From Hobbies To Side-Hustles: Navigating The Art Of Self-Indulgence

I’ve always wanted a cool hobby.

In elementary school, I took violin lessons for two weeks. I Irish step-danced until I realized it would involve performing in front of actual people (& that I’d have to wear a hairpiece). I got the solo in my church children’s choir, took a sewing class at the local craft store, made friendship bracelets & neon-colored keychains, tried my hand at glue guns, rhinestones & Mod Podge, knitted scarves on my grandma’s living room floor during afternoons filled with Klondike bars & General Hospital. Somehow, I never found a hobby that stuck.

These days, it seems like every millennial has a hobby that they’ve turned into a “side hustle” — a passion project or creative pursuit that they cultivate outside the usual nine-to-five workweek. Side hustles usually involve anything from crafting, writing, & cooking to blogging, photography, or playing in your local coffee shop. But does having a side hustle defeat the purpose of finding a hobby in the first place? Is it possible to still feel inspired by our creative outlets with the added pressure of marketing it to others? My childhood hobbies were all things I thought I might enjoy (& most of them I did, for a short amount of time). I wasn’t worried about what my friends might think, or weighing the long-term costs & benefits of my pursuits.

I tried every hobby imaginable because… well, just because I wanted to.

As adults, it feels like even our downtime needs to be productive — checking emails during lunch, studying on the elliptical, scheduling Dr.’s appointments during the fourteen seconds between episodes on Netflix. Instead of stretching our precious ~free time~ into long to-do lists & turning hobbies into entrepreneurial ventures, I think it’s time we all learn that it’s okay to be self-indulgent. It’s okay to do things simply because we love to, without having to explain ourselves to anybody.

This week, set aside an hour (or two) to be unapologetically selfish. & if, like me, you never quite found a hobby you could stick to, here are a few ideas to get you started —

  1. Turn sheet mask selfies into art

I’m not a big makeup person — it’s hard to care what I look like when I’m waking up at 5AM to drive to an 8-12 hour day at the hospital. Instead, I’ve been investing in products that make my skin feel good (but still look good, too) ;-). Try an exfoliatorcollagen treatment, or Korean sheet mask after an especially long day. Layer up different serums, oils, & moisturizers to find out which ones balance you out best. My current favorite skincare brands are Glossier, Mario Badescu, & The Body Shop.  New year, new you layer of skin cells.

2. Stand up & stretch (on a daily basis)

By now most of us know about the many health benefits of yoga, like increased strength & flexibility, stress reduction, & improved concentration. You don’t need to dive headfirst into ayurvedic medicine to make yoga your new hobby — find local classes that offer something for all levels of practice, focusing on meditation, fat burn, or technique. If that sounds intimidating, there’s always YouTube videos or online yoga memberships that can help you find your zen from the comfort of your living room.

3. Keep a journal, or two

I’ve started (but never finished) SO many journals. I had some dedicated to creative writing or drawing, others that I filled with collaged magazine clippings & song lyrics. This is your space to take up with anything you want, so don’t worry about it turning out perfect. Sometimes, we can even learn something from looking back on what our past selves had to say…

4. Embrace your inner child

Coloring inside the lines isn’t only for kids. Adult coloring books are a thing, & they’re pretty awesome too. Paisley patterns & elaborate mandala designs are a bit tedious for my attention span but if you’re someone who needs distractions in order to get out of your head for awhile, this might be the perfect hobby for you. It’s okay to splurge on the 136 color pencil set, just this once.

5. Be a student (again)

I love learning. Some of my favorite college classes have been liberal arts requirements that had nothing to do with my actual nursing degree — anthropology, women’s gender studies, journalism. Once we’re post-grad & following our pursued career tracks, our knowledge base tends to become narrowed around the things that we have to know every day. Give your brain a break by enrolling in a local class that’s far outside your comfort zone — try cooking, painting, or coding, to start. Use your new hobby to explore an interest you’d otherwise never have time to devote to.

What hobbies have you dabbled in so far? Were there any that became a side hustle — or that you found out you actually hated? Here’s the good news — it’s never too late to change your mind & start again.

x Lyss


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