a piece of wood that I was supposed to be prising nails from but failing.
This was the second day in the garden together, and I can see why it could be a hobby.
But it’s not MY hobby. It’s his garden, I’m a willing helper, sure. Much as I was when a friend had an allotment many years ago. But it’s not MY thing. I have not instigated this activity. I am not planning the garden, or the veg crop rota. I am just a helper.
When we were little, hobbies were much more clearly defined, I think. There were no smartphones (is Instagram a hobby?!) and I had a few hobbies – I collected dolls and ornaments from around the world (don’t judge) and I liked baking.
Then when you get into your teens and twenties, hobbies are a bit geeky. Tell someone at a new magazine job - your first in London - that you’re into collecting dolls and you can expect the dolls to be your main group of mates.
Stamps and unusual bank notes are replaced by gig tickets and festival wristbands as collectors items. Suddenly making scones on a Sunday takes second place to a snakebite-and-black hangover.
I feel lacking that I don’t have a hobby as I approach 40. Shouldn’t I be sewing, or knitting, or salsa-ing, or something?
Sure, I go to spin class but that’s not a hobby in my eyes, that’s just exercise.
I did the marathon and tough mudder but they aren't hobbies. More, er, physical errors of judgement that my hips still hate me for.
I love writing but that’s my job, not a hobby.
My mum does silk painting and quilt making, that’s a hobby. My sister is a huge Tori Amos fan, is that a hobby? Or a passion? Are they different?
And why do I feel the need at this age in particular to have a hobby? I feel it ties in with legacy, somehow. That I would like to have something I’m interested in other than writing, exercise, eating, drinking and telly.
Travel doesn’t count, that’s not a hobby it’s in my blood. You’re either a world explorer or not. Skiing… maybe. But I’m not all ‘let’s browse the new technical skis’ I’m more ‘does this red run lead to a bar?’.
I feel that as I approach 40 I should have something that I do that’s not pub related, not gym related, and gives me something to keep my mind busy. Something I’m proud to say I’m interested in. Pottery, for example. Or painting. Perhaps I should start going on courses to find my hobby niche…
I tried calligraphy and that was very relaxing. But I realised that I am also very impatient (oh, okay, I knew that already) and sitting for hours just writing words was not really for me long-term. Are all hobbies things you need patience for? Growing veg, painting, DIY? (Is DIY a hobby? For me, it’s more shopping for cushions than working out how a drill works).
Because if you need patience, I am going to have a problem...
For me, a hobby has to be something that takes up though, time and has a practical element. Something which you can say is more than an interest. Which requires you to think, plan, and even shop.
Ooh, I can say shopping’s a hobby! Or addiction…?!
So my conclusion for now is that gardening does fit quite well – there’s the shopping for seeds, the maintaining the lawn, clearing up boxes of KFC left by the neighbourhood fox. I'm not un-green-fingered, I keep houseplants alive, and orchids. So I feel I could see this becoming something more for me, in the future, if I had my own garden. And for now I can practice with The Boyfriend in his.
And, well, I do already have the leopard print Hunter welly socks….
Let me know in the comments below if you have a hobby and why!