Giving up Hobbies: The Day The Music Died

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Hobbies are good; they make you more interesting and interested in other people. In fact, one of the most popular posts on this blog is one I wrote last summer exploring the link between hobbies and happiness. It seems we all like the idea of hobbies, even if making time to pursue anything outside of work and family remains challenging.

But giving up certain hobbies is an aspect of happiness I hadn’t considered until last week when I read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project. Rubin discusses how one of the tricks for making time for hobbies/activities/passions and having more fun in general is eliminating the activities that we wish we liked. She doesn’t mean stop paying the bills or other mundane tasks that are part of adulthood. She simply suggests we stop fantasizing about being the kind of person who, for example, likes hiking, camping, and fishing if what you really want to do in your spare time is paint.

I love this advice so much that I’m inspired to abandon a fantasy hobby now: MUSIC.

I will never be a music hobbyist. I’m talking about the kind of person who finds new bands, frequently goes to concerts, constantly buys new music, and just knows what’s happening in the music scene. I respect those people. I’m just never going to be one of them. Of course that reality has not stopped me from imagining myself as the kind of person who might hang out in some “cool” spot in Minneapolis listening to an up and coming band, or at least the kind of person who possesses “cool” music in my “collection.”

REALITY CHECK

Thinking back, I’ve always tried to alter my natural tastes in music. In junior high (1988-1990), I tried to like Def Leppard and Aerosmith, but really I preferred Air Supply and Chicago. I remember how my high school boyfriend used to tease me about my obsession with the Indigo Girls and everything Broadway related. He, like many in my high school in the early 90s then in college, loved The Grateful Dead and Phish, or retro stuff like The Allman Brothers. I tried to get into it, but those endless riffs were just not my thing. Turns out I’m too square for both heavy metal and stoner music.

Remembering the same boyfriend, our song (stop laughing) was Sting’s “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You.” As a matter of fact, Sting featured heavily with one of my college boyfriends, too. Sting, I guess, is one of those artists who can bridge the musical divide. Who doesn’t like Sting? At the very least he’s not musically polarizing like Manilow (love) or Metallica (no thanks).

My husband likes music and would love to attend more concerts. I’m game, as long as I don’t have to stand. I still have nightmares from the Prince concert a few years ago when we had to stand the entire time. How is that relaxing? The James Taylor/Carole King concert I attended with my mother-in-law for her birthday last year was much more my speed. Which brings me to my next point:

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I still held out hope for developing a taste for “cool” music as an adult before reading Rubin’s aforementioned advice to let the fantasy die. You will appreciate why this was both comical and delusional below:

Let’s take a peek at some highlights from my iPod.

Here’s what gets the most play:

→Every album Sarah McLachlan ever recorded. Think: my college dorm room, candles, and tears.

→Quite a bit Celine Dion, who I have seen in concert THREE times. You won’t be surprised that I sat in my seat the entire time and loved it.

→Several versions of Michael W. Smith’s song “Friends,” which I first heard as a child at overnight camp. Same goes for every version of “The Circle Game.” Think 150 girls in the North Woods holding hands circa 1987. (Also me as an adult, alone in my car.)

→Practically every song produced by David Foster. Think: St. Elmo’s Fire and lots of Peter Cetera. I dare anyone with a father, daughter, or a heart to listen to Peter Cetera’s “Daddy’s Girl” and not cry. Staying with the David Foster theme, the song “And When She Danced” from the movie Stealing Home made it to every mix tape/cd/digital playlist I created from 1990 to 2006. Every single one. No exaggeration. In fact, I think I’ll listen to it now. I also love Foster’s more recent discovery, Josh Groban (recent like 1999). Here’s a priceless moment in music history as far as I’m concerned: Celine and Josh Groban singing “The Prayer.” You’re welcome.

→Every song Lea Michele recorded for Glee. Same goes for Katherine McPhee’s songs for Smash.

→Wicked, Aida, Rent, and the musical version of The Secret Garden, which won a tony in 1991.

Once upon a time those playlists would have embarrassed me, but I’m okay with the fact that I’ll never be a musical hipster. It gives me more time to continue pursing all things bookish, which is kind of like being a musical hobbyist with words instead of sounds. I’m always up on what’s getting published. I buy tons of books and go to author readings as often as I can, and I try to read as much as possible. I worry about independent bookstores and generally get jazzed up about all things literary.

So instead of feeling bad about my disinterest in finding new music or seeing (most) concerts, I will continue going with like-minded literary friends to see the authors who breeze through town on their book tours. And Bryan will continue asking friends to join him the next time anyone other than Streisand comes to town. As Rubin points out in her book, there’s a place in life for trying new things, but at a certain point, it’s good to know yourself and allow yourself to spend time on the activities YOU actually like.

Have you harbored a “fantasy hobby?” Has it kept you from having time to do what you REALLY love to do? And what’s playing on your iPod? I’m always curious what other people are listening to, even if at this point I can finally acknowledge I’m not likely to listen to it, ever.

Also, while you’re here, would love you to “like” my new Facebook page. Thank you!

