Today I wanted to talk about this post from creative lifestyle blog Making Nice in the Midwest: Rescuing Hobbies. In this post Mandi describes the way in which making things and being creative helps her in her day to day life and discusses the fact that adults don’t often see the value in hobbies unless they are bringing money into the household. This discussion of the importance of creativity and doing what you love, simply for the sake of it making you happy has really hit home for me and made me think about my own life and what motivates me to make things as frequently as I do.
Like me, Mandi finds that when she is not creating her mind turns to other, more negative things. For me, I find my anxiety and stress levels rise the longer I sit at home just watching TV or doing anything else that may be restful but not productive. I have learnt to combat this anxiety by making something whilst I rest. When I get home from work I put some terrible trashy TV on and get to work on some needle felting, patchwork or crochet. But for a long time I too have felt guilty when I spend money on craft supplies, as if the money that I have worked hard for should be put towards something more useful or more exciting. I find myself making excuses for my spending like “if I use this fabric to make a quilt, we will use it for years and it could save us having to buy one” or “I can try out this new and exciting craft technique because I can use it to make something practical for my home” as if the only value in my creative hobbies are their outcomes and the only way I can spend money guilt-free is if it is on something functional that will be used for a long time. In actual fact it is becoming more and more obvious to me that I need to be creative and make things with my hands in order to be a well rounded, happy person. The anxiety I feel when I am not creating often comes out in negative or snappy comments directed at those around me so it is important for my relationships too that I am feeling creatively fulfilled.
I have also at times found myself making excuses for my crafting hobbies or spending money on craft supplies when talking to my friends. As terrible as it sounds I do sometimes feel as though at 24 I should not be spending my time making patchwork quilts and instead perhaps I should be playing an instrument in a band or doing something more ‘young’ with my time, as many of my friends are. This is a habit I would like to break this year, feeling ashamed of my creative hobbies is not how I want to be, especially as I am actually pretty good at some of my creative endeavours. I want to feel proud of my talents and my hobbies and not let myself get caught up wondering whether other people think that what I enjoy doing is ‘cool’ or not.
Another good point that Mandi makes is that a lot of people work all day at jobs they dislike, only to go home and watch TV and feel unfulfilled in life. The dream is of course to have a job doing what you love but most of us are not that lucky. So it is all the more important to find something that you love to do, whether it is a practical, useful hobby or just something really fun and do it as much as you can in your spare time. I am lucky in that I quite enjoy my job most of the time, but it would still all feel pretty pointless to me if I couldn’t spend my hard earned wages on materials that allow me to be creative every now and then.
So if you have a spare minute I’d really recommend giving Mandi’s post about rescuing hobbies a read, and while you’re there have a look at the rest of her blog, she does some really inspiring stuff! I wonder if this discussion about making time for doing what you love and not feeling guilty about it will strike a chord with you too? It really got me thinking this week. It’s so important to feel proud of your talents and positive about what you do with your free time and I am glad I have been reminded of that!