Friday, December 27, 2013

Preparing for the New Year...and Getting a Life!!

Christmas is over with, and the countdown begins as 2013 slowly eases its way out the door and 2014 stands ready to enter.

I say "Good Riddance"!  2013, while not the hardest year on record for us, ranked in the lower top end.  There were many challenging situations, painful moments, and tough decisions to be made.  There was financial stress, and a lot of worry over the future which will surely continue.  When compared to other years, and the many hardships and losses we have endured, it most definitely is not the worst year ever...but 2014 is hopefully going to be a little easier.

I am NOT a New Year's Resolution kinda gal, at least not normally.  Resolutions are always broken, they are guilt inducing, and they are often all about pointing out flaws we want to fix.  Basically, I find them to be negative and refuse, generally, to make them.

However, I am going to tweak the whole notion of the Big Resolution Which Is Immediately Broken, and look forward to making 2014 different.

I am officially declaring 2014 my Year of Exploration.  Oh, don't worry, I am not going to get all existential on you, nor am I about to go take off for parts unknown to "find myself".  I know exactly who I am and where I need to be, so no need for any of that jazz.

No, what I am going to do is quite silly, actually.  I want a hobby, I want something to do with the occasional spare time I have that is relaxing and enjoyable.  I want to set aside time for things I enjoy, not just things I have to do.  I want to become more interesting, and would even settle for "quirky".  The longer we homeschool, the more boring I become.  I have little to talk about with anyone that is even slightly interesting or intriguing.  Well, that may not really be true, but what I am most interested in and passionate about is nothing anyone wants to talk reform, theological perspectives, poverty initiatives and income inequality, developmental delays.  I could talk for hours about many topics, they just are not topics anyone wants to talk about!!

I don't know a darned thing about the latest reality show stars, nor do I care to.  I find little value in pop culture, the latest hit single from Beyonce, or what talk radio blabbermouth is spouting off again this week and ticking people off.  It's all just garbled noise to me.  I realize I have grown old when I have little patience or interest in what the entire rest of the world seems to find noteworthy.

Being home full-time with the kids means I have no adult stories from a job to share, no water cooler talk to participate in.  All my friends have lives lived with adults.  It is not that I envy them, because in truth I am utterly fascinated every single day with what I do and with whom I spend the majority of my time.  While I may not envy, I do need to find something that allows me to share something besides, "We are using this great curriculum for Early American History!" one cares, nor would I if I weren't homeschooling.

I also need something that gives my brain a respite.  There is no way to explain this, but living inside my head can  It moves fast, it zips from one thing to the next, and when it hooks up like Velcro to a thought, it has to connect to it so tightly that it isn't easy to disconnect.  I want something to do for fun that is relaxing, stress-free, perhaps even a little mindless if I can tolerate that.

I also have no idea exactly what that "thing" might be.

I have been hobbyless pretty much my entire life.  I read a lot, and I know some call that a hobby, but I don't.  Regardless, I am going to pursue reading whole novels and a wide variety of them in 2014, rather than mere snippets of stories here or there.  But a hobby?  Well, I sing both at church and outside church, and I suppose that is a hobby, but still it isn't quite the same thing as saying something like, "Oh yes, I quilt...I knit...I watercolor...I practice archery...I play the piano...I bake...blah, blah, blah..."  See?  I have nothing concrete like that to say.  I produce nothing, no finished product.

Part of the problem with this Grand Scheme is that I hate everything.  Totally, seriously, I find stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby to be incredibly painful to walk through.  It is like having it thrown in your face as you walk down every aisle, "You are TALENTLESS!!!  You can't put colors together to save your life!  You have NO eye for artistic pursuits whatsoever, give it up!"  Many times I have wandered into those Bastions of Bulk Supplies, wishing with all my heart that I could fine just one little thing I enjoyed doing, rather than looking at items and thinking to myself, "I'd prefer a poke in the eye with a sharp stick versus doing this."

Something is clearly very wrong with me.

After much thought, I realized part of the problem might be I am looking at this from the wrong angle.  I am going to work backwards , then try a few things, and see what sticks.  I also decided I needed to create some criteria to measure possible hobbies against, so I don't waste my time pretending.  So here is what I came up with:

1)  It absolutely can not involve needle, thread, yarn, cloth, or anything that requires stitching.  No way.
2)  Part of my problem has always been having a huge deficit in thinking 3D.  I can't picture things in my head that are dimensional, not at all.  It frustrates me to try and do so.  So, nothing requiring the ability to think above 2D.
3)  It must not leave me to my own devices with colors.  I must have color charts to create, patterns to use, etc. because I am not creative in the slightest in this sort of way, and I need a guide.
4)  Anything attempted can be as juvenile as I want it to be.  It doesn't have to be considered an adult activity.
5)  The finished product doesn't have to be good looking or even have a purpose,I just have to really enjoy the process.
6)  It can't be collecting of anything, because it just can't.  I like to purge too much and "things" just don't mean anything to me.
7)  If it involves too much preparation to get set up, or too much hassle to put away, it'll never get done.  Easy into the hobby and easy exit is what I need to ensure I actually do it.
8)  It has to be non-computer oriented, with the exception of the creation of digital photo albums that can be printed out, which I want to try.
9)  It can't be expensive to do, supplies must be fairly cheap.
10)  It can't have me so aggravated that I am sorely tempted to throw whatever it is against the wall and break it into many tiny pieces.

