If there's one thing that I've learned about myself during the pandemic, it is the fact that I'm in my 30s, spending my time with the hobbies that I've had since I was a teenager. The hobbies that have been lost and found again almost 20 years later, as I'm forced to stay at home longer than I expected.
As a homebody, I enjoy my life the most when I'm home. But even for me, there are times when I feel frustrated and hopeless during the pandemic. As a result, I got in touch with my old hobbies. Some of them kinda brought me back to the memory lanes, as those are the things that I loved to do in my spare time when I was 15.
So in this post, I'm going to write about these teenage hobbies of mine that are surprisingly still relevant in my 30s. You may say that it's the same shit, different time. But for me, it's the same shit, but different approach because I'm older. Therefore, I'm (probably) wiser.
Why You Need to Reconnect With Your Old Hobbies
Here's a jargon that I often hear about hobbies: you need at least five types of hobbies in your life. One that make money, one to keep you in shape and creative, one to build knowledge, and the other to evolve your mindset.
Do I have one for each category? To be fair, now that I mentioned it, I just realized that my five teenage hobbies actually fit in each category! #blessed
As a freelancer myself, I actually have plenty of time to explore and reconnect with my hobbies. But there are times when I'm too overwhelmed to do it, despite knowing that reconnecting with my old hobbies could really do wonders for any pressures that I experience in my adult life.
For me, it takes a lot to feel bored because I'm naturally a lazy person. But when the pandemic hit me differently because doing nothing is no longer a reward. At some point, I even managed to have my first therapy session because I felt overwhelmed for doing nothing.
You know what I did? I looked back and found the things that turned out to be the things that I've always enjoyed practically my whole life. But when I reconnected after years of abandoning them as an adult, I realized that I might take them for granted.
The Old Hobbies That Are Still Relevant in My 30s
I always thought I'm a lucky bastard for making a living through my hobby, which is writing. But writing is only of the abilities that I possess from having one passion that I'm grateful to have: a passion for learning.
Curiosity (with a chance to being nosy) takes me far enough to get to where I am. As a result, I suppose I'm still sane despite all the ups and downs happening these days.
So, these are the hobbies that kinda saved me.
1. Snail Mail and Postcrossing
Back when I was a kid, I always sent my classmates greeting cards during the holidays. I usually went to my grandparents' house for the holidays, so I usually bought around 30 cards and a set of colored pens and glitters to send the cards to their address by mail.
At the time, I only did it because I liked it. I loved writing a personal message on each card using the colorful pens, so when I got back to school, I could ask them whether they received the card to start a conversation on the new semester.
It wasn't until I was in my early 20s, and I got connected to a school friend through Facebook. This friend of mine, was basically the victim of teenage bullies in our time. Back then, bullying was normalized in this part of the world, and honestly… Looking back, kids were really mean to her.
But when we got connected through Facebook, the first thing she remembers about me was that I was the person who always sent her a greeting card during the holidays. And I kinda liked the idea of her remembering me as that, and not as one of the bullies.
During my uni years, I joined Interpals and exchanged some snailmailing using the platform. At the time, I was writing about “The Cultural Diplomacy of Serbia and Croatia in the Post-Yugoslav Era.”
I even got some Serbian sources for my thesis through the platform, as it was difficult for me to connect with the Serbian Embassy in Jakarta. On the contrary, I even got a chance to interview the Croatian Ambassador for Indonesia, so it was hard not to be biased when I wrote it. 😛
In 2015, my boss encouraged me to start an account at Postcrossing to casually collect postcards and stamps. I was active for a bit, but deactivated the account in 2016 or so.
Well, after the pandemic, I realized that I needed to get in touch with some hobbies to keep myself sane so I reactivated my Postcrossing account to write and send postcards to other members. I even registered my own PO Box at the post office nearby so it will be easier for me to send and receive postcards these days! 🙂
I was the kind of teenager who always kept my diary, and that's a fact. However, I stopped journaling ever since I started blogging. I thought blogging is pretty much the same as writing a diary… Only that it came in the digital platform.
But at the same time, I'm the kind of person who would always be interested in buying some cute notebooks even though I barely even use it, as I stopped journaling in the first place. Well, as a result, I have so many unused notebooks but nothing to write about.