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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and Tcjewfolk.com, and a contributing writer at Kveller.com and Greatnewbooks.org. Her essays have appeared regularly at Brain, Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward and have been syndicated in The Times of Israel as well as Jewish newspapers across the country. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, and she loved participating in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother. Nina lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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83 Responses to Giving up Hobbies: The Day The Music Died
  1. skippingstones
    July 9, 2012 | 11:49 pm

    I have a little but of the music fantasy in me, too. Whenever I read a post by a music junkie, I have that small wish that I, too, was just those things you described. And then I think, “Yeah, but I have no interest in doing the work required to expand my musical horizons. I’d simply rather spend my time in other ways. So how’s that going to work?”

    But there are lots of those things that come up from time to time, little tastes of adventure and change that I wish I could know, but not enough to make it happen. Like dying my hair pink, or learning to knit, or owning a motorcycle. It would be fun, or interesting, or exciting, but in the end, like you said, those things just aren’t really me.

    • skippingstones
      July 9, 2012 | 11:54 pm

      Actually, I have a big butt. But I didn’t originally intend to bring that up. I intended to just talk about my “little bit” of the music fantasy. But, yes, sometimes I wish I was the kind of person who has a little butt. Alas, it was not to be.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 6:34 am

      YES— “there are lots of those things that come up from time to time, little tastes of adventure and change that I wish I could know, but not enough to make it happen” Exactly, AND, we can’t be into everything. It’s impossible.

  2. Carrie @ Tempo Life Coaching
    July 10, 2012 | 12:07 am

    Love this blog and had to laugh at memories of my own musical tastes growing up. My friend and I used to listen to Barry Manilow, sit in her swinging chairs, and make macrame necklaces. LOVED those summer days! Now, I want to be the reader you are because I LOVE books, but then I also want to do so many other things. Now I’m going to stress over which hobby to give up.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 6:37 am

      I think it’s true that we make time for the things we REALLY love. Rubin talks about how people often don’t know what they “like to do” anymore. She says to pay attention to what you already DO. I read all the time. I like staying current with books. If I didnt truly love it, I could never keep up with my towering list of books nor would I have a towering list. There must be a few other things you do instead of reading! (Things you like even MORE.)

  3. ramblingsfromtheleft
    July 10, 2012 | 12:27 am

    Whoosh, Nina … skippingstones and pink hair? Let’s take this from the top. Music can actually never be a “hobby” … hobbies are knitting and crafting stuff. Hobbies might even go so far as collecting stuff … like those teeny tiny stamp things. Maybe. But collections become more than hobbies. I now feel like Carlan and need to define “hobby” “stuff” or how about his take on sports. Golf isn’t a sport, guys in funny plaid pants chasing a small ball behind trees … how is that a sport?

    You aren’t actually giving up a hobby, you are giving up trying to follow trends. Trends are like major headaches because the minute you think you’ve actually “got it” … it slips away and becomes something else. Like would I want to write about vampires or dystopian or whatever the heck all the creatures of the night are about? No. Does it bother me that I don’t write the high minded literature I love to read? Nope, it doesn’t. I write for fun or for joy or to put puzzles or people together. Don’t think vampires would cut it for me :)

    Therefore, music is not and can never be a hobby. Unless of course, you diddle with instruments you never actually decide to master … maybe that can make music a hobby.

    Music is a passion, a great love and the part of our soul that grabs us by the throat and shakes us to our bottoms. If I love the sounds I could care less how many other folks also love the sounds. When I listen to opera or blues or jazz I can get crazy inside. How the heck can that be a hobby? I grew up with so much variety in music I can’t think of too many “types” I don’t like. Okay … I might put rap or heavy metal in the same category with vampires and dystopian … but heck they’re my ears and I’ll protect them at any cost.

    Gotta forgive this long rant. You do this to me all the time. You bring up a subject that I am passionate about and challenge me … then I talk too much and well … I need a music “fix.” Maybe a little Fleetwood Mac? How about Heart? They actually have a song called Crazy on You that will make you all crazy inside. Or La Boheme? Don’t violins and cellos drive you mad? Or the one I posted Friday on Facebook: “In the arms of an Angel. May you find some comfort here.”

    Speaking of … maybe Facebook is a hobby. I certainly treat it like one. Post music and “stuff” I love. Never talk sports or take pictures of my lunch or my kids but I have a great time playing with youtube.com Yeah, that’s the place. Go find Sarah on youtube she’ll really break you heart but she’ll never be a hobby );

    Gees, maybe I’ll go die my hair pink :)

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 6:41 am

      I see what you’re saying re: trends, passions, etc. But I disagree that the activity of going to hear music, or actively discovering new music, making playlists, and listening to tons of new music to find new stuff is “not a hobby.” I guess I mean hobby as anything you do in your spare time. So that I can take the more classic route like collecting baseball cards or knitting, but, people usually have more nuanced ways of spending their free time as they get older.

      Rubin discusses letting go of these fantasy “activities” “passions” “hobbies”–whatever–you want to call them–so you can make room in your mind and your schedule for the activities you truly enjoy. While there’s always a place in life for trying new things, she also talks a lot about knowing yourself and BEING yourself.

      Great discussion though! And I hear you re: Facebook. You know I do!

  4. thesingernurse
    July 10, 2012 | 3:39 am

    I recently discovered how divine Sarah Machlachlan’s music is! Now, I can’t get enough of her! (Talking about late appreciation. Lol.)

