The other day I was talking to someone about some projects I’m working on and was told,
“You are lucky to have so much free time for your hobbies.”
Stop. The. Bus.
Instantly, millions of tiny defence mechanisms started swimming through my veins making me all hot and itchy.
I muttered some sort of response and tried to move on but those words stuck.
A few days later I sat down to journal about how pissed off I (still) was – you know I’m rattled when I tell my journal about you.
“How DARE they say that to me? It’s so incredibly rude because…..”
I was left staring at my blank page… because why?
Why did it bother me so much? Why did it leave me feeling like I’d just been slimed? There was nothing inherently wrong with that statement so why did it feel yucky?
After much analysis, I discovered there were actually three separate phrases within that 12 word statement that got under my skin. (oh yeah, I went deep into this)
Let’s break it down.
“(You are lucky) (to have so much free time) (for your hobbies.)”
And just for fun. Let’s work backwards.
(for you hobbies.)
Whether intended or not, I heard the word ‘hobbies’ in that voice we reserve for young children or puppies.
“Isn’t that cute? You have ‘hobbies’.”
This is how I typically spend my time:
- working out of the house 37.5 hours/week
- raising an 11 year old and 14 year old (solo)
- maintaining a house, including cooking/cleaning/maintenance etc. (solo)
- writing (as often as possible)
- taking two children to hockey practices and games (approx 4-5 times/week during the winter)
- reading (as often as possible)
- running (3-4 times/week if at all possible. except in winter… ’cause.. ew.)
- walking (daily, even in the winter)
- community projects (currently involved in two separate volunteer positions)
- freelance work as a digital manager/social strategist (anyone want to hire me?)
- part time college student (4 courses in 3 full weeks. I am using the extent of my vacation time so maybe this is a hobby.)
- growing a loving partnership with my part-time live-in boyfriend & his son
- social media (yeah… it’s true.. I like me some Insta. But for the most part… I get paid to be on social)
- outside work at the house including a vegetable garden
- Write club (~3 times/month)
- live music shows in town (not as often as I’d like but maybe 2/month)
- meet ups with friends out on the town (couple times/ month… more in summer)
Some are true hobbies. Some are responsibilities. Some are a blend. But regardless of categories, every single item on that list is there because I said yes to it.
But yet, I often feel like I need to earn the time I spend on hobbies. That only if I work hard and fulfill my responsibilities, should I be allowed to play.
This is utter bullshit.
“The opposite of play is not work – it’s depression.” Dr. Stuart Brown.
Prioritizing my hobby-time is not only important for me but also for my kids.
- I’m a much calmer (sane) mother when I spend time in play
- I’m role-modelling the importance of play, even as an adult.
Despite the lengthy to-do list; having hobbies is non-negotiable.
(to have so much free time)
Oh yes, some days I wake up and think to myself,
“Self, how are you going to fill this completely blank slate of a day today?” *blink*blink
Trust me, I am not a time bender.
I’m completely overwhelmed. Pretty much all the time.
I don’t balance. In face, striving for balance leaves me feel incredibly shaky. I’m more of a peaks and valleys kinda gal.
I prefer passion.
There are oodles of things on my to-do list that I want to do but don’t get the attention they deserve. (more writing. more outside time. more reading. more creative time. more time out with friends and family.)
AND a lot of the stuff that needs to get done often lingers on the to-do list. (I’ve been known to curl up and read while the dust bunnies throw parties in the corner.)
Look, we’re all busy. But I refuse to wear it as a status symbol. Being too busy to play doesn’t make anyone superior. It makes them depressed.
I admit. I want it all. I want as much joy and pleasure as possible in this life (while living in a clean house, enjoying nutritious home-made meals with my beautifully blended family). But since I obviously cannot do everything I want to do, I find ways to weave my ideal life into my current limitations. I fit things in when it’s the right thing to do.
In the words of Danielle LaPorte, “If it feels right I’ll drive all night in a push up bra just to get there.”
When something feels right, I’ll do what it takes to make it happen. And I’ll deal with any asymmetry that arises.
(you are so lucky)
Gosh. This is a tough one.
I actively practice gratitude each and every day. I am keenly aware of how fortunate I am and where I am in life.
But lucky…..? Lucky is wining the lottery. Lucky sounds easy. It sounds slick. It sounds undeserved.
I have had a lot of opportunities and I do understand my own privilege. But I have worked my ass off to get here and taken some big hits along the way.
Besides, you could have this too. After all, you decide how you spend your time. Whether you believe it or not, you have chosen every item on your to-do list. You decide how you prioritize.
Imagine the collective gratitude we would feel, if we all could spend more time playing, without guilt or judgement. This world would vibrate.
So where does this leave me?
I guess it kinda leaves me right where I am. In a web of obligations, desires, gratitude and a non-stop joy for life.
But maybe with a little less judgement. from myself.