I often joke that my career is getting in the way of my hobbies. Since March of 2020, I have begun to appreciate the joy of hobbies, and the distraction they can be to the negative forces in our lives. They can also be a way to bring joy to others, in a time where giving of one’s time is harder, due to COVID restrictions.
A friend of mine from church sews beautifully and usually spent her days working on projects for her family and for our church’s biannual charity craft sale. Due to her age, prior health conditions, and COVID restrictions, she found herself isolated in her home. She rarely leaves her home, and her family only visits outside. Instead of allowing her loneliness to consume her, she took the yards and yards of scrap material she had from previous projects and began making children-sized quilts. Listening to music, praying, and watching old movies while she worked, she found the days passing by quickly, with a sense of accomplishment. She contacted 2 local charities. One works with homeless families and the other helps people provide stable living conditions for newborn babies. She donated over 50 quilts last year and has been asked for more. Her life has a purpose, and while finding a way to enrich her own life, she has improved the lives of many others, in a time where people feel neglected and alone.
The great thing about hobbies is that they don’t have to be expensive, or require you to spend hundreds of dollars on equipment. Many times, you don’t even have to take a class to take on a new hobby. My friend learned how to knit using a free video course on YouTube. She bought the knitting needles and yarn from a local craft store, online, using coupons, delivered for less than $25, and she found great joy giving her creations to a local church who collected winter items like scarves and mittens. I also taught myself how to knit, using a loom I got for $15 from Michaels, using a YouTube video. Now I make prayer shawls for those in need of healing and comfort.
Hobbies don’t have to be crafts, cooking or baking. Many people re-discovered the love of reading and audiobooks during the pandemic. Through your local library, you can get books in many formats for free. Audiobooks, EBooks, and paper books. Amazon Prime members may also qualify for free E Books, which are great, because you can change the font to match your needs. With today’s electronic connectivity options, you can read to a loved one by Skype, Facetime, Zoom and other ways. Even some churches and libraries offer free online book discussions to aid in socialization.
Writing letters and cards is a lost art that many have resurrected. Sending generic cards and greetings to seniors in Skilled Care, Memory Care, and Assisted Living facilities brings much-needed smiles to the faces of those who cannot receive traditional visits. Even if your handwriting is bad, you can type up a note, add a funny photo or cartoon, and print it out. Getting creative is half the fun. When a distant relative of mine passed away, this summer, every card and letter I sent her was discovered, lovingly tucked away, and worn from daily viewing, in a drawer. Although she didn’t recognize who the notes were coming from, they brought her joy and comfort. Not only did I have fun finding funny photos to include in my cards, and writing out words of love and encouragement, but I enriched someone’s life.