    I have to say, I’ve been to almost all genres of music all my life. When I was in elementary and high school, I would listen to boy bands like Boyzone, Backstreet Boys, Westlife, and A1. I would even buy posters of them and daydream about me getting one of them as my husband (When I reminisce these things now, I sort of feel ashamed. Hahaha!). I also listened to R & B, ballad, and hiphop. But even before, my musical training and background would have to be broadway and classical. I think that’s normal for someone, like me, who grew up joining choirs and doing choral music and theater. Then when I went to college, I’ve been exposed to rock music. I personally love heavy metal, post-pop, alternative, progressive rock (Dream Theater), pop-rock, and many more. I even established a few number of bands trying out, experimenting, and combining different rock music genres.

    I think I had already outgrown my fondness of music. Or maybe, I became so musically mature that I now make my own songs. I just love the feeling how I can use music to channel out energy from the “other side” of me.

    It’s true that pursuing a hobby can be a bit complicated. Take it from me! I had a hard time pursuing singing and music as a career for a while. But then, whatever happens, you’re still one of the best writers I’ve known and look up to, Nina. :)

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 6:45 am

      Thank you! What a nice compliment!

      It makes sense to me that someone who passionately loves music and loves to sing would be into ALL kinds of music. I’m willing to read all kinds of books (nonfiction, young adults, etc.) because I want to learn from different kids of writers. Also, I enjoy so many different kids. See–this stuff doesn’t feel like work when you really love the different aspects of it.

  5. Alarna Rose Gray
    July 10, 2012 | 5:56 am

    Nina, this is so true! I’ve always harboured fantasies of being a music buff…but mostly I just listen to others who are and secretly wonder ‘how do they know this stuff?’ Which is why I only find new music about once a year – usually based on someone else’s recommend (oh, and I don’t have an iPod). Having said that, I LOVE music….and have a fairly weird collection – from childlike (Michael Feinstein – Pure Imagination), to music in other languages (Zahara – Loliwe) to high energy/angry femme (M.I.A. and Peaches). Then, of course, there are those trips back to the 90’s and 80’s…Now that you’ve released me from the ‘coolness’ fantasy, I can freely admit to a secret love of pop :)

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 6:48 am

      Yay! Glad you “get” me! Seems you are still sort of a music buff, at least it seems like that to me. And no shame in pop! ;)

  6. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson
    July 10, 2012 | 6:57 am

    First of all, we could so concert together. I prefer to sit and listen except I have an irrational love for Crosby, Stills & Nash — and then I need to stand. Which reminds me, I need to write a follow up to that post to tell everyone what happened. Sheesh! My current crush is on Ingrid Michaelson. Omg! She is so talented and beautiful and I fantasize that she and I might have been really good friends when I was in a band. Over 20 years ago.

    Le sigh.

  7. Julia Munroe Martin
    July 10, 2012 | 7:15 am

    My fantasy hobby is kayaking–we live on the coast of Maine, and I’m always so envious of people who load and unload their kayaks on top of their cars then glide out into the silent morning water. But the trouble is I’m really not a water person….and it takes a lot of gear. So it will remain a fantasy (at least for now). As for music, I have a really wide eclectic range on my iphone — across genres — the common thread is music that makes me feel energized.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 3:01 pm

      Julia, I so relate to this. I hate water (both swimming and boating.) I’m sure I must have drowned in a past life or something. My fear/discomfort is truly irrational. Anyway, I see how people love to sail, etc. and I imagine it must be a great activity—for other people.

  8. Amber West
    July 10, 2012 | 7:41 am

    I totally get this.

    My mom had the Manilow records, the showtunes, all the things that were far less cool in a pre-Glee era, and my father had his latin and jazz albums. My musical tastes starting out, while eclectic, probably weren’t considered cool.

    Then, when my oldest brother was a freshman in college and I was a freshman in high school, he would send me boot tapes of Dave Matthews and took me to my first concert (Phish). My favorite teacher listened to “hip” music, and the young teacher I assisted for my senior year was a DJ/record producer on the side. So, yeah, I wanted to be able to impress them with my musical knowledge.

    My musical tastes have been all over the place, but at a certain point I had to give up on always being “up” on the coolest and latest. And concerts? As much as I love good, live music, I can’t stand the idea of standing in the midst of a bunch of people for hours.

    My sister is always up on the latest, going to this concert and that – I watched in awe as she flew to NYC and went to see Bjork by herself. I want to be that invested. But honestly, I don’t have it in me.

    And that’s okay.

    Thanks for sharing this – I am going to have to check out that book!

  9. Caryn
    July 10, 2012 | 8:25 am

    This is a great post Nina, thank you for sharing! I can totally relate. I think I have always wanted to fashion myself a hipster in general, not just in music. Knowing the best coffee shops, bookstores, etc. I think I missed my hipster window, but my husband and I go to the hipster neighborhood to eat and that’s close enough (and eating is a “hobby” we are quite good at)! I feel like I used to be a bit of a music snob, but like you, I eventually had to give up on being “in the know” of the indie music scene. I love live music, but like you, must be sitting down. My husband is still a huge Phish fan, but luckily as he has reached his mid-30s, he has found he is just a bit too old for their concerts. When I need to relax, I pop in my RENT CD and sing every word of it!

