Pursue your pleasures

Author Adele Parks rekindles her love for lost pastimes

by Psychologies

Hobbies, spare time, leisure – aren’t those things just for children?

As a parent, you can be so busy with chores and checklists that it’s easy to forget about the personal interests we cherished as children. I was generally an enthusiastic do-er type as a girl. I had a number of hobbies – ice skating, photography, art and drama – and while I don’t think I’m overly pushy (which mother does?), I certainly encourage my 12-year-old son to have lots of hobbies.

I’m pleased he does. Although he’s unlikely to pursue them all (schoolwork, pop music and girls will take over), I like to think he has a range of talents and experiences that will stand him in good stead and allow him to turn his hand to most things as he gets older.

Then, one day, he asked me, ‘So what are your hobbies, Mum?’ ‘I have hobbies,’ I replied defensively.

‘Like what?’ he pursued.

He made the argument that it was, at best, illogical, at worst, hypocritical, that I, and many other parents, relentlessly encourage children in extra-curricular activities but do very little outside our working lives. I know hobbies help us unwind. They challenge us and provide different social links. Studies show those people with hobbies live longer. What’s not to love?

But when he asked this question, I realised I didn’t have any hobbies. Where had the do-er gone?

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