Hobbies are Important

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As I sat and knit while in the hospital on Sunday evening and listened to various podcast episodes I couldn’t help but think how relaxing it was.  I mean I was in the hospital after a preterm labour scare but I was at complete peace as I put my hands to work and distracted my mind.

Then last night I attended a craft night with one of my good friends where we learned how to make watercolour pillow covers.  It was a night of socializing, eating and crafting and after we left we both stated how relaxing it was.  As we sat and painted using our hands and distracting our minds we were relaxed.

Then again today as I sat in my bed counting contractions, knitting and listening to podcasts I felt a joy in what I was doing.  I’ve done very tiny amounts of knit work in the past but have rarely finished anything and certainly have never finished a big project like the blanket I am working on.  I grew up watching my mom do every type of craft imaginable – sewing, needle work, yarn work – seriously you name it she can probably make it.  I always wished I could do those things and I tried several times but just never got into it and then lamented that I wasn’t crafty.  I do a bit of crafting and DIY here and there but I don’t have a dedicated craft “hobby.”  I think the biggest reason that I’ve never been able to really pick up a craft hobby is because I’m a doer and goer – I need to be always doing something productive usually in the form of household tasks and organization.  It’s gotten a lot worse in the last few years since becoming a momma if I’m not doing a productive household task then I feel like I’m wasting my time.  Even reading – a hobby that I used to enjoy immensely – fell to the wayside.  In the evenings I’d be so exhausted that I wouldn’t have any energy to get more tasks completed and so my solution was to just go to bed.  Sometimes I’d watch an episode of a show I enjoy but usually I’d just go to sleep – I’m talking EARLY like 7 or 8 pm.

Friends, this is pathetic!

In the warm months it doesn’t feel so bad because I have my garden as a hobby during the day and so that brings me so much contentment but the evenings are still void of anything.  The thing is that evenings is a time where I could be spending with my husband while our little one is in bed.  We don’t have a TV but he usually will watch Netflix on his computer and I rarely am interested in anything he’s watching so I just go to bed.  Since being on modified rest I’ve realized the importance of having a hobby and I’ve realized that it is NOT wasted time.  There’s something about taking the time to craft something with your hands that is going to be an item for someone you love.  As I knit this baby blanket I dream of the little one that will soon be wrapped up in it and it brings my heart so much joy.  It makes the time spent so worth it, and I know that every time I look at it I’ll remember this time spent resting and willing my body to cooperate.  The memories will be knitted into every stitch and it will be beautiful.

Today I went to a store that sells all things yarn related and as I browsed and gently touched all the yarn I dreamt of the projects I could complete.  I’m so excited to have this hobby and can’t wait to continue.

What about you? Do you have a hobby that you enjoy doing? How do you occupy your evenings when the littles are in bed?

How I got here

Although this story starts long before November 2013, that is where I will start.

In November 2013 after a heartbreaking journey of infertility my husband and I welcomed our sweet baby Ezekiel into the world.

If you have children then you know that your world completely changes.  No matter what experience you’ve had with parenthood, be it easy, hard, heartbreaking, world crashing, or a mixture of it all, the fact of the matter is that you are never the same.  I suppose that’s the same of most things in life, we’re always journeying forward and even if we wanted to revisit the past, we only have the future to look forward to and with the journey change always happens.

Leading up to my sons birth I had grand plans for my maternity leave.  I had lists upon lists of things I wanted to accomplish, I imagined my year being a year of accomplishments. I had projects lined up, grand plans of painting the house, hanging pictures on every wall, getting the yard up to snuff, refurbishing many items of furniture, organizing all our paperwork, baking every day, having a hot meal prepared at the end of every day, and in the midst of that I was also going to be a social butterfly, going for coffee and tea at least 4x/week.  I was determined that my house would be perfect, and that my baby would just go along with it.

Can you tell I’m a typical Type-A personality? I found this article and it’s pretty spot on for me – even the not so great parts…

Right from the get go I was determined that my year was going to work out as planned.  I cleaned my house 11 days after having a c-section – seriously I needed to just relax, but couldn’t!

As the year has progressed I have found that it has turned out far different than I had imagined and it’s been perfect for me.

The first 6 months I ended up being focused on health and nutrition.  I lost a significant amount of weight and I suppose that was a a big part of my subsequent desire to simplify my life. My diet now consisted of 90% fresh food as close to it’s natural state as possible.  Those 6 months I was still determined to get my lists done, but I was making lists on top of those lists (I doubt I’ll ever stop list making).  As I studied my lists I realized that most of what was on them was “make work” projects, simply because I had the material.  For example, I wanted to make a quilt, as well as scrapbook the hundreds possibly thousands of pictures I have but only because I had the scrapbook material, and the quilting material.  The kicker of it all was that as I thought about doing those things I didn’t get any enjoyment out of the thought, in fact I dreaded it.

Eventually I realized that all these things I had in my house were cluttering my mind and my life.  The were deterring me from enjoying my days with my son.  When Ezekiel would go down for a nap I would quickly get started on a project, but then he would wake up in the middle of my task and I would be frustrated, and that frustration overshadowed my whole day.  It didn’t take me long to figure this out, so then I just put all the projects on hold, but the “things” were still nagging me because they were staring at me every day, every where I went in my house.  So I decided that it was time to get rid of my junk.

I had a garage sale, I sold virtually all of my crafting materials, all of my books (except about 20, a mixture of sentimental books, bibles, and textbooks that are still useful for my career) and my entire wardrobe that was too big.  The freedom that came from this act alone was unbelievable! I literally felt like a huge weight had come off my shoulder and I had the peace of mind to just be “present” in the moments.  I could enjoy the day with my son, I could sit and play with him on the floor for an hour without thinking about what I could be doing instead.  I could use his nap times as my chore times but easily switch mindsets when he woke up.  His awake time was now his time and not a burden or inconvenience into my own time.  This switch in mindset was so evident with Ezekiel as well.  He’s far less impatient with me, he’s confident to play on his own for long periods of time as I sit and sip some coffee on the couch, simply because he knows that I’m not distracted.  I’m not anxiously waiting for the next moment I can tackle my to-do list.  I truly have found joy in living simply, and it’s changed me deeply.

Simplicity is now my mantra.

Do I still have to do lists? Yes, absolutely

Do I still have projects I want to do? Yep

But the lists and projects have taken the back burner, and I’m approaching them at a much slower pace, knowing that they will get done eventually.

There are so many areas that I still need to simplify.  There is so much more to learn, and so much I want to write about. This blog will be my platform to share how I’m living simply, and how it’s changing me.

Please join me, give me some encouragement and advice.  I hope that as I write you are able to glean little bits of wisdom here and there.