"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
― Julia Child
They say that pain changes you. It's true, of course, but in many unexpected ways.
What I fought so hard against and still mope about from time to time is how living with a chronic illness has affected my hobbies.
I was never adventurously athletic, but I ran with my brother when he was training for the Marines—pretending I was training as well—and I loved to go to the gym with my father, pushing out as many leg presses as I could. I was surprisingly strong for my build, which was a slender frame with my father's broad shoulders. I was, for the most part, healthy.
Video games were an awesome spectacle my mother could barely drag me away from at times. What teenager doesn't get into video games?
I loved games like World of Warcraft as well as the less hardcore ones (think Animal Crossing).
Cooking was a definite favorite. Experimenting with food was a great pleasure, especially whenever I could learn from my grandmother or mother. I loved making treats for the family. Although I was no Julia Child, I still loved knowing that it was ME who made that meal. And that I made it with love, of course.
Reading and writing were my strong points. I could go through a book in a day; I don't mean a novella, I mean a book! I wrote poetry or short stories every day and still managed to keep up with a journal. I did extremely well in all my classes, especially my French classes as well as, you guessed it—English classes. Even though I rarely studied, I made consistent A's; I even managed to graduate with Honors—and that was without taking any classes my last semester due to being bedridden from early symptoms of the Lyme disease creeping out of its benign state.
These were just some of my hobbies as a healthy, happy, young adult.
As I mentioned, I was bedridden for a while, and am still at times partially so. This makes exercise and just going outside to enjoy nature a little tough. The number of times I hear, “If you just got out a little, you would feel so much better. Or exercised! Have you tried running?”
Have I tried running? Seriously...as if that's even an option. The best I can do right now is light yoga and maybe a hop on the stationary bike (which I'm extremely proud of myself for!).
I rarely play video games anymore because a lot of them involve graphics that cause me to have seizures, I just don't find the same pleasure in them anymore as I once did (like many things—cue depression), and I would rather spend the money I do have on more beneficial items...like medicine. Or even makeup. At least makeup can make me feel healthy.
The last topic I mentioned is the most difficult for me to talk about. It was my passion, and it still remains that, but it's hard for my brain to complete as a task anymore. It's less enjoyable.
I have difficulty with reading the words—I forget definitions, I can't comprehend sentences' meanings, I reread the same paragraphs over and over and over... It probably doesn't help that I struggle with concentration issues as well.
I've made myself dedicate at least an hour each day to reading, but that hour doesn't always get me very far in a book. Of course, a lot of the time I will go over an hour, but sometimes I get so frustrated I just want to throw the book (or more often, my Kindle) across the room.
It's sad when you meet a new person and one of their first questions is: “What do you like to do for fun?”
What can I say?
“Well, I used to like to do a lot of things, but I can't really do them anymore.”
I hope you have something you are passionate about. Maybe you have more than just one thing you are passionate about. Maybe you have 120 hobbies you are passionate about (you go, Glen Coco).
Keep at them and build them up. Build yourself up.
If you're reading this and you think, well, maybe you're boring because you don't have that one thing you just love--explore! That is what I am trying to do now. I believe that hobbies stuff us full of good thoughts and feelings, connect us to others, and produce beautiful works in the process.
What is your favorite hobby? If you're thinking of reaching out to begin a new hobby—tell me which one.