    I’ve heard so much about Gretchen Rubin’s book and it seems like now is a good time to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 3:10 pm

      Caryn, Idina Menzel came to town and I missed it. Now that is a concert I’d LOVE.

      For sure grab Gretchen’s book. It’s a great read with all kinds of good tidbits like the giving up hobbies advice. That was just from a few pages!

  10. Jennifer K
    July 10, 2012 | 8:56 am

    I am totally with you! This past week we saw James Taylor live at Tanglewood and I remember thinking – “these are my people”, then looking around and I seeing I was one of the youngins’. To make matters worse, my husband kept saying, “What does James Taylor sing again, Bridge Under Troubled Water?”. Sigh. Let me know when Barbra is in town- we will see her together!! Xoxo

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 3:11 pm

      Those are our people. I actually have seen Babs in concert. Bryan came with and glared at me the entire time. (He liked Celine though.)

  11. vaughnroycroft
    July 10, 2012 | 9:13 am

    Okay, I was still with you at Sarah McLachlan, but then you lost me. I think ‘Into the Fire’ is among the most-played tracks in my itunes. I still buy her new stuff, out of some sort of weird loyalty, but hardly listen to it. It’s Tuesday morning (new releases day) and by 8:30 am I had cruised two online music stores and bought about eight new tracks. I’m listening to them as I type. That’s every week for me (and sometimes many more are purchased). It’s one of my thangs. But I’m with you on the concert-going. I used to go see up-and-coming bands in clubs and stand through entire shows. I’ve gotten a bit too old, and crowd phobic, for all that.

    Although music isn’t one of them, I have willingly given up on a few of my ‘fantasy hobbies’ of late. Running and skiing among them. I have to face up to the fact that I have old joints, and it’s just too damn painful. So I’ll download more music, don my headphones, and take a walk.

    Great post, Nina.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 3:14 pm

      Vaugh, I even liked Sarah’s version of “Rainbow Connection.” There’s nothing she can’t sing. Agree on the newer stuff and not listening to it so much. I’m all about those first few albums–but that’s because I’m clearly trapped in the 90s.

      Good news on giving up skiing is that you’ll save tons of money. Such a pricey sport!

  12. Melissa Crytzer Fry (@CrytzerFry)
    July 10, 2012 | 9:19 am

    I’ve been stuck in the 70s for years regarding my musical choices/playlists. And, despite my husband’s continual snickering at my love of disco, I don’t care. It makes me happy (especially the Bee Gees). I torture him with it as frequently as I can :-). I’m still not sure where my love of 70s music came from; I was born in 1972, and I TRULY think my parents played music in my crib. How else can you explain how I will hear a 70s song – never have heard it – but then start singing the words? I think my fantasy hobby would have to be gardening. I WANT to be good at it, have tried it (in the desert – not an easy feat), failed, and yet I still try it again, and don’t much enjoy the failure of it.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 3:25 pm

      Ha! Well, you’re trapped in the 70s. I’m sort of trapped in the 90s. We need to find an 80s person and we could make a great trio of musical non-hipness.

      I hate everything about gardening, which shouldn’t surprise you since you know I’m a total indoor bird.

    • Lisa Ahn (@Lisa_Ahn)
      July 11, 2012 | 12:07 pm

      Melissa, I’m a 70s music girl too — same thing. Can sing ‘em all. Must have been the cribs.

  13. TJ
    July 10, 2012 | 9:40 am

    Ballads and musicals with a little Michael W. Smith on the side? I’m so with you on those. You’re cool. =)

  14. brendamarroy
    July 10, 2012 | 11:12 am

    I love this, Nina. I’m with you in music tastes. I’m more a mellow music kind of girl.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 3:27 pm

      A view into my iTunes collection might explain why I can’t listen to music while I workout. ;) Mellow FOR SURE.

  15. julie gardner
    July 10, 2012 | 11:13 am

    I had to give up the “fantasy” of being someone who loves going to the gym. I like the “idea” of the overall fitness options of a gym (classes, equipment, weights, trainers, other people to inspire you) but in reality it just doesn’t work for me.

    I used to say it was too expensive (I can just put on my shoes and run for free!). Then I used the kids as an excuse (it takes too much time away from family to dress, drive and shower up when running out the door provides instant gratification in a short period of time).

    Then the kids grew up (sort of) and we had (sort of) enough cash to invest in memberships. So I joined a beautiful gym. And I never went.

    Well, I went maybe a dozen times over several months. And I just didn’t like it. Not any part of it. So I finally admitted to my husband that it was a waste of money and we canceled my membership. Even though we’d gotten “a great deal”; even though we’re friends with the owners of the gym; even though my other friends ALL frequent the gym.

    Even though.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 3:31 pm

      Uh-oh, this feels like a cautionary tale as I keep thinking I want to join a gym (AGAIN) in the fall. We’ll see . . .

    • Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson
      July 10, 2012 | 6:41 pm

      I’m with Julie on this. I’d rather take to the trails or ski. Or something. I HATE the gym. And I’m happily giving up this fantasy of being super in shape. Whatever. I’m pretty good for 44. I just tell people I’m 49 – and then I look REALLY good.

