My title falls a little short of the truth; it is necessary to have hobbies, and I haven’t found too many good ones since my body made me stop doing what I used to love. As a child, I danced, played tennis, and did gymnastics. Once I hit Middle School I dropped those and joined the volleyball, basketball, and track teams. By High School, I traded volleyball for cheerleading and cross country, kept track, and stuck with basketball even though I am 5’1″ and was complete crap at it.
Running stuck around until my hips gave out, and even though I haven’t run (or exercised in any capacity) in years I still miss it. As a student, I would go for a run to sort out my ideas when I got stuck in the middle of writing a paper. I ran on family vacations, enjoying the perspective it gave me of an unfamiliar city or country. I loved doing all those things that make non-runners roll their eyes: pushing myself farther than I thought I could go, logging the miles when it was raining, freezing, or blazing hot and no one else was crazy enough to join me, and tracking my performance religiously even though I was competing against no one but myself. (In case you’re wondering, yes, running – combined with a congenital issue – is what caused injuries to my hips and, consequently, my chronic pain. Apparently, any high level of physical activity would have done it, but neither I nor my parents knew about this until it was too late.)
After my first two hip surgeries, when things were looking pretty good, I cautiously went back to running, but it was never the same. I wasn’t able to run as frequently or as long as before, and I was quite timid (which was maybe okay since I had been fairly reckless prior to getting injured). It wasn’t long, though, before even that little bit of running became impossible along with every other form of physical activity. Take away running and hack at my social life piece by piece until there’s just a sliver left, and what you have is a twenty-something girl with nothing to do.
I signed up to volunteer but never really got into it. I joined a board for a non-profit but still haven’t really found my footing. I received a handful of cello lessons for Christmas from my little sister, but as I’m not even permitted to use the bow yet I would hardly call it a hobby…maybe a potential hobby. I’d fill my time with reading, going to movies, watching way too many television shows, and the semi-regular social engagement with friends, but no longer had a passion for anything.
But then I started writing, and my private ramblings eventually morphed into this blog. Two weeks ago today I made the decision to share what I wrote with others, and somehow in that short timeframe, it has turned into a new hobby. I think that I would keep going even if my audience doesn’t extend beyond my parents and siblings because I finally have an outlet for all this. These thoughts have floated around, brewing for years in some cases, only escaping in a rare moment of honesty or when I’ve had too much to drink. It’s not that I’m sharing any big secrets or dropping bombs, I’ve just been holding back because I thought no one wanted to hear it. But now I’m letting go, and for whatever reason, people want to listen…at least for now.