The thing about hobbies


I remember flopping down on my bed a few years ago, wracking my brain trying to think of ways to occupy my time other than eating, drinking and taking bubble baths. When you’re in your late 20’s and don’t have anything to do with your time outside of work other than think about work or think about how depressing it is that you’re thinking about work, you know it’s time to make some sort of lifestyle change. At the above-mentioned moment, I decided that my new hobby was going to be…dun dun DUN…fitness.

I followed all the right Instagram accounts, downloaded meal prep plans and spent far more money than I would like to admit here on a personal trainer. A few months and thousands of dollars later (yeah, I’m not kidding, I said thousands…), I was no more fit or happy than I had been that day on my bed. Lifting heavy was just making me more hungry and, although the meal plan was pretty delicious, I would come home from a workout and carbo-load like it was nobody’s business. Also, for two weeks straight I couldn’t lift my arms past shoulder-height. I decided that the personal trainer was hurting me more than he was helping me (physically and monetarily). This wasn’t the soulmate fitness regimen that I was looking for.

OK, so maybe that attempt at a hobby was a bust, I told myself. But the world was my freaking oyster and I was determined to find more activities and interests that made me happy.

Over the years, other obsessions have come and gone. There was that one time I tried to learn how to read Tarot cards, or that other time I went on a month-long hot yoga binge (I still love you, hot yoga, just not everyday), and then there was that time I thought that one-stroke painting was going to be “MY THING!”. All of those things were fun for the moment, but not something I felt any passion to stick with long-term. I learned little bits here and there that I keep in my back pocket, but I’m pretty sure that I haven’t picked up a paintbrush or done a Celtic Cross spread in years.

And that’s something I’m realizing about hobbies.They’re not always just these things we can decide on a whim we want to do and automatically be good at. They’re skills and activities that we have true, vested interest in that we need to take time to hone. To really put our all into and not worry about how good or bad we are at it. Hobbies are things that we do because we love them, not because they’re what we excel at. If that were the case, then my only hobbies would be shopping on Amazon, eating cheese and blowing out my hair (#noshame).

Instead, a lot of my hobbies now are things that I have really grown to love over the years and don’t truly get tired of. I mean, of course working out everyday can be a drag, and sometimes I find it difficult to come up with a topic to write about, or other times the soap I make crumbles to bits and I have to start over again, but that’s OK. Because at the core of it, a hobby should be something that fulfills you and makes you feel like a more well-rounded version of yourself.

I look around at the people in my life and am in awe of some of their hobbies. Those amazing chefs and those musical souls are what make me strive to follow my dreams. I know it may sound cheesy, but without seeing how devoted my boyfriend is to music and getting some encouragement from him, I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now.

So, here are some things about hobbies.

  1. They come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t be ashamed of what your hobby may look like. (YES, binge-watching Netflix can definitely count as a hobby!)
  2. They bring you happiness and fulfill a little piece of you that you may not have even known needed fulfilling.
  3. They’re there for you when you need them and give you a sense of purpose. If not purpose, then they at least give you a sense of life beyond the four walls of your workplace or home.
  4. Whatever it is, you have to keep at it because when you do more of what makes you happy, you get *surprise surprise* happier!

So get out there, or stay in if that’s where your hobby lives, and have FUN. I know that I’m going to spend this snow day getting some much-needed soap making time in. ‘Til next time!



I know…I’ll start a blog!

I vividly remember being 12 years old, sitting in front of my Gateway computer (super trendy for it’s time) and deciding I was going to be an author. I had looooong been a big Babysitter’s Club and R.L. Stine fan, and creating characters with exciting stories and lavish lifestyles made me giddy. I would write for hours on end – before school in the morning, as soon as I got home, even on the weekends. It was enthralling. I finished my first “book” in 12 hours, waited patiently on the steps while my dad read it, and continued to write well into my college years.

And then, somewhere along the way, I stopped.

Life got busy, graduate school had me going like crazy and I lost that excitement about writing that once had me so invested in the process. It took time and effort and mental energy that I just didn’t feel like exerting. When I came home at night, I wanted to get my workout in and relax, not beat myself up over a sentence that didn’t sound perfect or a tone that I just couldn’t get right.

Truthfully, though, I miss it. I really do. I miss being able to put my thoughts down on paper and have an outlet. My creative juices have been dry for far too long and this is my opportunity to bring them back. So, that being said…here it is. My introduction to the blog life.

Dirty Jersey has been an idea I’ve had for over a year now. At first, I wanted to make it a soap company (except that I’m currently still in the process of perfecting the whole soap-making thing). So, that’s on the backburner for now. Hopefully, this blog opens up that opportunity, but until then, I decided to do more of what makes me happy and use Dirty Jersey as a way to work through the soap-making process and add in some other Amanda and Jersey-related things along the way. A new recipe I’ve been dying to try? I’ll post it here. A new brewery? I’m there. A hip street fair? I’m in. A cool concert? I’m down.

So continue to join me. I’m sure the blog will grow and evolve along the way!