How many creative outlets and hobbies do you have? I can’t figure out whether I have a billion or just half a billion. Here’s a partial list –
- harmonica (diatonic and chromatic) (I’m above-average, garage-band level, maybe somewhat worse, depends on how bad the garage band is)
- piano (I’m below-average, probably? I started late)
- guitar (I’m an adult beginner; for comparison’s sakes, Jessica’s better than me, congrats to her, she sounds good! in her recent video)
- singing (I am almost always in a choir, except for Covid)
- stand-up comedy (I write monologues, haven’t tried many open-mike nights)
- sketching (I go to figure-modeling sessions whenever I can, outside of Covid; I think I’m pretty good; dry media mostly)
- watercolor painting (I am a beginner but I own a lot of stuff)
- creative writing (I am a decent poet and intend to continue; I sometimes think I should write a short story; I’ve always wanted to write another novel)
- acting (I used to do a lot of local community theater, tried to get more and more fulfilling roles, but the town I’m in has very little theater activity)
Other things that I do, more than most people, include –
- reading “serious” fictional literature (I hate pulp and low-brow but I consume voraciously the top titles of mainstream and classics; right now I’m just finishing a collection of speeches by G. G. Marquez, and I’m intending to dig back into the American 20th C collection downstairs in the dining room for something by Walker Percy or R. Penn Warren, f.e.)
- number-theory (on YouTube mostly; but I also teach myself from used textbooks I bought online)
- chess (I used to have a ranking with ICF / FIDE in the 1800 range, but haven’t paid dues in years so it’s timed out and defunct, and I’m probably out of practice anyway)
- soccer (I am often on a men’s competitive team, but Covid … and I watch whenever it’s on TV; but that’s the only TV I ever watch)
- foreign languages (I know well enough to teach Classical Latin, Old English, modern German, I’ve learned to teach English as a Second Language but am not certified, I know modern French and modern Spanish well enough to play soccer, I once passed a test in Medieval Latin, and I picked up some modern Dutch while living in Amsterdam) (I often memorize from the classical Latin poets, f.e. two of Virgil’s Eclogues, almost fully, and about ten of Catullus’ poems, etc.)
This is ridiculous. No wonder I can’t find time to get to a gym to work out (except for Covid). I’m also, aside from all of that, a licensed lawyer in good standing in two of USA’s States, so I really ought to have a better job than I do, which is, right now, practically nothing. In fact, one of the reasons I don’t like work (of any sort, lawyering or not) is, that it takes me away from all those hobbies and necessary creative outlets.
I don’t list these things to be impressive. I am pretty bad at most of them. (I guess, to the contrary, my level of foreign-language mastery is preposterously high relative to most more sane and sensible people, so, yes, that would sound like I was trying to be “impressive”. But otherwise the stuff that I do is really at a low level. I’m not very good at most of it.) I just keep on thinking that some day I’ll get better at it. There are just SO MANY irons in the fire, absolutely none of them will ever get improved upon at all.
Another point. I started nearly all of them as an adult. I feel like, somehow, I’ve been prevented from being “accomplished” at various pursuits because I didn’t get adequate childhood training. (I’ve posted elsewhere about how frustrated I am that my musical skills will never be up to the level I want, because I didn’t have lessons or even know I was interested until I was about 20 years old.) I have done writing, and soccer, and drawing, all my life, but I gave up on each and every one of them, and on anything else in the list, at some point or other, through my life’s trajectory, sometimes for more than a decade or two, only to go back to one or the other later.
What about you? How many creative and pastime-hobby activities do you keep yourself engaged in? How well do you master any of them?
Do you have any hints about how to focus better? Or whether I should try to focus better? Maybe I shouldn’t. Or, maybe, there’s something simple which I need to do, to reorient and engineer greater success at one or another? I don’t want to give up on any of them, but I know that I need to practice one or another to “really” do it better.