Dealing with Safer at Home: Picking Up Old Hobbies
Written by Sarah Elizabeth Clark Photos by Eric Clark and Sarah Elizabeth Clark
As we are all more or less confined within our homes due to the Safer at Home order, many of us are looking to try new things to change up the pace. Some are finding new exercises or recipes to try out, while others are using video calls to communicate with their work or professors for the first time. We are social creatures by nature, and are now facing new challenges to adapt to these situations. Cabin Fever is quickly catching on and people are desperately rummaging through YouTube tutorials and long-forgotten Pinterest posts to find something to pass the day.
However, I decided to take a different approach last week. As I chatted with classmates in our virtual classroom, telling them about my experience with online homeschool, I realized the sudden similarities my life now has to my childhood and teenage years. Once again, I was stuck at home – all the time – without much access to spend time with others in-person. I began to think about all the things I used to do to fill my time in between classes when I was younger. I had a really fun time doing online homeschool and being able to have a lot of free time for extracurricular activities. Since I am now in such a similar situation, I decided to take on a challenge – how many hobbies can I begin to pick up again?
“All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (English translation)
It’s 2002 and a little girl is crying. I am crying. Because once again, I am begging my mom to let me wear a dress and curl my hair. As a child, I was the typical girly-girl who loved frills and dolls and absolutely hated the outside. I decided to pay homage to my five-year-old self and I think she would be quite proud wearing her favorite color, yellow, and favorite print, gingham. While I couldn’t wear heels so young, I decided to try that out as well as all I wanted to do at that age was wear heels all the time and I haven’t worn them regularly in a long time.
This definitely isn’t a habit I want to adopt continuing forward. Hanging around the house in a dress was just plain bothersome and not as comfortable as it was when I was little. Spending time to curl my hair wasn’t quite worth the effort and I just about dropped the searing hot curling rod halfway through. Most of all, wearing heels the whole day was a trial that I really do not want to go through again, even sitting around at home. I must say, it was fun to dress a little nicer, even if I am not going anywhere, and it did boost my spirits some! I’ll consider something similar moving forward, like a blouse instead of a sweatshirt some days.
“If you are losing your leisure, look out! -- It may be you are losing your soul.” - Logan Pearsall Smith in a letter to Virginia Woolf
Next on my list was playing piano. In junior high, I began taking piano seriously and took weekly lessons, practicing almost every day for a few years. I adored it, and it was often my breaks between the various homework assignments I would complete throughout the day. My favorite song above all was “Für Elise” and I cannot count how many times I have played that song throughout my teenage years. I had it memorized for quite a while, but as I started working retail and going to college, I spent less time at the piano.
This was extremely rewarding and really fun, but absolutely the trickiest out of all these old hobbies. It’s been roughly about five years since I regularly played the piano and my hands were so sore afterward! I never knew how much those tedious finger exercises paid off until now. Picking up an instrument after so long is crazy hard. However, I highly recommend it, especially during this time. My mind felt refreshed and I felt a lot happier using that part of my brain once more. I think what I need to do in the future is just work on some easier songs first.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” - Charles M. Schulz
Finally, I decided to bake something that I used to make all the time. I used to adore baking and even took cake-decorating lessons when I was 16 years old. I don’t really know why I stopped, but eventually I did. Stuff like that happens. Originally, I wanted to challenge myself to create some fondant flowers for a cake, but of course, all the stores are closed currently. I shall have to put that off for another day, so I decided to bake my formerly-famous brownies that were an almost weekly staple throughout my time in high school.
Baking is by far the easiest hobby to pick back up, and my brownies were heavenly to bake once more. It was a really relaxing experience to mix all the ingredients, feel the warmth of the oven, and of course, the decadent smell slowly rising as the brownies baked. I had forgotten how great it was to make something so sweet and comforting. Also, they are seriously addicting with my little trick: adding in chocolate chips and a little extra cocoa to give it a double chocolate kick. This is absolutely something I need to do more often moving forward.
Looking to the future, I definitely want to try more things that I routinely did when I was younger. I have forgotten a lot of hobbies that I used to love, and it was really fun to try some things again. Some more hobbies I want to attempt to pick up again are ballet and/or tap dancing, painting my nails with intricate designs, and painting a landscape with acrylics. Now I challenge you, what old hobbies from your childhood are you going to try again?
“Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” - Julia Child