“You need a hobby.”

How many times have you said this to someone? Or worse (I’ve done it): “S/he needs a hobby.” If someone seems hyper-focused on work or bored I automatically prescribe a hobby. It seems like the instant solution to boredom or a lack of balance.

Hobbies are supposed to be escapes from responsibilities, a change of pace, and something to look forward to. I have had several over the years, but seem to have a problem with hobbies staying casual. When I decided to learn the drums in 5th grade it was a hobby. By 7th grade it was an identity. When I decided to make felt flower wedding bouquets for my wedding it was for fun. A year later it was a business. I don’t do casual hobbies very well. I am not going to calculate the hours that went into making all of the items on this table…


This idea of extreme hobbies is terrible when working toward a PhD. I do not have time to casually start a hobby that quickly becomes a part of my identity. I am too busy reading journal articles, writing papers, and making schedules for the week. I also wasn’t really interested in adding something else to a pretty full plate. There was nothing that spoke to me and a hobby cannot be forced. Obviously.

While not focusing on this hobby quest, an idea came to me. This began because Groupon had a sale and I bought a cookie decorating class. I really enjoy baking cookies and thought that learning proper royal icing techniques from a human would be fun. I tried learning from my computer, which wasn’t ideal. Here’s my first attempt for my friend Elizabeth’s birthday (the royal icing was too thick, but the texture worked with the cacti. And I added sugar crystal sprinkles):


I soon realized my hobby could be a broad category: creating. I can learn new skills, make gifts for friends, make food for loved ones, and get my brain out of school mode. This can be done by taking a succession of classes (I’ve signed up for the cookie decorating Groupon, a sauce making class at Central Market, and an online bar tending school that is obviously fake because it was $5 on Groupon). I also started going to CRAFT, which is a super rad space that has craft supplies and space for you to work. This means showing up and crafting can happen at any time. Pretty rad (see below).

I am going to leave space for creativity in my planner this week. I am not labeling it as a specific thing. Maybe I will knit or go to CRAFT or bake brownies. Whatevs. My choice.This is supposed to be chill. I am constantly working on chill. I’ll keep y’all posted on if I am keeping this casual in a week or two.


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