Now What?: Ways of Finding New Hobbies and Interests as an Adult
In adulthood, many of us are faced with varying demands and responsibilities that compete for our time, attention and energy. And it is common to struggle with finding a way to identify our priorities and values when we are faced with pressure and stress in our daily lives.
When we take a moment to think about our day-to-day lives, often we might not realize that we are making choices based on what we believe to be important to us- being family oriented, financially independent, creative, self-made, influential, active, generous and/or reliable to name a few. For some of us, we may be working on carving out more time for ourselves amidst the chaos of professional life, family life and individual drives and needs. For others, we may have the time and energy, but are unsure of our interests and passions.
When we think of the term ‘hobby’, we might consider this to be a term that describes a potentially enjoyable or intriguing activity that one engages in during ‘leisure time’. Often, especially in my work as an art therapist, I have found that individuals, instead of prioritizing leisure time or time for self-care, they abandon these efforts to discover, create, play and enjoy themselves.
These activities and projects become superfluous or somehow burdensome to one’s daily life of constant grind, efficiency and productivity. As adults, often we can become so enmeshed in our work or our desire to become financially stable or the ‘best partner’ or ‘best parent’, that we lose sight of what we truly enjoy about life, what inspires us, what piques our curiosity and what brings a sense of awe and astonishment.
For some of us, we thrive on structure and routine, and so it may be important to consider when you think you can open time up in your schedule for this new hobby. Perhaps the time commitment might be scary, as this means you will be placing your time, energy and effort elsewhere.
But remember that you deserve joy, you deserve peace of mind, you deserve to be creative and playful- and by doing so you are no less responsible, mature, successful, intelligent, etc. In fact, once you remove the perfectionistic guilt and shame about actually wanting to do something just because it interests you and could be fun, you allow yourself a chance at growth and transformation- and that is quite an investment in your mental health and well-being.
If you’re feeling lost about what to do next in your life, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
The first step is to figure out what you’re passionate about. What do you enjoy doing? What gets you excited? A lot of people struggle with identifying their passions and interests in adulthood. But don’t worry, there are a few ways to figure it out.
1.Think about your passions.
What are the things that make you feel most alive? These are likely your passions, and exploring them can help you find new hobbies and interests. Maybe you love spending time in nature, or you’re passionate about writing, painting, or playing music. Whatever it is, embrace your passions and let them lead you to new pursuits.
Ask your friends and family for recommendations.
One of the best ways to find a new hobby is to talk to your friends and family members about their interests. Ask them about the things they enjoy doing in their free time, and see if there’s anything you might be interested in trying out. You may also consider bringing a friend along or having a friend join you in your new activity.
Explore the internet
There’s a lot of information on the internet, about hobbies and interests, and it’s really easy to find information about activities, ideas, and resources. If you’re looking for a new hobby, or are interested in something you’ve never tried before, try searching for “hobbies on the internet” or “interests on the internet”. You’ll find lots of information about lots of different topics and hobbies, and it might help you to figure out what you’re passionate about.
Ask yourself what you enjoyed doing as a child.
One of the best ways to identify new hobbies and interests is to think back to when you were younger. What did you enjoy doing for fun? Did you like playing sports, going on hikes, or drawing? It’s likely that you’ll find at least one activity that you enjoy and can continue doing as an adult.
Explore local classes or online classes.
There are options both in person in your local area as well as online to observe or participate in specialized courses and activities. Depending on the area of interest, you might be interested in developing a skill that you know that you once enjoyed or had an interest in.
Some of us might be interested in trying a completely new skill or field of study that may be very different from our typical interests. Think about how you might want to challenge yourself in learning something new or overcoming self-doubt. There are many free courses available online as well as YouTube videos offering instruction for a range of activities from cooking, to sculpting, to gardening, etc.
Bucket List Activity
Consider at least one thing that you have always wanted to try, used to want to try or you just discovered that may be something you want to do at least once in your life. Often people will mention traveling to a certain destination, engaging in something risky and thrilling, like skydiving or bungee jumping, or learning a completely new skill. Perhaps you have always wanted to develop a new habit or try a new food or restaurant.
Think about ways in which you can find excitement, adventure and spontaneity in your daily life. Maybe you’ve always wanted to set up a tent in your living room or star gaze or go for a night drive. Allow yourself to be creative and brave in expressing what may be of interest to you.
Remember that no matter what you try, it is less about how well you do something or how long you did it for, but how you were able to be present with yourself in the moment and allow yourself to enjoy the chance to try something different. Remind yourself that the goal is not to be perfect or to master a skill right away. The goal is to enjoy yourself and to reconnect to our sense of discovery and passion for life!
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