Illustrations by Andrew Ward
You’ve heard people talk about the benefits of having hobbies – the calming effect of creative things like crafts, or the camaraderie of athletic activities. What if you’d like to enjoy the benefits of a hobby, but you really just don’t like doing anything? This article is for you.
If you’re the type of person who thinks craft stores are a nightmare, and the only athletic thing you ever want to do is get 500 feet away from any court, field or net where people are chucking balls at each other, again … this list is for you.
Start Handwriting Letters & Become a Pen Pal
This is the “craftiest” option you’ll find on this list – we promise. It requires the use of paper and pens or pencils, but that’s about it. You can use – actually, we encourage you to use – plain, ruled paper. If you find yourself wandering into the “handmade paper pressed with dried flower petals” section of the store, then you might be crafty after all. In that event, please refer to another list.
There’s nothing like having a pen pal and receiving a handwritten letter! The joy of scratching words onto paper by hand, then placing it in an envelope, sealing it and adding a postage stamp – that is as crafty as you ever need to be. It’s the happy anticipation of waiting for the recipient to write you back, and the moment when the mail arrives and that envelope bears your handwritten name; tearing open an envelope is such a satisfying feeling. This method of communication is almost unrelatable to other current forms. But, there are many benefits to taking up this hobby.
Mostly, there is something very personal and sincere about handwritten communication. Because it ends up taking more time, there is usually more thought and care put into the message. It could also offer a chance to truly connect with someone far away, someone with a different set of experiences who took the time to write you, and isn’t likely to carelessly spout off the way some do on a social media platform. If you’re interested in finding a pen pal, there are many ways to connect through an easy web search. Or, try sending a letter to a friend or family member – they’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Become a Documentary Film Buff
There are a huge selection of documentaries available for easy viewing. These films, once obscure and difficult to find, can now be streamed on many popular sites (think Netflix, PBS, Crackle, Hulu, HBO Now … the list goes on). There are plenty showing now in theatres, as well, if you prefer a somewhat social experience.
Documentaries afford an inexpensive outlet that can be both educational and entertaining, and give you interesting things to discuss with your friends and connect with film buffs. And, If you really commit, there are documentary film festivals all over the world. In Michigan, places like Ann Arbor, Detroit, Lansing and Traverse City regularly host film festivals that include documentaries. These can be great places to connect with other viewers and stay on top of your new hobby!
Get into Podcasts
There are podcasts about everything! These digital audio files are made available for downloading from the internet, in a format similar to a radio or television show. Those who subscribe to a podcast benefit from an automatic download as soon as one is released. That means you can download whenever you have Wi-Fi, and then listen to them wherever you go. Podcasts have been around for years, but some have become extremely popular in just the last few. While media organizations like NPR and BBC have a hefty following, there are also many podcasts started by individuals. And the topics are practically endless. If you want to listen to a political conversation, or hear the unfolding of a gripping piece of fiction created for audio, there are countlesspodcasts for that. Pretty much any topic you can think of, there’s a podcast about it.
Some people say that their favorites become like their best friends … always an option if you don’t like crafts, sports, or people in your space. Also, podcasts are one of those hobbies you can push to the limit, and eventually, even make your own. It’s a rather inexpensive thing that you could start in your home, should you be so inclined.
Adopting this hobby could easily be achieved by listening to podcasts or watching documentaries. But, learning something new every day can really be a hobby enjoyed however you’d like. There’s plenty of room for your individual light to shine through. Love books? Start checking out more non-fiction, an encyclopedia or dictionary! Try Word a Day, or a similar email service, and have fresh knowledge right in your inbox daily. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of finding out the things that the people in our lives already know – friends and family are a wealth of information. Start asking questions! Love cooking? Find a new food fact every day. Try typing six random words into Google to see what the search comes up with. Or, try the “random article” option in Wikipedia. Which brings us to our next fascinating hobby:
Become a Wikipedia Editor
Have you ever used Wikipedia? While frowned upon by academia, this popular site is still a fun and sometimes useful place to begin learning about something. You could be a part of this free source of information. All you have to do is: 1) Create a Wikipedia account. 2) Familiarize yourself with the site’s main policies. 3) Begin by making edits to smaller articles. 4) Don’t get into any fights. 5) Try writing your own article. 6) If you keep at it, you will eventually become a recognized Wikipedia contributor, with all of the notoriety and bragging rights that brings. While working on a noble cause – keeping internet users properly informed – you also enjoy a hobby that makes valuable use of your free time.
Find Ways to Recycle Everything
If you’re really up for a challenge and eco-conscious, your new hobby could be to lead a “zero-waste” life. Sound impossible? Being a thoughtful shopper and finding a way to recycle or reuse everything you have can save you from tossing so much into the trash. What about things that you just don’t want anymore? There are many ways to put those things to good use.
For example, did you know that The American Birding Association accepts donated backpacks that its scientists use while tracking birds? (americanbirding.org) Old crayons? Send them to the National Crayon Recycle Program (crazycrayons.com) which melts them down to make new ones. Have old Crocs sitting around? (The shoe, not the animal.) You can melt those down,too! Just kidding – please don’t do that. But, you can drop them off through a program called Soles4Soles, which accepts all types of shoes and finds them a new home somewhere in the world. With a little research, you could spend your days living zero waste – a hobby that makes the world a better place!
Most of us know someone who is either vegan, has a food allergy, or a food intolerance (or three). Some of us know quite a few! Living without eating wheat flour and animal products can make baking almost impossible for most people. Additionally, the pre-baked gluten free/vegan products are quite pricey.
The hobby: challenge yourself to create wonderful, home baked solutions and post photos of them on Instagram. You’ll not only have the satisfaction of being your vegan or finicky-stomached friend’s favorite person in the world, you could also amass a large following of hungry vegan and allergy-addled Instagrammers. Take one example: a vegan Instagrammer whose posts have gone viral for photographing vegan deserts. That could be you, but with cookies and cakes and pies and … when you do this, please let me know!
Become a Foster Pet Parent
Do you love animals? If you do, there are so many homeless pets that the shelters and pet rescue facilities need help housing and caring for them. Also, some pets simply do not do well in a shelter, and the stress of living in a kennel becomes unhealthy for them. These include mothers, young puppies and senior pets. Some dogs would do much better in a quiet and loving temporary home until the right forever home can be found.
If you would like to make fostering pets your hobby, begin by locating the rescue organizations near you. You can even find breed-specific rescues. Next, contact them and request an application, ask all the questions you can think of, and you could be on your way to becoming a foster pet parent.
This is the classic comedy of showing up unexpectedly in someone’s photo or video. To enjoy this hobby, all you have to do is pay close attention to what’s going on around you. Wherever you go, there are usually people with their phones out, snapping pictures of others, or trying to get a fresh and interesting selfie to post along with their last three. You simply insert yourself into their photo/video. The only creative aspect is how you do it. You could casually stroll into the camera frame, appearing as though you’re oblivious to what’s going on. Or, you could be so bold as to jump in front – you’re really only limited by your own imagination and motivation.
If you’d like a hobby and these options don’t interest you, your own ingenuity could lead you to discover one all your own.