So, earlier this year, I started motivating myself to write more on the book. Previously, I only made some scratches for the article skeleton on the notebook for reference before working on a new blog post. Now, I even bought a daily planner to create a checklist every day.
I bought some colored pens and cute stickers to make the journal look nice. And at this point, despite the fact that my brain kinda sticks with my typical time management, it's still fun to write things down to see what I accomplish in a day.
It took me a series of depression to realize that it had been a while since I read a new book. There are days when I felt like some light depression kicking in when I don't want to do anything, and I don't feel motivated to even start a new thing. Those were usually the days when I started looking for a new series or movies to bingewatch.
I tell you what, sometimes when I do that, I'm not happy either because I ended up not finishing it because my mind got distracted over nothing. The next thing I knew, now the movie or the series on my Netflix list and I just collect a pile of stuff that I don't finish watching there, and it sucks. So that's why reading has become my safe space when that shit kicks in.
I'm still yet to get used to e-books because I can't stand reading things on the device. When I said reading, I was referring to read the paperbacks or headcover because I can't stand Kindle.
Since I'm planning my next trip back to Turkey and Serbia, I found a hidden gem in a secondhand bookstore about Serbia under Milosevic era. I just finished Asne Seierstad's With Their Back To The World: Portraits From Serbia. And at this point, I started stalking some Serbian politicians even though politics have nothing to do with me these days. LOL.
But now that I think about it, I think it will come handy to at least be less tone-deaf when I'm there. It might as well be useful if I meet a Serbian guy or something, so that way I'll find out if my passion for learning things about his history will intimidate him. 😛
4. Learning a Foreign Language
Looking back, God knows what could've become me should I not be obsessed with the English Premier League that motivated me to learn the language. I've been always interested in foreign languages, despite the fact that I've never been really fluent in any language other than English.
In fact, one of the reasons that motivate me to go to Serbia is to also learn the language. I'm quite invested in the Balkan region, and the languages in the region are similar to one and the others. Learning Serbian not only allows me to understand some basic words to get started, but the fact that they use Cyrillics will also help me familiarize myself with the letters.
I started my Serbian lesson earlier this year through Italki, but it got harder to find some time to schedule a lesson at this point. And I felt unmotivated, honestly. I'm already looking at some Serbian short courses to take when I'm there, I suppose I can squeeze a weekend class in one the weekend I'm in Belgrade.
5. Watching Sports
When I was in high school, my parents bought me a TV to be put in my room because I was always too loud when I watched sports from the living room. At the time, national TV channels still provide some high-quality sport programs to the point that I can watch almost any football leagues in Europe from English Premier League to Bundesliga. In addition to that, I can even watch some badminton and tennis games.
I literally grew up watching Andy Roddick complaining to the umpires, calling them a moron and breaking multiple rackets. My teenage ass was drawn to his bad boy attitude. LMAO. And boy, that was relaxing! Or maybe I am the one with mental health issues? At this point, I'm not even sure! LOL.
Well now, with Euro 2020 postponed into this year, playing at the same time as Wimbledon… And now we're approaching the Olympics, don't I love enjoying the fact that I'm privileged enough to watch all of them together and reminisce the good ol' days when I watch the game now and buy a sports tabloid tomorrow?
When starting a new hobby in your 30s, there is no need to limit yourself to nonphysical activities. You can even reconnect with an old sport or start a new one. The only rule here is safety. Before embarking on a sport, you must research the best gear, as it can affect how you enjoy it.
They can also impact your performance in the sport if you are serious about it. For example, if you want to start cycling, you cannot simply choose any bike. You must select one suitable for your build and your level. You also need to ensure to use only the best power meter apparatus. This can greatly affect how you train and whether you can reach your optimum cycling potential.
The way I see it, sometimes we caught up so much for being an adult that we forgot the things we genuinely enjoy that could easily heal us from all the stress we got from being an adult. Like, I know responsibility sucks. But it doesn't have to be like that all the time.
At some point, I really thought that I needed to find a new hobby because the routine has been overwhelming lately. But really, I haven't changed much from when I was a teenager if we talk about my hobby and interests.
So, when was the last time you got in touch with your old hobbies? Share in the comment below, and cheerio! 😉