Hobbies for Happiness

by Elowen
Hobbies for Happiness

As most of my readers know, I sew. I love to make things! Especially whimsical, fun, or historical things! I also knit, crochet badly, needlefelt, sculpt, make hats, play my instrument, sing, write, occasionally draw or paint, etc. I love to create! I make things because it makes me happy! For me, that’s enough, but do you how many times I’ve been told ‘you could sell these’?

So. Many. Times. My goodness, when I’ve shown people the gowns I’ve made or any number of other finished objects, I frequently get asked if I sell pre-made items, do I have an Etsy shop, or do I sell at craft markets? I always say no, but I do take commissions occasionally.

What I’m getting at is the push I see from so many sides to ‘monetise’ our hobbies. I haven’t always been immune to this push, either. I’ve had an Etsy store (though I sold commissions for specific items, rather than pre-made items), I’ve thought about how I could turn my hobbies into my job, how I could earn my living from doing something I love to do. But that’s not always all it’s cracked up to be.

Something I see from others who have made this jump (I watch a lot of sewing and costuming people on YouTube) is that once it becomes their job, it becomes something they must do, and once they must, it’s clear that at least some of the joy of those activities is lost. For many of us, our hobbies are how we unwind, how we relax, for some it’s how we socialise, and for other’s it’s how we find solo time.

Finding Joy In Crafting

I see the same thing in children’s hobbies, too. How often have you heard people say something to the effect of ‘if they’re going to do ballet/gymnastics/tennis/swimming etc, you have to start them young’. Why? So they can be competition level? Why? So they can make a career out of it? Why can’t it just be something they do for fun, because it brings them joy, social interaction, exercise, the chance to improve their gross and fine motor skills?

When I was a child, I desperately wanted to do gymnastics and ballet, and my mother always said no because according to her I ‘had the wrong body type’ for those activities. Firstly, I’m short and stocky so actually good for gymnastics, secondly even if I don’t have the body of a professional, who cares?! It’s not like I wanted to be a professional, I wanted to take up those hobbies because they looked like fun and I thought I would enjoy them!

I’m starting to see, and loving seeing, a push-back against this idea that anything we do we have to make money off, though. I saw a TikTok the other day of a woman who loved doing ballet, even though, in her words, she wasn’t very good at it. I think she was somewhat new to it, and she was doing it because it made her happy!

I think it’s so important to make time and space for our hobbies purely because they make us happy. It’s so rejuvenating, in my experience, to spend an hour a couple of times a week in silent creation, to disappear into my Zen realm of planning, making, and completing. Though the completing phase is… well honestly there’s a lot more of the other two phases, haha! So I hope you spend time on your hobbies this week, purely for the happiness they bring you!

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