Giving yourself more dimension: Why it’s important to explore things out of our norm.

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I wrote a post about labels this month, and my first way keep labels from working against you was to mix them up, because we’re individuals and our labels shouldn’t read them same as everyone else’s. The truth is I feel like a lot of people generify themselves so they can fit into a nice little package, whether they’re chasing a brand, an aesthetic, or simply want to be more liked.

I’ve noticed that a lot of my hobbies and loves let me fit into a neat little package, then when people get to know me they’re knocked off their feet by one of my more obscure fascinations or hobbies, not because they’re that rare, but because they never would have placed them with me. They only had a surface level reading of me and there’s always much more going on under the surface. We’re all like this, none of this new.

But what is a newer trend is collectivism, wanting to fit into to a certain group seamlessly and having all of our friends match us in hobbies and ideals. Okay, maybe that isn’t new either, but it’s growing and growing fast. I blame the internet for this, and I blame peoples insistence that you need to pick a side on everything from hobbies to politics to which TV show reigns supreme. You’ve heard of the sinking middle class, but what about the sinking middle ground? When we don’t have middle ground we tend to jump to one side as quickly as possible and leave all the stuff across the line to stay hidden or simply rot out of existence. It’s bad. That other stuff is just as important to who you are.

I hear people say “I lost interest in volleyball because I threw myself into art school and all that goes with it.” or “I lost interest in romance novels because I got my English degree and moved on to “high-brow” literature.”

It’s a common thing. Ask your friends why they dropped things they loved. Ask yourself why you stopped doing that hobby you loved three years ago. We all have our reasons, but I bet most of us didn’t spend a lot of time reviewing those reasons. If we were to, would we still think of them as legitimate enough to have dropped something we loved?

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9.7.16: Life Updates

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Sorry for the radio silence guys! I know that this is where most bloggers would lead into some amazing news they have to share, but that’s simply not the case. I’ve been sick with Lyme Disease for the last two and a half months along with two sinus infections and a double ear infection- it got a little rough in the last two weeks so I wasn’t feeling up to blogging. They’ve got me on two different long running antibiotics, so hopefully this next week and a half will be the end of it.

I kind of need it to be if I’m being honest, you can only be sick for so long before it starts to really kill your mood.

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Learning: You’re Not Done Yet

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I hear “when I’m done” a lot as a college student. Everyone’s excited for classes to end, for papers to stop being due. But recently I’ve realized how many of these students surrounding me really mean that they won’t be picking up more skills other than the ones taught in their trade. They count on the same hobbies, the same amount of knowledge, for as long as they possibly can.

It’s been said that 42% of college graduates don’t pick up another book after they finish school. (x) That’s nearly half! And I know that books aren’t the only way to deliver knowledge, but this gives you a base idea. We as a culture say “when I’m done getting my education” as if there is ever a time we stop learning.

I don’t know about you, but there is so much I never got the chance to learn about. Am I going to read books on it? Yes. Am I going to take lessons to learn piano or pottery or something new and exciting just because I can? Of course.

If we stop learning we stop growing, we become less cultured and we become more biased. We can’t make correct choices and then we complain about the situation as if we didn’t help create it. The situation can be something political or it could be the fact that it’s a Saturday afternoon and you’re bored out of your mind and your old hobbies don’t interest you anymore.

Wise up world, you’ve still got a lot of learning to do.

The More than One Thing Dream

aWe’ve been told since birth that we pick one thing to do with our lives, and at some point, our dreams stop fighting back. We want to be a doctor, a blogger, and a mother. A writer and a graphic designer, and a photographer. A… the list goes on and on. We think that we have to pick one trade to do all our life, because that’s what’s been instilled in us. Whether it be because we were told that we couldn’t make money any other way or it be because we wouldn’t have enough time to do both.

It’s false. You can do at least half a dozen things with your life. Some people are more talented at juggling them, but anyone can learn how too. A lot of time it does result in us doing one or two things for money and then the rest as hobbies, but if you work it right there is no reason why they can’t go hand in hand. See, most people don’t look to terribly far into how they can combine their interests. Maybe you’re a doctor with a weird schedule but in your down time you blog about the time spent with your daughter, and blog about balancing work with motherhood. A lot of hobbies/interests have more in common than you’d imagine. Try spending some time researching all the types of jobs that combine them, whether it be on google or in a book (there are books written on everything). When it comes having time, I’ll repeat what every other person does: you pick your priorities and you have the same twenty-four hours as everyone else. People do these thing all the time. Figure out how to make it work for you.

The Follow Through.

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© Anna Katherine Oates, 2014, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

There are times when you pick things up and don’t like them, and then there are time when you pick things up and don’t give yourself time to like them. I’m serious, there is a big difference. I could go with the easy example of reading for myself. I hated reading as a child, loathed it, even. But I was forced to with school, and well, there it was, I found the right book and it took off from there.

I’m not saying that there is going to be a “right book” for everything, that if you try something enough times that you’ll like, but I’m saying there is something to learning or trying something new, and that’s the follow through, even if it’s just a month of dabbling in it. Promise yourself you’ll finish one or two projects. That you’ll not judge yourself based on skill you haven’t given yourself time to learn. I used to say all the time (and still do for that matter) “I’m so terrible at painting and drawing” and my mom would always reply with “to learn to draw you have to draw.”

Life changing advice I received as a seven year old.

Another thing we do? Well, we don’t try things fully, we don’t go into the depths of it. Part of this is our culture, a kid tosses a ball a lot when he’s in grade school and all of a sudden all the parents are saying he’s going to be a college athlete. Oh okay. But we do the same thing in the reverse. I tried realistic drawing a lot when I decided I wanted to draw, and guys, I sucked, and it wasn’t because I was bad at art, and that’s what we’re taught as kids. If you don’t like crayons and markers in pre-k you don’t like art, you’re not creative in the visual way. Not the case. Turns out my visual super powers don’t come from physical on the paper art, but things like photo shop. I would have never found that if I had just said “why would I take that class? I suck at art.”

  • Give yourself time to fall in love with a hobby
  • Give yourself room to fall in love with a hobby

I don’t know if you could say it any easier. Hobbies don’t just grow out of thin air, people who are good at things don’t just happen to fall upon it. Sure, talent counts for a lot, but it can also be built, and more than often, people never make it that far.