I’m a hobby jumper. I can recall countless hobbies and classes and activities that I’ve tried over the years. Aggressive inline skating. Pottery. Pole Dancing class. Hot yoga. Community Theater. Singing at church. Zumba classes. Becoming a Zumba instructor. Kickboxing. Rock collecting. Becoming a court transcriptionist.
It’s a trait I’ve inherited from my dad who is also a hobby jumper. He has pickled various vegetables. Grew mushrooms in our basement. Bought an enormous and impressive telescope that we had on our deck for about 5 minutes before presumably my mom begged him to return it. Fishing. Hunting. Collecting all manner of coins and rocks.
I used to think it was all just a big waste of money and time. Maybe you’re thinking that too. When I started this website I imagined the groans of my friends and family as I started yet another venture that I would abandon. I don’t blame them because I berated myself constantly for all the time and energy that I’ve wasted on hobbies that never stuck. Expensive helmets unopened, courses and certifications that sat unused.
But I’ve changed my tune.
Now I’m feeling grateful for my curiosity, my seemingly unending quest for expansion. It’s taken me to places and given me gifts that bury themselves inside me whether I realized it at the time or not. There are definitive benefits to trying a new hobby. Here are just a few:
Trying new things helps you stop worrying about what other people think.
I’m pretty fearless at this point in my life. I’ve bombed auditions and tanked on stage and have thoroughly been embarrassed and discouraged throughout my creative journey. I’ve forgotten lines. I’ve created pottery so awful and hideous that I had to pretend I wanted to make an EGG instead of a VASE when the teacher was concerned about my monstrosity. I’ve said “oh shit” into the microphone at church.
I’ve accidentally set my own pants on fire in the home of somebody I truly respect and admire musically. Yup go ahead and read that again.. On fire. If you want the whole story you’re going to have to buy me a drink first.
And that, friends, is a great gift. The best gift. I can get myself up and dust myself off, I can laugh, and I can understand that I’m not everybody’s cup of (baroness grey) tea. The more you make yourself uncomfortable the easier it becomes to deal with discomfort. The more you face your fear the more you see that fear ain’t so scary. That maybe it actually looks like change.
Trying new things clears out stagnant energy.
Think about it like opening the windows in your house to air it out. Breath some new life into yourself. Get out of your old patterns. Take baby steps if you need to, but do take steps. If you have ever said, “oh I’ve always wanted to try that!” or “I’ve always wanted to go there!” then take a step to make that happen. Sticking with your old patterns and routines that aren’t working for you makes your soul stanky.
Trying new things makes you more interesting.
Have you ever been talking with someone and they mention a hobby or class or something they do that totally takes you off guard? I love that. It adds a whole new side of them that you never imagined before. You compete in archery? You’re in a synchronized swimming club? You took up playing the violin at 80? THAT IS SO COOL TELL ME MORE. A little side benefit of trying new things is that it gives you something to chat about and being around new people adds little fun freckles to your personality.
Okay so now your convinced that trying that thing you’ve always wanted to try is in your best interest but how do you make it happen? How do you get over that fear in the beginning? The truth is you don’t. You have to take it with you. Just pack it some goldfish crackers and tell it to pipe down if it gets too rowdy.
Here are a few tried and true tricks to get fear to take a nap in the backseat while you do your thing:
Pay for it.
Sure there is a lot of free stuff you can do, especially since most places will offer your first class or session for free - but sometimes you have to put your money where your fear is and open up that wallet. I’m more likely not to bail on something that I’ve invested my money into. That being said, I do not suggest buying packages or bundles when you’re not sure if you’re going to enjoy it. Remember the point is just to try something new, not torture yourself by dragging yourself to horseback riding lessons that you didn’t know you would hate because you bought a package of 10.
This is going against your instinct, right? You want to bring along your bestie to help buffer the discomfort, I get it, but I think that’s a bad idea so bear with me. If you go alone, sure you’re feeling maximum discomfort and anxiety, BUT you also don’t have any witnesses besides the strangers who are also doing the poetry slam or aerial yoga with you. You can feel free to mess up or get creative or have a blast without having to glance at your friend all the time to see how they are doing/feeling/judging you.
What’s the worst that could happen?
No really, ask yourself. Then answer yourself and follow up. A little something like this, let’s say I’m nervous to go try a sound bowl meditation at the yoga studio down the street:
What’s the worst that could happen?
I could be terrible at it. I could be wearing the wrong clothes. I could be so relaxed that I fart during the meditation.
So what? What’s the worst that could happen?
They could kick me out!
So what,? What’s the worst that could happen?
They kick me out and I demand my money back and then I go home and watch Brooklyn 99 and eat chocolate covered almonds.
See, it’s not so bad, just follow the thread…usually the worst that could happen is not only unlikely but also not a big deal. You’re mind is just freaked out by the unknown.
I hope this challenges you to expand yourself and try that thing you’ve always been wanting to try. The restaurant. The class. The workout. The language you’ve always wanted to learn. I know it’s lame when people say this, but really, everyday that you wake up is the best day of your life because it’s the one you’ve got right now - so add a little spice to it.
Leave me a comment and commit to trying something! I really did go to a sound bowl meditation workshop last weekend that was pretty crazy, and I’m signed up for an oracle card reading workshop next month - which should be a real trip.