Embrace Hobbies as an Adult: The Optimal Kind of Play.

‘What Kind of hobbies do you have?’

Ask my younger self this question and expect to be talking for hours. Hobbies are a celebrated and mostly encouraged part of growing up; there is no end to the variety of what children love to do. Play is fundamental to the development of children as they adapt and grow, learning to develop their self-identity and interests. Play may be associated with fun, memory-making, being active and possessing creativity or imagination.

But as we get older, play is more of a taboo. Hobbies often come under that umbrella term of What is Play? It’s not something an adult seems to do- it may be considered childish and distracting from the nitty-gritty, serious stuff. The idea of being silly, risk-taking, being messy; can seem far away from the adult lives we are taught to lead. Without play, exists a bleak world that some adults live in. We miss out on the numerous benefits of engaging in play. For example, extra endorphins, better performance, creativity boost, stress relief and skill-building. We sacrifice healthy behaviours in fear of being judged. But one thing I learned in 2021, was that life is better when you finally let go of the judgment. Follow that same creative and free spark you had when you were young. But how do you do that?

It’s all down to one factor: Embracing your hobbies!

One relatively simple way of incorporating play into an adults daily life is through the formation of hobbies. Hobbies are great because they are so individualistic to each person. That objectivity itself is pretty special. It is a personal process of enjoying an activity that gives you what you need to challenge yourself, relax and enjoy life. The beauty is that you don’t have to follow the crowd when developing hobbies. You can be twenty and enjoy knitting scarves, fifty and attending dance classes, you can write a book at seventy. Why set the sky as the limit when you know beyond there is a whole universe?

Whatever interests you, hobbies have no time limit and can be for your pure enjoyment. Developing a hobby can seem pretty daunting at first. But when you realise that people are happiest doing something they enjoy and care about, a simple hobby can change your life.

Hobbies for Productivity

Hobbies can be a source of eventual income or business, so having a hobby that allows you to be productive can help contribute to your goals and success. Hobbies that fit with bigger goals can be a great way to increase productivity in those aspects of your life. So if you are working on a specific area of your life, for example, your career goals or adapting particular skills, find a hobby that contributes.

Research your area of interest, listen to podcasts, find inspiration in others with similar goals to you. And prepare to invest. Time, resources, research and money. If you are serious about something, 2022 can be your year to take that step towards your goals.

Need some inspiration? Check out five hobbies I am maintaining in 2022 to work towards my goals.

1. Writing

Writing is my longest-following hobby. I have been writing fictional stories since I could form letters. I wrote my first novel at 11 years old, continuing to do this into my teenage years. I dedicated hours to creating a world of my own at my fingertips. Then, like most writers, I got stuck. I was no longer able to write multiple chapters without stopping. I was coming down with a case of Writers Block induced by perfectionism.

But with some inspiration from some pretty motivational people, I took back to the pen and paper (Or now Keyboard) and began writing. Writing whatever I wanted. Messy, personal, thoughtful without worrying about being perfect. Writing is a hobby that requires mistakes to develop and find your authorial voice. When you stop aiming for perfection and seek to be consistent instead, this is where you will flourish. Every word, line, paragraph or chapter that you write will eventually make you a more efficient writer. Are you stuck for words? Find out how I learned to overcome writer’s block in my previous post: Beat the Block: How to prevent failure and be motivated to write.

2. Painting

This is a relatively new hobby, but I find myself painting when I need a bit of relaxation time. It has replaced Netflix nights and helps me focus, think and transform something. I have learnt to go with the flow, let the art change form as I paint and anticipate the finished result. Even if you are not super-skilled at drawing or painting, art can be a place of relaxation and thinking space. And the beauty of painting is that whatever you create is uniquely yours. Even if you are painting from a stencil, your style is uniquely yours. I find it beautiful that nobody can make your art the way you do. When my mind is preoccupied, painting helps me stay grounded.

If you don’t select any passion voluntarily, boredom will select you involuntarily.’

Amit Kalantri

3. Contacting my Future Self

So, this may be a bit of an unusual hobby. Perhaps you are asking ‘Katie, how exactly do you contact your future self?’. The answer is simple. I have been writing letters to my future self online for the past few years. I will continue to do so in 2022. Whenever I’m in a bit of a rut or something significant is happening in my life, I use a site such as http://futureme.org to jot down everything on my mind. One year into the future, I receive an email from my past self. Each time I read my letters, I see how far I have developed in a short amount of time. It is ultimately a tool for reflection. We sometimes focus on the really significant events, failing to see the steady progress we make over time. This hobby allows me to recognise that change happens over some time. It also gives me a bit of nostalgia; who doesn’t love that feeling?

4. Continous Learning

I’m big in believing that the more you know, the more you grow and preach that you should seek opportunities to learn as much as possible. Especially when it comes to the things that speak to you the most. What makes your fire burn? This year I am prioritising language learning. I feel the best way to learn and learn efficiently, is through conscious effort. As with writing, language learning will develop as mistakes develop. When you do not know all the answers, you create room to seek them out. The whole point of learning and learning effectively is to do it and keep doing it for as long as you wish to develop. Whatever you want to learn, take the leap. Even if you do not find what you are seeking, you will be learning something in the process.

5. Active Time in Nature

My favourite part of living overseas is that the hotter climate allows more time to be spent outdoors. Whether it’s walking to work or going for a walk by the ocean to see the sunset, getting those footsteps in whilst having fresh air and a bit of sunshine is key to a clear mind. And no matter the weather, this is a habit I wish to continue implementing this year. Not only has it helped me to stay fit, but it has helped me appreciate the world around me a little bit more. In the age of digital technology, we can become detached from the world around us. Grounding yourself in nature every so often is a clear reminder that the best part of living is being present in your surroundings. Best of all, this hobby does not have to cost a penny.

What hobbies are you embracing in 2022?

I would love to hear back from my readers. Let me know in the comments below which hobbies are a part of your lives.

-Katie Lou

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