The Hobby Collector

I have this small issue in which I like too many things.

Before you assume that this is yet another story of a girl who flits from passion to passion on an almost daily basis without ever sticking to anything, allow me to put your mind at ease (and send my own anxiety flying off the rails).

I don’t actually give up any of the things I decide I like.

This means that I have an endless burning love for watercolor painting, calligraphy, gardening, knitting, baking, needle point, running, yoga, reading, writing, wood burning, piano, and (a recent addition) pasta making.

So, on an average day, I have an awful lot to do.

On the plus side, I am almost never bored. If I’m not actively involved in one of the above creative pursuits, there is always something to clean and/or reorganize following the project previous.

Yet I am in a state of constant lamentation over the lack of hours in the average day. I don’t want to just make pasta until midnight (delicious and mesmerizing as it is). I want to paint. I want to figure out what went wrong with last week’s attempt at brioche. I want to practice my samba – my rhythm needs some work and my partner complains that I still can’t follow, but we’re getting there, okay?

For a time, I referred to myself as a “serial hobbyist”, but I quickly realized that was not quite accurate. “Serial” implies that I move on at some point, that I find something to replace a previously beloved pastime. That almost never happens. I simply add to my list.

When someone tells me that there is this cool new thing I should try, my immediate reaction is excitement. “Yes, please, tell me all about this new thing!” 

My secondary reaction is not unlike the response of someone on a diet or someone who is too often sucked into Netflix marathons. “I’ve already had three cheat day this week, I can’t!” or “I so do not have time for another one!”

I can’t give up one hobby in favor of another. I’ve invested too much time and energy in the perfection of my pie crust, in the perfect blend of watercolors, in the health of my potting soil! To give up would just be wrong.

I quickly cave and add another. Sleep does not come easily for me. Surely there is a dropped stitch in a scarf that needs fixing.


I sometimes get the “jack of all trades, master of none” speech, but I have a fun fact for you all.

That’s not the entire original quote.

“A jack of all trades is a master of none, but is oftentimes better than a master of one.”

It was supposed to be a compliment to people who had variety rather than mastery. I may never reach my 10,000 hour expertise requirement for any one skill, but I will surely surpass 10,000 hours of active learning and curiosity and development.

My piano playing may never sell out any theater, but it brings me joy to play. My artwork may never hang in the Smithsonian, but I find calm in burning words into wood. I will definitely never drop my half marathon time under ninety minutes, but I’ve grown to love the run regardless of how fast I go.

My apartment is home to many various supplies, often scattered, but very well-loved. I hope to teach my daughter that it’s good to be curious and that she should feel encouraged to try new things, unafraid of failure or rejection.

I hope to teach her that there is too much to do to love only one thing. 


Featured image by Jorge Zapata on Unsplash
Knitting photo by rocknwool on Unsplash


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