The art of hobby-free existence

It is fairly well established that one should never discuss politics or religion in polite company. I think, however, that a third category of the taboo should be added: hobbies.

Whether an interview or simply mingling and meeting new folks, there is always one question that makes me cringe. It has nothing to do with singing my praises or assessing a constructive critique of my weak points and failings (which are legend).

Nope, all of those questions and discussions are pretty easy compared to the big scary one that leaves me looking like a slack-jawed mouth breather: “So what are your hobbies?”

“Hobbies?” OK, breathe, think, breathe again and try to find something hobby-esque to say.

Silence, dead silence. What am I going to tell them? Um, OK, let me sound clever here for a moment and figure something out. Does programming my DVR count as a hobby?

I loathe and despise being asked what my hobbies are because I am not quite sure that I even have a hobby. Having a hobby is huge among the middle(ish) aged. Apparently it’s not enough to have family, friends, some semblance of good health, and pay your bills on time.

No, you have to fill your idle hours with activities, too. You can do something — golf, running — or you can make something — birdhouses, blankets — but, by golly, you better stay busy!

Craftless

I am not a crafty person. People who know and love me understand that they are getting a present that is either a gift card or something picked straight off a retail shelf. There will be no handcrafted gifts from this girl.

I don’t like to garden and am, in fact, infamous for having marched into a local greenhouse to announce that I needed plants that could handle full sun, or shade, interchangeably, needed no fertilization, little water, and please for the Love of Pete, no dead-heading because I simply Will Not Do It!

To which the salesclerk replied, incredulously, “Have you considered plastic?”

I do not knit or sew and before anyone suggest I try, trust me when I say that I was unduly blessed with relatives who DID knit and thus am full up on afghans well into the next generation, and possibly the one after that.

My real hobby used to be scrap booking, which I both loved and loathed in equal measure. I loved the process of choosing treasured photographs and ensuring that the stories that accompany them are forever joined in the acid-free annals of our family history.

No photos of our family will end up as unknown garage sale fodder on MY watch, thank you very much.

Thus I have a stack of scrapbooks, each weighing just under a ton, documenting the first six months of my firstborn’s life. I loathed, however, the notion that scrap booking was girls gone wild with deckle edged scissors and thus kept my scrappy obsession somewhat under wraps.

I would later branch off into digital graphic design and was thus shunned by the paper people altogether. It was sad.

As for being active and outdoorsy (laugh) I cannot say, with a straight face anyway, that I love the hiking, biking, tennis, and the great outdoors or whatever it is that the cool people are always yammering on about.

It occurs to me that even as a kid, I was not that into the outdoors as a whole. You know how most kids whine and moan when they have to come inside once the sun goes down? Yeah, that was so not me. I was content to play outside a bit, but was way more content inside, reading books, writing endless stories and concocting elaborate daydreams involving someday making a living sitting at home doing nothing more than that all day. See, dreams do come true!

Acceptance

I think I have finally reached the age where my completely lack of gumption is just going to have to be OK. It’s not like I don’t do anything or have a nurse come and turn me every two hours so that I don’t get bedsores.

I don’t eat bon-bons while I watch television (I will, however, cop to Cheez-Doodles).

I am, and have always been, more of an indoor girl who enjoys mind-stimulation than a lover of physical activity, crafts, or the great outdoors and I just have to make peace with that.

As for hobbies I will just have accept that I am apparently a blank canvas with nothing exciting to offer the world of people short of reading, lounging, and writing about myself.

Come to think of it, is narcissism a hobby?

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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