  16. Lara Schiffbauer
    July 10, 2012 | 11:19 am

    My i-pod is eclectic like no other. I have tribal drumming and bagpipes (Albannach), Creed, Duran Duran (I’ve adored them since 1984, and endured many a teasing in high school because of it), new age instrumentals, and lots of pop music. I guess I like music like I like books – fun, fluffy and easy to digest!

  17. MoniqueE.
    July 10, 2012 | 11:27 am

    OK, growing up, (I’m older than you are) I did listen to Aerosmith, Led Zepplin, and other hard rock bands. I do not share your musical taste, except for Josh Grobin – I LOVE him, I have branched out with my musical taste. I listen to a little of everything. I, like you do not have the time or inclination to devote myself to new music, at least I didn’t. I have discovered satellite radio when I bought my car a year ago. Now I just listen on my way to work and I hear current songs and heritage songs and I feel cool. No extra effort except for a check once a year.

    As for hobbies, I used to be a quilter, and I hung onto that hobby from my teen years till recently. I had been involved with quilting for so long it never occurred to me to stop. But once I realized I was no longer in love with the hobby, I set it aside and a whole new world opened up to me with drawing and writing.One a hobby, one a vocation just realized. Both bring more satisfaction than anything that has come before.

    I think once you find your passions, making time for them becomes easier than if you are making time for a passing interest. Look into sattelite radio, it will make you very current and cool.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 6:12 pm

      Such a great comment here. See–quilting sounds very cool to me because I love the idea of having something to hold in your hands to represent all that time. However, I can see how if it’s not fun anymore, it’s no consolation to see the physical manifestation of all that time spent.

      I have Sirius radio and love it. I mostly listen to the talk stuff though!

  18. Go Jules Go
    July 10, 2012 | 12:13 pm

    This is SUCH a great message, Nina! Not only the idea that it’s a waste of time pretending to be someone we’re not, but also to EMBRACE who you ARE! And James Taylor and Lea Michele (and Katharine McPhee) RULE.

    WOW I’m using a lot of CAPS here – I must be EXCITED. ;)

    My hub is always saying to me, “If you wanted to do [such and such], you would do it!” in an effort to get me to realize what I actually want to do with my spare time (mostly because I’m always complaining that I don’t write enough).

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 6:19 pm

      Thanks for the tip on how to spell Lea’s last name. Just changed it! ;)

  19. Shary Hover
    July 10, 2012 | 12:29 pm

    I enjoy Gretchen Rubin’s blog and I got a lot out of her book. It does seem that knowing and accepting ourselves for who we are is a key component of being happy.
    I love gardening, so it’s not a hobby I’m planning to give up, but I’ve realized that I’m not as devoted to my garden as I’d like to be. Honestly, I’d much rather be dancing. I think there’s room in my life for both hobbies as long as I can live with a few weeds and some overgrown shrubs.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 11:18 pm

      I think what you said at the end is important . . . the only way to fit in extra things is probably if we’re willing to lose the need for perfection on any one of the activities.

  20. MarinaSofia
    July 10, 2012 | 12:47 pm

    Well done, Nina, for proudly admitting your limitations – and letting go of the urge to defeat them! I am still struggling with running, skiing, eock climbing, salsa dancing… all activities I enjoy, but can find a million excuses not to do once I have a good book to read or am in the midst of writing something. Perhaps I need to find a way to enjoy all of these, without any pressure to perform or improve. Other than in writing, of course.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 11:23 pm

      “Perhaps I need to find a way to enjoy all of these, without any pressure to perform or improve.”—–> that is a GOOD point! Reminds me of what Shary and I “discussed” in a previous comment . . . how that need for perfection can ruin an otherwise good enough activity.

  21. Michelle O'Neil
    July 10, 2012 | 1:10 pm

    LOL. Fantasy hobbies. Mine would be knitting.

  22. Cynthia Robertson
    July 10, 2012 | 2:26 pm

    Holy cow, your blog is getting A LOT of comments these days…congrats, Nina! :)

    I think I must have always been pretty selfish with my time/interests. I sat here thinking as I read this post, and I can’t think of anything I have regularly done – for amusement – that didn’t interest me. My husband loves all sports, watches them on TV and goes to the games (which I will occasionally attend, but only if plied with beer and hotdogs while there) and he’s a golfer, but I have refused to learn how to play what I view as an extremely tedious and frustrating game. (Although again, I can be bribed to ride along, with beer and promised outdoor beauty, if he’s playing an especially lovely course – but only about once or twice a year.)
    Other than those I pretty much do as I please. Trying new things has always interested me. But if I do something once or twice and it bores me, that’s it.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 11, 2012 | 4:28 pm

      Hi Cynthia! Great to “see” you here. Great comment. Personally, I find it difficult to strike that delicate balance between giving new things enough time to really see their potential and just sticking to what’s in my comfort zone. I don’t do much outside my comfort zone. That’s for sure. But I love most of what I do in my spare time! So . . . maybe if it ain’t broke.

  23. Jackie Cangro
    July 10, 2012 | 8:50 pm

    I’ve read The Happiness Project, which I found very thought provoking, and I enjoy Gretchen Rubin’s blog. There’s usually some tidbit that is worth a try.

