Did I ever really find myself in the first place or have I just been going along trying to figure out what it me and what I want out of life? In fact we never really find ourselves as times changes, things around us and people change and our circumstances never seem to settle for more than a few years. But right now I feel very much at a place where I know enough about myself to know what my basic interests are an how I can develop those into a number of hobbies, in a variety of changing forms, over the following few years.
You might have spotted a slight change in my photo style recently here on the blog and more noticeably over on instagram and that is in part to me getting back into the photography groove (as well as having a camera to play around with). There are so many ways that I could take these photos differently or edit them in other ways but this is about enjoyment as much as it is development.
This is something that I have been interested in for a long time and being behind the camera has always made me feel so much more comfortable than being in front of it, even from a young age, but there was a time when I lost confidence and the idea of whipping a camera out on the street or in a restaurant was a huge anxiety no-go. It still makes me a little nervy but it is something I am working on and hugely helped by an understanding partner and amazing set of close friends.
This is not me saying that I am any good at art or that any elements of it will ever be improved, even with hours of practice and dedication, but it is something that I hugely enjoy and find very relaxing. Whether it is doing a colouring book, an abstract painting, trying to be fancy with pencils and fancy pens or just sticking loads of things on a page I love doing it all. In fact, I probably need to work on using a few lose bits and bobs up more because the pile of supplies is starting to look a little off balance in the corner.
It could probably be said that my art, whilst forever awful, was slightly better when I was doing it for GCSE an increasingly distant number of years ago. Now when I do art there are so many things going on inside my head, thoughts, concepts and clashes, that it is difficult to just focus and do a simple piece of a fish because my mind then thinks to all the discussions of fish and all the books I have read that discuss the variations even within the same type of species. There is a reason so much art that a child does in their youth is precious; it speaks the raw truth of the one thought in their mind rather than a mangle of decades of thoughts.
I have really found my stride with reading again in 2018. It is something that I always fall into and end up sliding back out of but there are ways that I am trying to address this; keeping track of my reads and progress on Goodreads really helps me to see progress in a way other than just the bookmark moving further along.
But now my life is a little calmer and whilst a lot of things are forever changing the pace, the consistency is generally there and reading a book each evening has become part of the daily routine. The physical book has returned to trumping the reading of my phone screen or browsing through instagram and it really helps me to ensure a bit more balance as well as some downtime from screens.
It also feels really good to acknowledge that reading is something that I do enjoy, even in peaks and troughs, as it makes me feel more comfortable with the amount of books I own and the amount of books I find myself eyeing up whilst out and about. Reading the books also allows me to then pop them into a box with an inventory and store them away until we either move or acquire a number of additional bookshelves.
Whatever the situation is in my life and wherever I end up tracking off to I always find myself coming back to writing in one form or another; blogging, freelance journalism, terrible stories or lengthy whatsapp messages about restaurants that need visiting with friends. This is my eighth year blogging one way or another and whilst the form and content topics have changed a lot over time there is still a real enjoyment for me in popping words on paper or through a keyboard.
Over the years I have also realised that it is totally okay to take a break from writing, like any of my interests, because it is about enjoying them rather than forcing them upon myself because they are somehow supposed to be a representation of me. Whenever I try to force words out of me it is terribly obvious and something that I would rather avoid as otherwise the bad people makes people less likely to read the good.
This makes me sound like I am aged way beyond my years but sitting down with a book of logic problems, some crosswords or a box of jigsaw pieces is something that I really enjoy. They are gentle ways to use the mind but there is no pressure or time limit and they can be picked up, packed away and moved for as long as is needed before considering a return to them.
Of course there are so many different types of puzzles that there are some I would rather avoid (specifically cryptic crosswords) but on the whole if there is a newspaper on a train and a pen can be scrambled for from my bag then the puzzle page will be the first place that I will head. I know how to have fun eh!
What are the interest areas that you always find yourself going back to or where another hobby comes out from? I would love to hear in the comments below.