Sounds impossible to find something, but I am going to make a valiant effort and document it here for accountability.  Maybe I'll try and make my own pet rocks, raise guppies in an aquarium, or learn Swahili (No to all of those things, but you get my drift.)  Whatever it is, I am determined to give it a fair shake, and not try it once and give up.

And I am betting it will be good for a few laughs at my juvenile efforts.  I am also going to set a reading goal of 25 full books this year. (That is probably too low).   To make that interesting, I am going to be very eclectic and read a wider variety of novels, as well as way more fiction than I normally read.  I need more imaginative stories, more playfulness, less intensity.

I made a small order from Amazon this evening, my first goofball effort.  The kids looked at me like I was nuts, but it met all my criteria. out! We have some explorin' to do!!


Deb said...

I would have said quilting, but you nixed it. It has taken me 6 years to get to the point where I am ready to try something other than staight lines and I am still not sure about trying something else.

All that said, to say, what about the tied blankets? Not only are they fast, but you can take them with you and work on them at appointments. But, the best thing, you can give them away to charities. As far as picking out colors, get the kids involved, my son loves to help pick out fabrics when we make these blankets for charity at our church.

I wish you joy in the exploration


Anonymous said...

I echo many of your sentiments about finding something as a hobby. I don't know how much of a hobby it really is, but I've always found great relaxation and a great sense of accomplishment from doing 500-1000 piece puzzles. It doesn't require any special skills, can be started or stopped whenever I feel like it, can be done alone or with the help of others, etc. I don't like the ones that are too hard, though, as they can become sources of great frustration and that defeats the purpose for me.

Cindy LaJoy said...

Keep the suggestions coming! I NEED them!! Hahaha!

Cindy LaJoy said...

Deb, I am really impaired when it comes to anything like sewing, needles, threads that tangle, math and geometrical thinking...otherwise I adore quilts!!

Mindo said...

I knit, it's pretty easy but can be as complicated as you want it to be.

Did you return the harp?

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh. In the past, I made a few (very easy) quilts. I "used to" knit, crochet, needlepoint, embroider, sew. I love flowers but hate gardening (plus that doesn't really work as a winter hobby). For a while, I spent all my free time on genealogy. Once I was talked into taking a painting class (what a bust!). I'm really no longer interested in doing any of that stuff and am not sure what I AM interested in doing! Good luck! Janet

Cindy LaJoy said...

Oh Janet, it actually feels quite hopeless!! I am glad to hear you hate gardening, but love do I but it is death to anything I try to grow because I simply don't care enough, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Cindy, This year I got interested in making Zentangles. These are doodles drawings. The end result does not really matter. The process of drawing them is what is important. Most of them are done with a black pen on white paper. So you would not have to worry about selecting colors. They can be as simple or as complex as you want. Google "Zentangles" and you can see examples of these drawings even watch u-tube showing how to start. Zoe and Maya have made several. If you are interested I can take some photos and show you a few.
Happy Exploration!

Jane said...

Crochet? Easy to pick up and put down and can be kept very simple. Also "grows" quickly so there is a sense of accomplishment. Do you have a craft/stitch group near you? Or how about an evening class of some kind? Cookery, cake decorating, languages, film studies, yoga? My best evening class was sewing, but that means using a needle ;-)

Jane said...

Crochet? Easy to pick up and put down and can be kept very simple. Also "grows" quickly so there is a sense of accomplishment. Do you have a craft/stitch group near you? Or how about an evening class of some kind? Cookery, cake decorating, languages, film studies, yoga? My best evening class was sewing, but that means using a needle ;-)

Anonymous said...

Just for fun, which might not continue into a hobby, google finger knitting. No supplies but your hands and some yarn. My daughter did this a few years ago and made us all some neat scarves. Also, why not just try a variety of fun things, get interested in it for a time, lose interest, then try something else? Why would it have to become a real "hobby" that was on-going? I used to buy those design books...don't know the name, but they come in a variety of styles (geometric, flowers, stainglass windows, etc). Each page is a one-sided, intricate design that you color. We used colored pencils. Again, not a hobby, but a fun diversion for a time. Challenge yourself to memorize a chapter or a book (!) of the Bible. My memory isn't what it used to be, so doing this when you're younger than I am is a great idea! Again, not a hobby, but one more thing to try as a challenge.
Nancy in the Midwest

Anonymous said...

What happened to the harp? Did I miss something?

Diana Skillen said...

Hobbies can be other than crafting, my hobby or passion is horses, maybe this is something you might like? Horses are so generous of spirit. If there was a therapeutic riding association near you maybe they could use a groomer, that is a good, safe, cost-free way of enjoying the company of these creatures and a maybe a soul refreshing hour or two per week for you.