    Letting go of hobbies we had all good intentions to try means giving up what we thought we were going to be. You were going to be the music aficionado. I was going to be the musician – specifically the guitarist. I had to come to terms with the fact that not only am I the worst guitarist who ever lived, but the truth was that I liked the idea of it more than the actual playing.
    I still play air guitar, but I don’t think that counts. :)

    • Nina Badzin
      July 11, 2012 | 4:31 pm

      Ha! I had that with piano sort of. I always LOVED the idea of sitting down and playing. Took 8 years of lessons as a kid but was never good. I took lessons again in college (because the fantasy wouldn’t die.) I was still a beginner. To get credit for the course (yup, it was an actual college course) I HAD TO be in a recital. We’re talking music majors playing serious stuff. I (barely) played a song from Evita. It was HUMILIATING. I didn’t tell any of my friends about the recital or anything. And to be honest, I sort of buried that memory until I read your comment!

      • Jackie Cangro
        July 14, 2012 | 11:01 pm

        I was laughing when I read your comment. I, too, took a college class – Guitar 101. It was held in the music building on campus. Since we were beginners they provided the students with the guitars. They didn’t have any left-handed guitars, but the teacher told me, “You’ve never really played before, so it shouldn’t matter too much.” :) The practice rooms were in the basement of the music building. I remember the total embarrassment of trying to play Row, Row, Row Your Boat (badly) while a guy in the next room was playing Beethoven. I slinked out of there never to return!

  24. Julie Nilson
    July 10, 2012 | 9:42 pm

    This post is so funny! I made a similar realization–that I would never be on the cutting edge of music–some years ago. I think mine had more to do with having kids, and no longer having the time or money to go to shows anymore. But I’ve been much happier with my iPod playlists since I decided to embrace my inner music dork.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 11, 2012 | 4:36 pm

      Having kids made a difference for me (I thought) until I realized I’m still on the “cutting edge” of the lit scene–which goes back to one of Gretchen Rubin’s points in the book that we make time for what we REALLY enjoy . . . and if we don’t make the time, we probably don’t enjoy it as much as we think (or thought).

      Happy to know a fellow music dork, Julie.

  25. Frume Sarah
    July 10, 2012 | 10:11 pm

    We even have the same taste in music. I find that just thrilling!!!

    As for hobbies, I too love all things bookish. Oddly, though, I never considered reading a hobby because I never thought of myself as having hobbies. Or enough time for hobbies. Books are like oxygen. Is breathing a hobby??

    According to my Spotify, I listen to some very cool music. (Thanks, kids.)

    • Nina Badzin
      July 11, 2012 | 4:37 pm

      Love your take on books/breating. And that you’re not horrified by my music highlights. I still don’t get what Spotify is, but i know most of my friends feel that way about Twitter, WordPress, etc.

  26. Jen Zeman (@jen_zeman)
    July 11, 2012 | 8:18 am

    I just needed to let you know how much this post helped me – it was so timely! It dawned on me after reading this that I too was holding onto a fake hobby – being a foodie! I’ve always been very health conscious but I’ve never enjoyed cooking. Ever. I don’t resort to pre-made meals or fast food, but I like my food very simple and very easy to make and I can eat the same thing frequently without getting tired of it. But as I read more into a whole foods diet, I felt like I “needed” to expand my food horizons and hoard all these healthy recipes. I have a binder choke full of healthy recipes that I NEVER USE. Then I feel guilty about not carving out enough time to dedicate to going through it each week before grocery shopping, or guilty about not taking the time to cook any of the recipes. This morning I plan on dumping all the pages in the recycling bin! It feels so liberating! lol! After reading this I realized it’s okay to eat the way I do and it’s okay if I don’t enjoy cooking. Freedom feels so good… Thanks for sharing Nina!!

    • Nina Badzin
      July 11, 2012 | 4:41 pm

      Jen!! I love that this post had an impact. Your example was such a good one that I used it in my tweets today. (I know you saw that and thanks for the RT). And thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us. I know many can relate to the foodie example! If you already eat healthy and like what you make, then why waste the time?!

  27. Selena Azugy
    July 11, 2012 | 11:44 am

    I LOVE the Happiness Project (even subscribe to Rubin’s monthly newsletter!). This book helped me crawl out of a tough period and gave my life new perspective. Think I need to pick it up again because I totally forgot about this part!
    I wish I had more time for hobbies which has made me dump almost every hobby I have (time is precious! I save it for reading fun blogs like yours and novels.) and downscaled-temporarily- the hobbies I love like painting & sewing/creating fun stuff for my kids. As for hobby that I kept trying to master, was cooking. I’ve realised that I’ll never be a master challah baker or hipster foodie. I don’t have the timing or patience… c’est la vie ;)
    P.S. love your music choices… I’m going to go out on a limb and share that, while working on cruise ships for years, I grew to love live music- especially “Big Band”. Yes, good sitting music but you have to get there early or all the seniors will get the good seats ;) Still can’t get enough… shhhhhh, don’t tell ;)

    • Nina Badzin
      July 11, 2012 | 4:57 pm

      Selena, Oh! I think I’ll sign up for the newsletter too. I know her newest book comes out soon as well. The original is for sure one that you could get something out of with a new reading.

      Seems that cooking is one that gives people a lot of grief. Challah is great example. A kosher bakery here makes a great one, so I see NO reason to make the dough etc. (I know it’s a mitzvah . . . BUT . . . )

      Cruise ship . . . you NEED to blog about that more.

