Leisure Time

Hobbies.  Do you have one?  Seems like an odd topic for a post from a physician but bear with me, k?

I never really had a hobby.  I was too busy studying my ass off in high school, then university and throughout my graduate studies, to get into medical school.  But once I got in, during my spare time when I wasn’t studying, or partying with my new friends, I found I was kind of bored.  One of my girlfriends in medical school was into painting and horticulture, among other things.  My apartment was kind of lifeless, so she got me started with some household tropicals, terracotta pots and gave me a paintbrush.  It was a lot of fun and for many years thereafter, I amassed quite a collection of potted plants!

While I was visiting this girlfriend at her family’s home, her mother was crocheting.  I remembered my mom doing a lot of needlepoint while I was growing up, her designs were all over the walls of our house.  Watching my friend’s mother crocheting, I thought, “I should learn something like that”.  So, she tried to teach me  how to crochet, and well, I sucked at it.  It just wasn’t for me. My hands cramped up and I just couldn’t figure it out.  So, off we went to the local arts and crafts store (Michael’s) and we wandered up and down the aisles.  Something caught my eye – a cute little orange cat sitting on a blue chair and above was the writing, “Home Is Where The Cat Is”.   Eurkea!  “I want to try that!”, I exclaimed.  I picked out a counted cross stitch kit, my girlfriend’s mother showed me how to start, and I was hooked.

I have done quite a few kits since that first one, and almost all of them are cat-themed.  The two outliers are the ones I did for my children.  Cross stitching, for me, is like meditation.  I find it incredibly relaxing.  After a busy day at the office, it’s the only chance I get to shut my brain off for a while.  I find the counting and repetitive action of stitching very, very therapeutic.  I’m sure my eyes are not going to be happy with me in a few years; I’m certain I’ll need “cross stitching glasses” in the near future!!

All this is to say that I believe having a hobby is important.  It doesn’t matter what it is, we should all have something in our life that doesn’t involve work, spouses, or children.   It was often stressed in medical school that we live balanced lives as physicians.   Part of living a balanced life is having a life separate from work, separate from spouse, separate from children.  Please don’t misunderstand me – I don’t mean living a separate life.  I mean having something that is completely your own, something that you do on your own for your own sake.  Sounds selfish, right?  Well, it is.  If you don’t look out for your own well-being, who will?

Cross stitching helps keep me calm, sane, happy.

How about you?

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