I hate hobbies that require a big up-front investment. It’s as if once you make the investment into this hobby, that you may not even like, you are trapped. You spent the money. Now, you have to do the hobby. UGH. With some hobbies, you are lucky enough to get to try-before-you-buy, but I have found with most of them, I spend money, try it out, decide I hate it, and I have two options. One, I can press on and do something I hate because I feel guilty about spending the money, or two, I can throw it away, donate it, or sell my hobby supplies, and just get it off my brain.
I have invested in so many different hobbies, but as I have gotten older, I am less likely to spend money in fear that I may not enjoy it. This is good and bad. Good – I am not spending money on hobbies that I may try once and never do again. Bad – I am not trying new things because I don’t want to spend the money and become trapped.
Motorcycle: bad idea. When I was in my early 20’s, I bought a motorcycle. I bought cool boots and all the gear. I just knew that I was going to be this cool chick on a bike, and it was a complete fail. I hated every minute on that bike. I took the course, passed with no problem, learned how to ride, and then refused to get on it. I think I spent more time riding in parking lots than on roads. Every time I looked that that bike, I felt guilty. We didn’t have the money to be spending on motorcycles, and me not using the motorcycle just led to more guilt. UGH!!! Fortunately, a few months later, we moved, and we found a buyer. I recouped most of my investment, and I began learning an important lesson.
Quilting: another bad idea. During a deployment, a friend of mine convinced me that we should make quilts. It would be something we could do together. It would pass the time, and we would have something to show our Marines on how we spent our deployment time. I had been given a sewing machine, and I knew the basics, so I decided to give it a shot. I went to a fabric store, and I bought the most beautiful fabrics I could find. I remember thinking that my quilt was going to be something that I was so proud of and that it would be bright, vibrant, and beautiful. It was not. Actually, I never even made the quilt. I cut the strips, but I never sewed two pieces together…much-less a WHOLE quilt and backing. I moved those dumb strips with us at least five times. I started using the strips to tie off things, and finally I threw them away because they were, just another awful reminder of a hobby that I bought into and didn’t like. Once again, I spent money that we didn’t have on a hobby that I didn’t do….UGH more guilt. I finally donated that sewing machine and vowed never to sew again.
Cycling: this is a tricky one. This past weekend, I finally rode my road-bike. I bought the bike the day after my husband deployed in 2011. I trained and trained for a Half-Ironman. Now, I hadn’t ridden a bike in years, and I borrowed my friend’s bike for a couple of rides before I invested in my own, so I had some idea that I might actually get on the saddle. Back to my bike…I buy this very expensive (well, expensive for me) bike, and I trained and trained. I found friends to ride with me, and I found an indoor trainer on Craigslist. I spent hours on the bike, and I can’t say that I liked it, but I DID like training toward a goal. I completed my triathlon in 2012, and I never rode the bike again. Once again, I spent a lot of money on a hobby that I didn’t really like, but this time, I refused to sell my bike. It made a few moves with us, and I finally got back on it in 2016 to train for another race. We had moved to Oceanside, CA, and Oceanside has a Half-Ironman. I wouldn’t have to travel to this race, and I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to do another long triathlon. So after years of moving and storing this expensive hobby, I would finally use it again. I found a friend to ride with me. Once again, I trained, and I reached my goal. I had fun doing it, and then once again, I didn’t use it. Instead, I paid money to have it taken down and boxed up properly. I then shipped it to Washington DC with our household goods. It stayed in the box for a year, and then it got shipped 7,000 miles to Okinawa. It lived in its box, in a closet, for a year. Then, I finally took it to a bike shop on island to have it reassembled. It lived in my guest bedroom for another year. After two years and two months of being on the island and four and a half years after being ridden back in California, I took it out for a spin. Did I love it? Not really. Did I like it enough to get on it again? Yes. Do I think I could love it – given enough time on the saddle? Maybe.
Once again, I am faced with this hobby that I have invested in, but this time, I haven’t dumped the hobby. I am going to give it another shot.
If you are out there with a hobby staring you in the face, my only recommendation is make a commitment. Either really give the hobby a shot, or get rid of it. Having it stare you in the face, bringing on unnecessary guilt, having it take up brain-space that could be used for something else is NOT a good use of your time and brain capacity. Commit to doing it or commit to NOT doing it. Either way, the commitment will feel good.
Also, wish me luck with my old/new hobby. I hope I come back and write of beautiful adventures with me on the bike.