  28. Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer)
    July 11, 2012 | 11:55 am

    I so empathize with this! My fantasy hobby is similar to yours, but rather than wanting to like certain types of music, I feel like I’m just not as passionate about music in general as most people are. I like music, LOVE certain artists and songs (both cool and uncool), but if I had to choose between giving up reading or giving up music? Music in a heartbeat. I listen to music, but I don’t obsess over bands like my friends do. I don’t even know the names of the artists in some of my favorite groups. (I’d rather listen to them than know their favorite foods or if they’re married, etc.) I just don’t care about the culture of music like I do about the culture of books. That makes me a freak to some music-lovers, but I think I’ve come to terms with that.

    I really like this post. Great topic, Nina!

    • Nina Badzin
      July 11, 2012 | 5:00 pm

      Thanks, Annie. I like that expression, “the culture of books.” Sometimes I’m actually jealous of people who just read a book and move on and not need to follow the person on Twitter, look at their blog, or know how the book got published. The way you and I might not know the names of certain musicians is how many people are about books. I’ll ask someone about a book they read and they might not even know the author’s name! Can you imagine!? ;)

  29. Lisa Ahn (@Lisa_Ahn)
    July 11, 2012 | 12:13 pm

    Love this post! I gave up the idea of myself as a runner last year. I wish I were a runner. Runners are cool, plus they generally have tight butts and sleek thighs. But I loathe running. And I’m at the point in life where I’m no longer willing to endure self-torture.
    This summer, I’ve given up the idea of myself as someone who loves to go to the lake club every day. We pay a yearly membership and I’ve always felt that I had to use it, use it. My husband and the kids LOVE it. I would rather use those hours to write or read, preferably out on a chair in the shade with a cup of coffee. Everyone I know thinks I am insane. The lake club is beautiful. It really, really is. But I’m just not that girl. Ah, such an exhalation to let that go.
    As for my playlist — The Weepies, the Civil Wars, and the Wailin Jennys all top the list.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 11, 2012 | 6:14 pm

      Not a runner either. I often used to wish I was, but it’s not me (as I hate to sweat and/or exert myself.) ;)

      Can you believe I’ve actually heard of The Weepies!?

  30. Lindsey Mead (@lemead)
    July 11, 2012 | 12:17 pm

    We might be the same person. I’m simply not a cool music person and I’m never going to be. Many of the songs you listen to are ones that I love. And, furthermore, I only listen to music when I run and when I drive. When I’m at home I like it quiet. Hello, curmudgeon!!

    • Nina Badzin
      July 11, 2012 | 6:23 pm

      Ha! Well, as you know from my Twitter tips, I think of myself as a curmudgeon too.

  31. Jessica Watson (@JessBWatson)
    July 11, 2012 | 12:59 pm

    This is such an interesting topic to me because I think I have tried to “make” myself like a lot of different things at different times and then ultimately found I’m just not good at them. Over time I’ve discovered that there is a certain time for certain things. I used to want to love to sew and create things and abandoned every project I tried. Now, at a completely different place in my life, I find myself loving to wander the fabric aisles and creating things that actually look good, because I want to do it for me, not because I feel like I should like to do it. Does any of that make any sense?
    Great topic!

  32. Everyday Commotion
    July 11, 2012 | 2:47 pm

    Love your commentary on the music!

    I had to give up scrapbooking. I still have a nearly two-foot stack of 12×12 papers and a drawer full of embellishments. Though it would be the perfect hobby for a mom of many. But I simply do not have the time anymore. I finally stopped buying supplies for it 2-3 years ago realizing I’d never, ever use them.

    My music choices always come from KS95 or even (should I admit this?) KDWB anymore. I feel like I’m too old for KDWB, but man, some of that stuff is catchy :)

    • Nina Badzin
      July 11, 2012 | 10:53 pm

      OH, so then I guess you don’t want my ENORMOUS pile of Creative Memories gadgets, etc. I was WAY into scrapbooking for exactly one year. I bought anything and everything scrapbooking related and even dedicated one of the (now FULL) empty bedrooms into my scrapbooking room. I wouldn’t go near that stuff now, but you know what–I enjoyed it a lot at the time so no regrets. Of course my oldest has a fabulous baby book and the other three have NOTHING of the sort.

      • Everyday Commotion
        July 11, 2012 | 10:55 pm

        Ha! Yeah, my oldest has a very good start on a gorgeous scrapbook and completely filled out baby book, my daughter has one page done for a scrapbook, and nada for the other two boys. I did like scrapbooking, it’s perfect for someone who likes putzy tasks like I do, just no time!

