The joy of a new hobby.
Over the holidays, I took some time to complete my Reflection Journal with my wife Jess. We tackled the sections over the course of a few days, regrouping every so often to share our answers with each other.
My favorite part of the process was going through the first few pages, where we wrote down the highlights and lowlights from each of the past 12 months.
It's my favorite part because I have a notoriously bad memory. By reviewing my journal, calendar, and photos month-by-month, I’m able to remember what happened over the past year and think about how those experiences have impacted me.
One thing that stuck out to me while doing this exercise was the unexpected joy that came from a new hobby I picked up this year.
On May 27, I bought a skateboard. I know exactly what day it was because that was also the day Mike's daughter Mala was born. The same day that my brother entered parenthood, I reached back to my childhood — I remember my parents laughing at the symbolism :-).
I told a few friends that I wanted to pick up skateboarding again after some 20ish years off the board. Some got excited about the idea and told their friends. Before I knew it, we had brought together a small group of 30+ year olds with shiny new skateboards, relearning how to ride and practicing tricks. If the weather was nice or someone had the day off, we would message the group and whoever could join would.
Throughout the year, I’d write about my skateboarding sessions in my journal. And looking back, I can tell from the energy in those posts — and the sheer quantity of them — what a big role skateboarding played in my life.
When I shared this realization with Jess, we tried to break down exactly what it was about skating that made it so enjoyable and fulfilling.
- It was pursuing something outside of my comfort-zone (that delicious combination of fear and courage).
- I felt empowered by the encouragement and support from new friends.
- I was able to deepen some of my relationships.
- I was doing something that challenged me mentally and physically.
- I felt that I was making progress towards a new skill and could clearly see the results of my effort.
I also realized that I wasn’t just feeling joy while skating, but that the energy spilled over into other areas of my life. The days I went skating became the days I had the most energy, I felt the most creative, and I felt the most alive.
With this insight in mind, Jess and I are prioritizing “play” as we set our goals and intentions for 2019. For me, this means more skating, but also being open to other unexpected hobbies. For Jess, it’s making time for creative outlets like writing and weaving.
What are your intentions and goals for the year ahead?