It was moving day for my best friend and fellow SLC writer Danielle and her husband this past week. We had driven past the outside of the house, with gorg little trimmed hedges and slate rock flower bedding, but I was anticipating seeing the inside of the house. I love everything about home decorating, from visualizing the space, to shopping, to the final masterpiece all coming together. After moving their stuff in, we finally got a tour of the new crib, MTV style.
As we were being shown the weapons closet, the place where the prisoners are kept, the dragons lair and Cashew’s (their cat) stomping grounds, my mind raced with ideas on how to make this home the best version of itself. This house is obviously not an episode of Game of Thrones, and really the only true statement was that Cashew has a nice cozy spot of her own. BUT it is beautiful nonetheless, with a lot of character and while she was showing me around, I felt a joy that I had not experienced since planning Kiley and I’s wedding. The joy of a hobby that really excites you and takes you away from the stresses of this wild ride we call life.
I have 4-5 main hobbies, but they all serve vastly different purposes.
Lets start with a hobby I picked up when I was just a fresh little 18 year old, moving into her first apartment:
Fishkeeping/Aquarist/Guru of throwing my hard earned cash down the toilet, literally: Whatever you’d like to call it. Growing up, my dad had always wanted to make a pond in his backyard, he just never made it happen. I decided to make a little pond of my own in my apartment. What was intended to be a trip to the local fish store to grab a small tank and some goldfish, turned into a larger tank purchase, waiting for my tank to cycle, and then going to straight to owning one of the hardest freshwater fish to keep, Discus. I decided to throw a stingray in there with them because lets face it, we all know I’m boujee sometimes. This started my love affair with fish. Not too long after my freshwater tank, I added a second tank, this time saltwater. The rest was history. Its been almost 13 years of learning, flushing fish, working a second job at that local fish store that started my love affair, tears, frustration and admiration. Doesn’t sound like the least stressful of hobbies does it? This hobby of mine is one that challenges me and gives me something to create, to maintain, to take care of, to be proud of. There is no better feeling than sitting in front of a clean tank, with perfect rock scape, no algae and seeing your rare, colorful fish swimming about. Anyone with a busy life and a saltwater tank, knows this doesn’t happen too often, without a lot of man hours put in, especially with a smaller tank, but this hobby is one that will be a part of me forever.
Dek Hockey: This is my blow off some mf steam hobby. While I played many sports in high school, including softball, golf and soccer, hockey ended up being the recreational adult sport that I take too seriously. 6 years of going out, forgetting about anything you have going on at work or home, sweating your ass off, occasionally doing some sliding or body checking, getting some gnarly bruises and once in a while, tearing your Achilles tendon. Sounds great right? It really is. I also met a rad group of girls that I can consider my good friends. Team camaraderie is important- to feel like you belong and are making a contribution.
Event planning/Home decorating: Event planning has always been my jam. I have always been the friend who throws the elaborate parties for themselves or someone else. Who makes sure every detail, down to the napkins and cups and party favors, are just right. Instead of your same old college partying every night, I planned parties that included Trash Bag night (everyone makes an outfit out of trash bags to wear), Neon Night (black lights, neon paint, glow in the dark beer pong), Sharpie Night (white shirts, lots of sharpies, lets see what your shirts read in the morning), Beer Olympics, to name a few. My event planning matured as I got older, which turned into Shark Week parties, game nights and weekend girl trips. This led to the ultimate event, my wedding. This day, along with being able to purchase a house and decorate that a few years prior, really showed me my love for decorating and planning. As Marie Kondo would say, this hobby sparks the most joy. Still salty we didn’t have a bounce house or tiger at our wedding. All Kiley’s fault for dulling my shine.
Writing/Mental Health: I have always been a mental health advocate, but the writing is a hobby that literally snuck up on me and bit me in the ass this past January when we started our blog. Danielle, Kiley and I would constantly talk about starting a blog but I don’t know if we thought it would actually happen. We dove in, arm floaties on, belly flop first in the pool. Here we are now, almost 9 months later, killing the game, chillin on a pool noodle and hopefully changing at least just a few lives. I have realized that my writing style doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be me. This is my feel good, change the world, growth hobby.
Last, but DEFINITLEY not least, coffee. Yes, a verb, an adjective, a noun, a life changer, anxiety inducer, but you can’t live without it, hobby. This is why I said 4-5 hobbies, because is coffee really a hobby or is it a lifestyle? Jury is already in on this one and the verdict is GUILTY. Guilty of running our lives, and our blog. Discovering new coffee shops has always been a passion of mine, and we now get to incorporate that in the blog by doing our coffee tours. These coffee tours not only allow us to market ourselves, but also allow us to spend time together, doing something we all love, and hopefully inspiring us and others along the way.
Besides all of you readers getting to know what I do outside of working my life away on a daily basis, what is the purpose of this article? Hobbies and the willingness to learn new things, gives us instant and lasting impacts on our mental health. Each hobby you have can serve a different type of purpose in your life, depending on what your intentions or goals are when starting it. Hobbies can boost brain power and cognitive function, they can reduce chronic stress and give you something to look forward to outside of daily stressors. Even when you think that you have escaped the stress of work, there are always minor stressors lingering, especially as you get older. Hobbies are also particularly good for people in recovery, as being bored can be a dangerous thing that can lead to a slippery slope. No matter what your mental health needs may be, picking up a hobby and channeling your negative emotions, can make all the difference. It’s not always easy, not matter how much you like your hobby. There are days I can barely get myself to go play Dek Hockey, a week where it was my turn to write an article and I just couldn’t do it, and many many days where my fish tank has sat and just accumulated mounds and mounds of hair algae. If I can just get up enough gumption to take those first few steps to writing or to getting in the car to drive to Dek, I am always glad that I made the choice to do that. My mental health thanks me afterwards too.