Confessions of a Serial Hobbyist: How to Pick a Hobby

According to the dictionary, a hobby is defined as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.”

My hobbies don’t look that relaxing at first glance. At the bottom of my resume, there’s a section that I added that lists all of my hobbies so I don’t look like another boring lawyer (i.e. 24 half-marathons, climbing and playing flag football). That section has always been a fun talking point during interviews.

I didn’t pick up my hobbies to help me get ahead professionally. I’m the type of person who just likes to learn a lot of different things.  Especially when I get stressed out about something else (i.e. I worked out A LOT during bar prep, I learned how climb when I started my first post-law school job, I ran my first half-marathon while working full-time and studying for the LSAT). I need to focus my frustration on other things to be productive in other areas.

However, the other day a colleague when showing them my newest crocheting project, they said “so what hobby are you picking up next? Do you like just picking up a hobby, mastering it then pick up a new one?”

Yes and no. 

I’ve picked up in the past year: climbing, flag football, hiking, camping crocheting and knitting. It’s a lot considering I work full-time. Plus I do still run and I still blog here (although not as much these days). There were also a lot of hobbies I’ve done in the past and got really into again this year like biking and kayaking. There are other that I’ve tried and would like to pick up in the future like ceramics.

Despite all this, I do know people who don’t have hobbies or want new ones so I’m here to help because I do feel like I’ve tried a lot of things.

How to pick a hobby

  1. Step 1 – what do you actually like doing? is it being physically active? socializing? learning new things? all of the above? For me, sports have always been a place to be social and make friends. Learning how to knit taught me that I liked making things and being fully engrossed in doing so.
    1. Also – what do you HATE doing? This narrows it down so much too! If you hate socializing, team sports may not be for you.
    1. Finally – what do you want to get good at? Or need? If you need friends, team sports or even rec leagues for skeeball, bocce or shuffleboard are all options.
  2. Step 2 – how can you get involved and/or into that hobby? Research, research, research. There’s Coursehorse, Meetup groups, Groupon, various sports leagues in NYC like ZogSports or NYC Social Sports to get you started.
  3. Step 3 – what’s your price point? So this narrows a lot down. It’s hard to commit $100 to a full season of playing a sport you’ve never played. It’s hard to commit to a $50 intro climbing class if you’ve never climbed before and don’t have your own gear. It’s a lot easier to commit to something cheap like knitting (i.e. cheap yarn is $3 – $10, plus needles ($2 – 10) or blogging (i.e. most sites have a premium paid version but you can blog for free).
    1. Whatever your price point is – always remember there are hidden costs (i.e. didn’t realize I needed cleats or gloves for flag football…sure, I didn’t NEED them but I did feel safer running on turf with cleats on).
  4. Step 4 – What’s your time commitment level? Can you commit to games once a week? Spending weekends away hiking? Do you want to pick something up once in a while like once every few weeks?
  5. Step 5 – HAVE FUN! Hobbies are supposed to be fun and aren’t supposed to be a drag. I’ve had to remind myself of this when drama starts to surface in my hobbies. I don’t have to be anywhere I don’t want to be.

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