Is Your Hobby Just Another Chore?

Posted by Lisa Stevens on

Anyone who knows me, knows I enjoy reading. I would say it my favourite leisure activity, my favourite past time, a hobby. I also enjoy other activities as well. One of those is building puzzles. I have not done many over the years....for several reasons, 1) with always having a little kid/kids around, it was hard to set up a puzzle and know that it was safe from little hands...hahaha and 2) some people (I won't name names here...but you know who you are) think puzzles are for the very young and for the very old. Since, technically I am neither of these things (well, I guess that would depend on who you these people would say puzzle making looks funny on me, but I don't care, I enjoy doing them....or some of them.

Which gets me to the point of the blog (the point is not to tell you how much I enjoy puzzle making...hahaha) but that somewhere along the way, I honestly have no idea where it started or why I thought this way.....but somewhere along the way I thought I had to finish something I had started, just because I had started it. Now, I know some of you will say, of course you do, if you start it, you'd better finish it...and you would you be 100% correct, about somethings, but not everything, especially this. Now when I say this, I am not necessarily talking about puzzles, although in this instance I obviously am. But the collective "this" I am talking about is things we do in our leisure time, our past times, our hobbies...what we do to help us relax. 

For many years of my life, probably 30 or so, I would have picked up a book, and read it all the way through....even if I was not enjoying reading it. This was a book I had started to read for my own enjoyment...see where I am going with this? I would push myself to finish a book, hating (or not hating but defiently not liking) every minute of it. It would take me a lot longer to read those books and I would not read anything else in between, and I would feel guilty that I was not reading enough, I would grieve (mildly) that I was not doing what I loved...but I did not love the book, so it made sense that it took me a long time to get through it. One day, I honestly have no recollection when/what happened as to change my thinking, but one day I decided I did NOT have to finish a book just because I had started it. Life changing....maybe not for anyone else (maybe you all knew this secret...hahaha) but it was for me. I could pick out a some of it (didn't really matter how much I had read/not read) and then stop. At any point, I could put the book down, take it back to the library, give it back to the person who loaned it to me, donate it somewhere....and never regret not finishing it. I had the power to do that....and you know what, the world did not crash, the sky did not fall in on me...I went on with my life and was happy and just as fulfilled as I was before I ever picked up the book. But....this had not carried over into other areas. I wonder why? 

Back to I said, this whole concept of starting something that was meant to relax you...even though it was not....and then not finishing it had never occurred to me that it could be applied to any hobby "I" had chosen for myself. Do you see that? We are talking about hobbies/activites that I had chosen for myself....why on earth would I feel bound to them? Since I had decided to do them, to help me relax. hahaha I know, it is almost comical now thinking about it. But to be honest, as I am writing this….the dreaded puzzle is STILL on my puzzle mat....what am I waiting for? Why can I not just put it back in the box and start the puzzle I really am wanting to do. That puzzle is in my closet, in a prominent place where I see it almost daily (I think mainly so I don't forget I have it...hahaha), just whispering to me everyday, 'Once you finish the other can work on me'. Well, I have been working on the Dreaded One (sure, we will capitalize it and give it a name...poor puzzle he really did nothing wrong, I just am not enjoying it) for months, like a lot of months, probably close to a year. And I am not taking so long because I take that long to do a puzzle...I am taking so long because I do not ENJOY working on it. I have done other puzzles in a matter of days/weeks....almost a year on the same puzzle is just ridiculous. The Dreaded Puzzle must go....but not today, cause it is almost the end of the day and I am busy writing this blog. Procrastination at it's best...or giving myself another day or two to get used to the idea that it, seriously, will be ok if I just pack it up and ship it back to where it came from...

This whole concept is really only about hobbies/pastimes. Unfortunately, there are many areas/times in our lives when we have to push through, we have to finish stuff, even if we are not enjoying doing them. That is life and it is good for the soul....that feeling of accomplishment at the end of a task we were not looking forward to, whether we are, in the end, glad we did it or just glad it is done. hahaha But when it comes to relaxing, I think we have way more control over what we choose to do with our time. 

So, just like realizing that I did not have to finish every book I started, I also do not have to finish every puzzle I start. It can go further than that as well, with any other activities I choose to do in my free time. One issue may be if you put money (a lot or a little doesn't really matter) into trying something new. But if you look at Facebook marketplace or will soon realize that you are not the first (or the last) person to purchase items for a hobby and then realize the hobby is not for them. So, just let it go. Sure, try and sell it, see if you can recoup some of your costs....or don't and just donate it all so it is out of your house and out of your mind. Do whatever you need to do to help you RELAX. Because that is the whole point of hobbies/pastimes....if they do not help you relax, then they are a chore, and I, for one, have no interest in adding another chore to my already busy schedule. 


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