I heard her say it as she slowly stirred the mozzarella mixture. Mozzarella? Scott and I were at a cheese making class. We were taking the class on a cold winter evening at Gather Studio from Boss Mouse Cheese all about cheese making when Sue said, “I want to congratulate you all for choosing to be here on a Wednesday night in a snowstorm. By doing so, each one of you is making yourself better. Why do I say that? Because everyone needs a personal interest. It doesn’t need to be something your spouse is necessarily into and it can’t be your kids. I’m sorry, people always disagree with me on this one, but you need a personal interest outside of your kids. I'm serious, if you want life to be interesting, get yourself a personal interest.”
Boom. It had nothing to do with cheese making but it hit me like a ton of cheesy bricks (is there such a thing?). I had never heard someone put so much weight on making life interesting and I wanted to jump up there and give Sue a big ole hug. YEESSSS my friend! Heck freaking yes.
It was EXACTLY what Scott and I keep talking about. Finding your THING. Learning. Creating. Doing. Trying.
Personal interests, hobbies you might call them, are key my friend. I get way too pumped talking about this topic but I think they are a blessing from the heavens above and we should all focus a little more on them.
Why? Because they make life interesting. They make YOU interesting. And somehow, magically, they teach you something every single time. Plus I think they bring people together and encourage people to chase after their own passions and interests.
Whoa Steph, you are pretty darn fired up talking about personal interests….where are you going with this? Well, I so wish we could chat about this over a coffee because I could go on for a while but I’ll try my best through writing.
Over here at the Castelein household, we’re big fans of all things creating and trying new things. We’re big believers that we learn and grow and become better and more interesting people by trying new things, getting our hands dirty, and figuring sh*t out. Also, that things seem a lot scarier and harder than they actually are and most people don't try new things because no one likes to be uncomfortable.
We hate being uncomfortable. But being uncomfortable is where you grow and life really starts to get interesting isn't it? Yes. The answer is yes.
Besides the fear of the unknown and being uncomfortable, some of the biggest prohibiting factors that keep us from trying new things, in my opinion are TV and screen time. I could go on and on about our freaking phones but that’s another blog post for another day. Just know that life is way too short and much too precious to spend all of your time watching TV.
Anyway, ever since Sue put personal interests and hobbies in a way that really spoke to me, we've started to focus on our own even more and make sure that we carve out time each week to pursue them.
I'm not saying we have it all figured out. We're far from perfect my friend. We watch Netflix almost every night and love a good TV series as much as the next person but we ARE committed to living an intentional life. One that we remember and enjoy and are actually present for and doesn't just pass us by and slip right between our fingers and so we TRRYYY to limit our screen time more often then not.
So...whew...what does this all mean? What exactly does having a personal interest or hobby look like?
I think it's these 3 things.
1. Time. You have to actually make time for your personal interests. This probably means you might have to say no to something else. Turn off the TV, shut your phone off, say no to a night with friends. A gal I follow, Kalin, just wrote a great blog on protecting your time and saying no to things. You only get one life my friend, how you spend it is up to you.
2. Do some research. Pick something you're interested in and see what you need to make it happen. Do you need tools? Do you need equipment? Do you need someone to help you? What are the actual days city league volleyball is played? Need ideas? I have a big list below.
Too often we never start new things because we assume that diving into something new will take too much time, cost too much money, and is way too difficult. But what does it actually take to get started and how can you make that as easy as possible?
3. Ok enough with the research, now get started! Start small and go from there, but getting started is the key. You'll see below that Scott is WAY into carving right now but got started with a $13 carving set from Hobby Lobby and now he's a whimsical house making machine.
Me? My latest personal interest is crocheting. I used to be a hardcore crocheter back in my day….aka college years (yeah, I was quite the party animal). Anyway, Scott bought me some crocheting tools for Christmas and I’ve been hooked since. Get it? Hooked? Because it’s a crochet hook…… Oh how I crack myself up.
But Scott? Let me tell you a bit about Scott's hobby because it's been really cool to be apart of all things carving. I don’t know if you’ve seen his work or kept up with his journey but man oh man it’s pretty incredible. He shares some of it over on his Instagram (click here to check it out) encouraging others to try new things as well.
He started getting serious about carving right around Christmas. He wanted to carve his parents a dog bone ornament for a gift. He grabbed some wood from the backyard and one of his many knives and went to work. It was painful. Hardwood + the wrong tools = a whole lot of unnecessary effort and a giant mess. So he started looking into what kind of wood you carve with, the best tools for beginners, etc. He bought a $13 carving set from Hobby Lobby and got to work.
His first carving? A little wizard man. And now? He freaking does whimsical houses, faces with ridiculously long beards, gnomes, sailboats, mermaids, and on and on and on. He's had so many people reach out encouraging him, asking him to make them something, and interested in how they can start carving themself.
See what I mean? INTERESTING! People are starting to think about what they can create because they see Scott over here creating. I think it's one of the coolest examples of how we can encourage and help others see what they are capable of, by sharing our own journey.
I have no idea if Scott will stick with carving for the rest of his life, this could just be a right now thing, but I can guarantee I will forever remember the time he went through a carving phase and spent his evenings with wood chip piles at his feet growing taller and taller.
So. What does this mean for you? It means find something outside of your routine that fills you up. A personal interest or hobby can be ANYTHING!
I have a friend who loves theater and musicals but didn't feel like she had the best voice. So you know what she did, SHE FREAKING TOOK VOICE LESSONS. As a 20 something-year-old, she wanted to be halfway decent at singing so she signed herself up and did the dang thing. And now, she's a great singer! She went on to take piano lessons, teach herself the basics of guitar via Youtube, took improv classes, and became a certified Orange Theory coach. She’s also one of my main inspirations for pursuing your personal interests.
So if you're still stuck and wondering what a personal interest or new hobby would look like for you, here is a quick list of some super simple ideas to get you going!
Baking/Cooking (Become an expert in a niche like bread or layered cakes or vegetarian meals.)
Blogging (Ahem….why hello there, welcome to my personal interest turned career.)
Local sports league (I joined a women’s volleyball team this winter and absolutely love it!)
Learn to play an instrument
Fishing (This is definitely another personal interest of Scott’s.)
Pickling/Canning (It’s a goal of mine to learn all things canning this summer!)
Knitting/Crocheting (Check ✔️)
Learn a new language (I TRY to do Duolingo every day and am slowly teaching myself Spanish!)
Dancing (I so badly want Scott and I to sign up for local dance lessons…stay tuned!)
Cheese making! (After Sue’s class I’d definitely like to learn more!)
Herbalism (I have a friend who does all things herbs and makes her own tinctures.)
Scrapbooking (My mother in law is way into scrapbooking and kills it. What a talent!)
Gold panning (I literally bought Scott a gold panning set for Christmas and we got all his nieces and nephews their own pans as well.)
Start a soup club (Anyone?)
I mean this list could go on and on ya know?
The point is this. Find yourself a personal interest and pursue that personal interest.
Fill your cup up.
Learn something new.
Try something different.
Life is a whole lot more interesting if you do.
What is something you've been into lately or have been excited about trying? Let me know in a comment below!
PS: Oh hey, get this crocheting starter kit and dive into your personal interest asap!
Disclaimer: Affiliate links may be used throughout this post which means I might make a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you click on them.