The Cost Of All My Abandoned Hobbies

Who needs hobbies when you can just watch TV?

Photo: Flickr

Every so often, the urge strikes to learn something new. Life is short and also quite long and sometimes it’s nice to learn a new skill. For years, if anyone asked what my hobbies were, I’d say “reading and sitting alone quietly in a room where no one can bother me,” but really, those aren’t hobbies, just things I like to do before I go to bed.

Over the years, I’ve picked up quite a few hobbies, enamored with them to start because they filled a very particular space in my life. As a balm against listlessness, these hobbies have filled my life with purpose, if only for a brief amount of time.


Outsider art.

Inspired most likely by something I saw on Instagram, I took myself to the art supply store one very cold winter day and decided that I was going to start painting. Art is not my strong suit, but watercolors felt easy enough and also a pleasant activity to do while slightly stoned and listening to a podcast. When I got home from the art store, I set everything up on my desk and produced a series of weird little paintings of cacti with eyes and wry smiles. Two of them hang above my desk; the others were pushed off on my sisters who smiled at me gently and put them in their bags. I have not touched the watercolors since; they’re sitting in the drawer where I keep my checks I’ve auto-deposited with my banking app. I look at them every now and again and think, “Huh, I should really do this again,” but I get distracted every time.

One set of watercolor paints, a few paintbrushes and a pad of very nice paper: $36.98

Making my own horribly ugly faux-marble beads


Definitely inpsired by something I saw on the internet, I realized that it’s very easy to smush a bunch of clay together and make something that looks like I could’ve bought it at Urban Outfitters. All of my crafting instincts seem to happen in winter. It was cold when I bought the clay, the sculpting tools and the leather string that I used to eventually make two of these wall hangings. One dangles in my living room, the other above my desk. I made a few pendants, with the idea that I’d actually wear them but alas, they sit in a tangle with all my other jewelry, unworn forever.

Sculpy clay, a set of plastic clay shaping tools I definitely didn’t need, three cookie cutters, some leather cord, parchment paper and a tiny rolling pin: $56.00


I made this.

I learned to knit from my friend Wendy who taught me during a very stressful period of our lives — the year after we graduated from college, when we were broke and sad and terribly anxious, living in San Francisco and clinging to each other as anchors when we probably needed to take some space. We argued ceaselessly over knitting because as stated, I’m bad with crafts and she is lovely but occasionally impatient. At one point, we signed a knitting contract, something scrawled on the back of a New Yorker stating that we will never talk about knitting again. It was signed by both of us, witnessed by our friend Greg and probably thrown away after a move or two.

I started out a very bad knitter but improved only to the point where I can now knit simple scarves while watching TV and not really thinking about it. Knitting things for people makes me happy; I have pressed hats and cowls into the arms of friends and family who don’t really want them but can’t turn down a handknit item because it would be rude. An ex-boyfriend of mine graciously accepted a hat and a scarf that he never wore. “I’m scared I’ll lose them,” he told me. They’re probably still hanging in his closet at his parent’s house right now, but at least he still has them. My best friend Greg is on his third scarf from me. The first was hideous, the second was wonderful and left at a bar and the third is roughly the size of a baby blanket, and very warm. He has yet to lose it and for that I am glad.

Knitting is the one hobby that stuck. The amount of money I’ve spent on knitting over the years is impossible to estimate; yarn can be expensive and I purchase yarn and knitting needles every time I find myself away on a trip without a project. It adds up. But, I still do this hobby! I haven’t left it in the dust like the rest. It eases my mind and so all the money I’ve spent is worth it.

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