Okay. I am about to make a sweeping generalization and I know it, but I must:
Men Never Forget to Play. They always carve out "me" time. They have "hobbies".
Where I grew up, in a very small town in a very small province in Canada, Men's hobbies typically took them away from home:
"Going fishing with the boys, see you Sunday."
"Going hunting with the boys, see you Sunday."
"Going to the hockey tourney with the boys, see you Sunday."
Men who had neither fishing or hunting licenses would still go along in order to "get back to nature." It was all very heart-warming.
Those men who did not pursue the interests described above had golf in the summer and curled in the winter.
In other words, they kept having FUN. And no, not FUN. like the pop group I just found out the name of who performed last week at the Grammys:
|Am I the only one who worried they would get electrocuted at the Grammy's? I have become my mother..|
Oh those boys. They left behind our mothers and they had a good time. My mother did not work outside the home, but even if she had, I imagine that her "hobbies" would have been the children, cooking and cleaning and carpooling kids places.
My husband has had hobbies as long as I have known him. First there was skiing. That was replaced by mountain biking. That was replaced by cross-country skiiing, then by snow-shoe-ing, video games, playing guitar with the boys, golfing, flying model airplanes, hiking and backwoods camping, and now at age 50, by getting his pilot's license.
But I have never really had a hobby until about 4 years ago when I got more seriously into gardening. Even before I had children, when I had the time, I tended to tag along on his hobbies. Along the way, due to my own intertia, the fact that when I grew up there weren't as many sports for girls (and I wasn't all that athletic anyway), I lost the ability to really play or to put myself at the centre of things.
I thought at first that this was because I was a mother. Every waking hour that I wasn't at work was involved with them. And it wasn't because I HAD to, it was because I wanted to and well, because I felt guilty when I didn't. But then I met other women along the way who don't have children who tell me that they, too, do not have "hobbies" per se, or interests that really engross them, besides everyday maintenance of the house.
I do want to be clear that I LOVE keeping my house. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it - would do it for a living (and may have to!).
Now I know I am being very sweeping in my generalizations here. Some men have no hobbies, some women have many.
But I stand by my assertion that most men are much better at playing then women.
As I get ready to become an empty nester (my children are 21 and 18 after all), I am reminded that I have not worked hard at the old hobby muscle. I need interests besides reading (much as reading delights me!) and gardening (in case Weeds-R-Us, wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tabitha-GetFreshPress-WMM Consortium, call 1-800-TGWPULL) does not pan out. And even if it does, unless we become migrant weeders, chasing the sun around the world, we are likely to have only a good 6 months of work/leisure a year.
So. What will be my hobby?
In the old days, women of good breeding learned needle work, played the piano or sang and dabbled in painting.
So I can't play the piano. And I can't sing at all, though I sing with great gusto and at the top of my lungs when I am alone in the car. I have been caught doing this by other drivers. They mock me. I soldier on.
I used to knit a lot before children and I even needlepointed my daughter's Christmas stocking. But I have not done it in ages. However, I did get out my knitting basket (actually my mother's basket from the 60s) and am thinking of starting again:
Ravelry.com so I am now looking for a new project! I agree with her and Kathy - knitting can be very meditative!
I have also taken all of 6 watercolour painting classes in my life, but I love to paint, and so am starting to play around at home myself again. I have two friends who are artists (three if you count Kathy!) and I so admire the ability to express oneself through art! My great-grandmother, August Turner, loved to paint and we have a couple of her paintings in the house. We have forgotten that it used to be a lovely pursuit to paint and draw, what with terrible cuts to Arts programs in schools across North America, but I find it very soothing to wile away the time in such a way.
No close-ups Mr. de Mille, don't have a clue what I am doing!
My great-grandmother, was really and truly a gentlewoman artiste. You can see one of her paintings tucked behind the bottle of wine (if you recall this picture from last summer - that wine is LONG gone..)
I do not think of this blog as a hobby - it is part therapy, part friendship circle - if I accidentally call any of you "herr doctor" you will excuse me.. It is also a way for me to get back into the habit of writing for myself. Years ago, 27 in fact, I used to write fiction. Then life and children intervened. This blog is really flexing my writing muscles!
So I need to learn to play again now that I am in my 50s. I am making that a #1 priority, since I believe that putting myself last (anyone else see themselves in that picture?) is part of the reason I eventually over-extended myself. We all need outlets and women and mothers need those especially, as I think we tend to be natural caretakers and many of us are in the sandwich generation, taking care of two groups of people.
So what do you think? Do you have a hobby? Does your significant other have a hobby? Do you make enough time for yourself?
In the meantime, I will be riding into the sunset...
Happy Monday - and stay safe out there!