Making Time for the Things You Love, by Deb Meredith

_mg_4081_ppHobbies? Who has time for hobbies when there are all these books to write?

I was asked in an interview several weeks ago how I did it all—parenting, marriage, freelance work, novel writing… The question exhausted me, and I considered lying down and taking a nap. But who has time?

All kidding aside, I make time nearly every day for one of my favorite hobbies—swimming. Not only does this keep me fit, but it’s also necessary for my happiness and well-being. For a half an hour, I am alone in the water. I find the steady breathing in and out to be similar to yoga exercises. After swimming, I feel both relaxed and energized, and ready to tackle all my writing challenges. It also helps get rid of that strange knot I get between my shoulder blades after sitting at a computer for hours at a time.

I used to have more hobbies before acquiring the biggest time suck of all—a kid. BC (before child), I knit hats for everyone in my family one Christmas. I made a small collage every week about current events as an art project for a whole year. I even made a quilt once, and occasionally would sew clothes for myself. But that seems so long ago. Now I feel triumphant when I wash all the dishes.

But really my biggest hobby of all is reading. Reading relaxes me, informs me, and is necessary for me. The biggest panic attacks I have are over having nothing to read, and I always carry a book with me on the subway and to appointments. I’m always shocked when I hear how few people read nowadays. Don’t they know what they’re missing? Reading takes you places you could never go yourself. You walk in someone else’s shoes and see the world through someone else’s eyes. Maybe video games do that, too (I really wouldn’t know), but I don’t think they could possibly have the same eloquence. And a writer who doesn’t read or have time to read seems very sad to me.

We should do what we love, and I am happy to be writing something that I would enjoy reading myself.

What hobbies do you make time for?

12 Replies to “Making Time for the Things You Love, by Deb Meredith”

  1. I agree, reading is one of my main hobbies. I can’t imagine not having a big pile of books waiting to be read. Plus, as writers, we can also consider it part of our job, right? I also think of cooking as a hobby (at least most days!)–I love the creativity involved and the results are pretty immediate. Hmm, so maybe eating is also a hobby. Good thing I like exercise, too.

  2. Ah, kids… They do take up a lot of free time! And now that my son is getting older, I’m very intrigued by the hobbies that he chooses. Last week he kept me busy printing out coloring book pages from the movies that he likes, and assembled them into books. This week he’s making a Frenzy (a transformer) costume with his dad out of cardboard. Can you tell he’s the son of an artist and novelist?

  3. Oh cool, Meredith. Our boys are the same age, aren’t they? (Six?) I’m having the same fun with my kid. He actually volunteered to be in the church musical and he’s really into it. That totally came out of left field. I mean, I like to sing etc., but I never saw him care before.

  4. What a lovely sentiment, Larramie! Kids do have amazing ideas, and I am always interested to hear what my son thinks.

    Kris- I was into a children’s theater troupe at about the same age! Very cool. I don’t think I’ve got a thespian on my hands, though–although he clowns around at home, at school performances he basically freezes up! We’ll see.

  5. Ah, yes! I actually committed to exercising last year, and now I can’t imagine not making time for it. Everything else in the day goes a little more smoothly if I got to sweat out all my anxieties in the morning.

  6. Oh gosh, I was so glad to see you use “time suck” and “child” in the same sentence. I sometimes think I am the only mom in the blogosphere who doesn’t worship at her child’s navel and credit said offspring with granting me the deep personal fulfillment that would otherwise have been lost to me.

    I do yoga twice a week and started a training wheels class for old women who want to spin. I have a treadmill in the basement I can retreat to at will. But the most important thing I love is spending time with my husband. It’s tricky, but it can be done.

  7. Katie–I’m glad you’re a fellow exerciser! I find it’s a great way to get through writer’s block.

    Annie–Your comment made me laugh out loud! I’ve never been accused of worshipping my child’s navel, that’s for sure. He’s a terrific kid, but I think this whole focus-on-your-child-and-sacrifice-your-own-happiness stuff that’s running rampant these days is way out of control… I’d rather show him what happy, productive people do (write!) and what a happy marriage is like (going on dates with my husband!)and give him some space to breathe.

  8. My garden has suffered a bit since I started writing. Everything has, I guess. I don’t bake as often as I used to…I’ve cut back from two gym memberships to one, and I’ve dropped out of my book group. My new hobbies are blogging, facebook, mailings..oh, wait, that’s work.

  9. Three things I make time for every day are exercise, writing and reading. That’s on top of loving my family and friends and letting them know it! The exercise, I’ve discovered, is vital to my being able to really get into my writing. Creativity takes physical stamina, at least for me!

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