Wednesday, December 28, 2011

One Hobby is Never Enough

My husband probably thinks I have too many hobbies, since all their accompanying accoutrements take up a lot of space in our house. My shelves are filled with books because I like to read. Stacks of fabric, a sewing machine, and notions take up one corner of “my” room, standing by for when I feel like sewing. I also have yarn and crochet hooks for when the mood strikes, and an easel, paints, and canvases for creating masterpieces. This does not include the piano and guitars in our living room, my files of travel articles, or stacks of cookbooks and cabinets of bake ware for their accompanying hobbies. Hobbies require a lot of stuff.

I thought about hobbies this weekend at the dog park when I watched a man fly a model plane over the nearby soccer field. I have seen him before, and he stands on an embankment with the controller in his hands, moving his plane in graceful loops and circles and dives while most people don’t even notice.

Everyone needs a hobby. And no, watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the web are not hobbies. Real hobbies make you think, but not too hard. Their aim is to get you away from your daily stresses, away from work or normal life. They automatically connect you to other people with similar interests - people with whom you might not associate in other ways.

A man next to me in the dog park mentioned that in northern Las Vegas, there is an aviary park where all the plane-flying-people can fly together. He said people show up there towing twelve-foot planes. They’re serious.

My hobbies are fairly normal, I think. But I admire people with unusual ones. My cousin has a beehive and raises geese. My uncle plays on an amateur hockey team and has a collection of rare guitars. My brother-in-law races model cars. A friend collects model trains and goes to train conventions. It would be so cool to say that I am a spelunker or a rower or that I pilot a hot air balloon or have a collection of petrified dinosaur poop.

One thing I know is that I don’t want to turn a hobby into a profession. That would add an underlying money-related stress to something I love. Why do that?

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Weird Brain

It takes a very long time to alter an image you’ve had in your head for over thirty years. We all have images of what our lives will be like in the future – a future picture of ourselves that we take for granted.

The first time I had to change my mental image of my future was when my Mom died nearly twelve years ago. It was literally a life-changing event, and suddenly I had to change the vision I had of my future. Mom wouldn’t retire and come to visit every Christmas. She wouldn’t have my kids over for cookie-making and finger painting. It took a very long time to come to terms with, and to change, that cozy image I had of her as part of my future life.

Recently I have again had to change that picture I have in my head, but this time it’s in a positive way.

For years I have thought about my future kids. My husband and I were well in our thirties when we started the family-making plan, so we had hundreds of conversations about our future kids. I pictured taking “my kids” to museums, teaching them to bake and cook, singing with them at our piano. The kids in my head were never the same. Sometimes I envisioned two boys, sometimes it was a girl, sometimes it was just a nebulous idea of children.

Now, I have a son. It’s still a weird thing to say, since we only got him less than four months ago. And even though we have him and he is here and laughing and cooing and eating and pooping, I have yet to alter that original picture. Just this afternoon I daydreamed as I drove in my car, about taking my kids to the UNLV campus where I was headed, and my imagination envisioned a blonde curly-headed girl balking at the idea of strolling the shady campus. Then I laughed out loud. We have a son! A real son, with big blue eyes and chubby legs and an easy laugh. I quickly made the switch, and imagined taking our actual son to the campus someday for a performance or ballgame, or just to ride his tricycle on the safe, wide sidewalks.

The brain is a weird thing. Or maybe it’s just me.