Monday, 20 June 2011

Hobby horse

Think back to when you were younger, how many different clubs and groups did you belong to? I have memories of ballet, horseriding, brownies, girl guides, youth club, swimming, keyboard club, school choir, jazz dance, college magazine, creative writing group, the list is endless…

But then what happens when you grow older? When do hobbies become something that you get embarrassed about and you’d rather hang out with your friends, go to the cinema, go shopping and not have that big commitment in your life?

It’s weird, I can remember absolutely adoring horseriding for years, every Saturday morning me and my parents would get up early and drive to the local stables. I’d spend my Saturday morning on top of whatever horse was picked for me that week (often the biggest shire-horse-type animal available what with my height) and trot, canter and jump my way around the fields and arenas. But then I became a teenager and suddenly wearing jodphurs, carrying a crop and donning riding boots and hat were not cool. No, it was much more with it to be seen in new clothes hanging round the town centre and going to the cinema.

You spend your teenage years trying to fit in and do what’s cool, but then when you start work the tables are turned. Your CV. Interests, what do you like doing? Socialising and going out drinking is not a particularly positive activity to list…But what do you like doing you ask yourself, what hobbies do you have? Help! You realise you are actually struggling to figure out something you do enjoy. What do I do to fill all my spare time you wonder?

And now yet again in my life I am starting to ponder what activities can I take part in? Am I becoming an old bore because I don’t have enough ‘proper’ hobbies. It’s like we go full circle – from attending every club going, to being embarrassed by being too interested in something and then right back round again to feeling ashamed you don’t have enough of interest in your life.

So as I list things I am interested in do they sound good enough? Gym, swimming, reading, writing, travelling, eating out, the theatre, films, music gigs. But is there really anything different there – should I be training in martial arts, climbing mountains at weekends or learning to sing opera? Who decides what hobbies are good enough and are worthy to mention.

What new hobbies should I be looking into? And does the cycle continue again as we get older? When we have kids do we get ashamed at being too old to have the hobbies we hold? Do we have to cast aside our interests to make sure we’re always free to ferry the kids to their after school clubs and weekend games?

Do we get to a certain age when old hobbies aren’t allowed anymore and we’ll just make ourselves look a fool by trying to take them up again? I’ve recently started considering taking up horseriding again – not only did I enjoy it (well I did get a bit scared of the jumps), but I’ve realised as I’ve got older how good it is for your fitness levels and body shape! But at 28, nearly 29, are people going to laugh at me getting all dressed up in the full riding gear and trying to jump back on that horse?

What do other people do? Doing a quick search online reveals a lot of people are into gardening, yoga, family history, swimming, cycling and photography. There are even sites out there telling you the best hobbies to have to make people fancy you! On looking on other sites wine tasting can be a hobby out there to be enjoyed – sounds promising…Ooh or cake decorating (does that include eating them?...)
It seems the options really are endless, you just need to decide what interests you the most and I guess what you can do that’s within your budget. After all, this study from as far back as 2002 showed that some parents were spending nearly £1,000 a year for a son and daughter to enjoy their hobbies, and that was 9 years ago. Goodness knows what the costs would be now…

I’m going to go and ponder what new hobby I want to take up and in turn what one I think will be deemed acceptable. The only problem now is, when am I going to get time to do it??

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