  33. Hallie Sawyer (@Hallie_Sawyer)
    July 11, 2012 | 4:52 pm

    With the craziness of summer, I am starting to wonder if writing is my fantasy hobby! :) (Ha, ha, hmm…)

    One a serious note, my fantasy hobby would have to be photography. I would love to be one of those people that traveled with a roving eye. However, I don’t think my beginner’s DSLR camera will get me there. Lack of funds and proper training are big inhibitors but so is time. Maybe once the kids are out of the house…

    As far as music goes, I love concerts and so does my husband. Many a concert I have been to and rarely do I sit. If alcohol is involved, there may or may not be jumping and singing along involved. However, I draw the line at Heavy Metal and general seating venues. I am all over the board with music. I have Zac Brown Band, Pink, Michael Bublé, The Biebs (acoustic stuff), Stevie Ray Vaughn, movie soundtracks from Dances With Wolves and Avatar, and The Samples. I am a cluster*uck of sound over here. :)

    • Nina Badzin
      July 15, 2012 | 10:27 pm

      Yes! Photography would be a dream hobby. I took a class senior year in college . . . I have NO talent for light or the timing of it all (from taking the shot to developing the picture.) Even with the digital stuff it’s not remotely my forte. I also can’t pick colors for my walls, etc. I’m just not good with visual things! BUT, it’s the perfect fantasy hobby . . . thank goodness I gave it up after a semester before I sunk in too much time and money.

  34. Galit Breen
    July 11, 2012 | 10:29 pm

    I love this concept of giving up what we wish we loved, and owning what we do love – after we give it a fair chance, of course!

    {Also? Let’s go sit at an Indigo Girls concert! *swoon*}

    • Nina Badzin
      July 15, 2012 | 10:28 pm

      Ha! Yes, if they ever return to The Twin Cities we’ll go!

  35. TheJackB
    July 12, 2012 | 1:22 pm

    I wouldn’t characterize myself as someone who knows everything about music but I definitely love it. I think I have about ten thousand songs loaded on iTunes but I own a lot that isn’t there.

    Here is a list of some of what I listened to recently:

    Reelin in the Years- Steely Dan
    Dreamboat Annie- Heart
    Sweet Child O’ Mine- Guns N’ Roses
    Why So Serious? – The Dark Knight Soundtrack
    Ghost riders in the sky – Johnny Cash
    Hallelujah- Leonard Cohen

    • Nina Badzin
      July 15, 2012 | 10:32 pm

      I for sure own every version of Cohen’s Hallelujah.

  36. katharineowens
    July 13, 2012 | 3:31 am

    Nina, this is too funny (I had the CD of The Secret Garden on Broadway and I wore it out. Mandy Patinkin for the win!). I married a music person and he still hands me cds or puts them in the car, and for the most part I enjoy what he finds (though some of it is what I call “sad bastard music” a la High Fidelity). Since college I have not pursued new music AT ALL, and after this I am feeling a bit better about it! I feel like I should WANT to, but I don’t. Books are a different story altogether. I can’t stop adding books to my list, and that’s a sign. One of my pretend hobbies is baking. I tend to leave out one critical ingredient every time. Not good. :0)

    • Nina Badzin
      July 15, 2012 | 10:34 pm

      You are the ONLY other person aside from my friend Alissa who loves that show! Yes, MANDY for the win!! ;)

  37. Kasey Mathews
    July 15, 2012 | 1:56 pm

    I’m in this place of trying to get truly and deeply and permanently organized and the more I look around, the more I see this “hobby” scenario playing out. Fabric and patterns and spools of thread in one drawer, a dusty sewing machine on a shelf. 3 guitars of various sizes, a drum set, African drums, bongos… you get the picture, glass plates and decoupage paper and glue, boxes and boxes and boxes of photos and notecards and scrap booing supplies and stamps and inks and and and…

    You have really helped me to see the light!

    Thank you, Nina!

    • Nina Badzin
      July 15, 2012 | 11:01 pm

      Thanks for sharing this! I think we’re all feeling better seeing that we’re not alone. I still have a drawer of scrapbooking stuff. I know it’s time to let it go . . . I get a pit in my stomach when I see it because I know how much it all cost. Ugh.

  38. Jolina Petersheim
    July 16, 2012 | 10:10 am

    I actually love to hike, but I do not like to paint. I wish I did, but the one time I went to one of those hippy group classes where we painted together, my painting ended up looking like something from the Apocalypse.

  39. […] if I devote an entire post to a book, (like I did with MWF Seeking BFF, The Happiness Project, or Click) the crux of the post is more about me than the book. This is, after all, my personal […]

  40. Holly
    August 9, 2012 | 10:16 pm

    I read this because I’m interested in Gretchen’s book (which I plan to read, because hey, I WANT to be an avid reader, even though I don’t read that much). I have picked up many, many hobbies over the years – everything from knitting to making mosaics to sumi-e painting – and none of them ever “stuck.” So I’m trying to relax and see if anything just calls to me.

    But the reason I wanted to post here is because when I was a student in the early 90s, the traveling show of “The Secret Garden” came to my college and I reviewed it for the student newspaper. No Mandy Patinkin, but it was amazing anyway. I bought the CD at the show and have it to this day – I play it every March while I’m driving around in the dank Michigan weather. I’m trying to get my 5-year-old to appreciate it too. =) Glad to know there’s a couple of kindred souls out there listening to it!

    • Nina Badzin
      August 13, 2012 | 10:41 pm

      I LOVE that someone else gets the excellence of that show. TEAM MANDY! ;) I still listen to it. I cry at the end EVERY time. I’m not exaggerating. And I’m not someone who cries easily for most things. That show/book just gets to me.

  41. […] of her blog and her books. She’s a clear thinker and a clear writer. Her book inspired this blog post from me about how giving up on music led to some added happiness for me. This is a good book for the […]

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