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    My overall conclusion this month is that a fun hobby can make all the difference.  In fact, a fun hobby can be a truly rewarding and life changing area of self development.  I say this, because this has been my experience this last month.

    To explore hobbies this month, I actually started working towards my new hobby at the end of last year, and it came to fruition this month.  Hobbies have been an area of struggle for me previously as I had injunctions against being free enough to make the time to have a hobby and having the belief that it really would add value for me and not use up time I would otherwise have been wasting by procrastinating and doing nothing.

    In an effort to practice what I preach and continuous self development, I decided, (in my typical style), to jump in with both feet and try something completely new and different, acting.  Now I confess, this has been one of those weird life situations where everything came together at once.  I found a theatre group- lovely, warm and friendly, went to an audition (just to see what it’s about), ended up reading and being given the lead part!  Well, in these situations I believe the old adage  ‘well it would be rude not to’ applies.  So I jumped on board with both feet and after many weeks of rehearsals, spent the first 11 nights in May treading the boards every night in a two hour play.

    So where does FUN come into this.  Well, apart from the play being a tragic comedy, I approached the whole experience with a sense of fun (one that admittedly, sometimes got me into ‘trouble’ in rehearsals!) and enjoyment.  I met new people and had to get stuck in from day one, and this is perhaps my biggest take away from the whole experience.  If you want to have fun at something, you want to feel included and be a part of something bigger than you, then get stuck in.  Smile, listen, ask questions, laugh at yourself for mistakes and efforts and above all, be kind and before you know it, you will fit right in and have a new hobby and new people in your life.

    Did having a new hobby leave me feeling guilty that I should be doing other ‘more important thing’.  Honestly, no.  This was important to me and so I had to find a way to manage my other responsibilities so that I could fit everything in.  The main reason I didn’t have a sense of guilt, was because everyday I could see what my new hobby was adding for me rather than taking away.

    I appreciate that having acting as a new hobby is in essence a type of play and therefore its connections to FUN are apparent, however, it can also be very demanding and tiring (don’t get me started on learning lines!) and being in a play in a significant and time consuming commitment.

    After this experience, do I think going to the gym, socialising and cooking are hobbies?  Perhaps for some, but for others they are a chore and this is were honesty comes in.  We need to be honest with ourselves about what we really enjoy and what are our chores.  Exercise, eating and being with others are all essential to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health but that doesn’t mean they are hobbies.  To me, a hobby is something that takes you outside of your normal life, and allows you to explore new parts of your personality and develop new strengths, and this is why I think hobbies are a vital part of our happiness.  

    I also believe that hobbies can really help us build confidence, because as we get to explore who we are in different situations, we develop a greater sense of self, and enable ourselves to take another step closer to being the best version of ourselves we can be.  Confidence is always the reward at the end of that equation.

    So if hobbies bring us happiness and help us build our knowledge of self, and think and feel more confidently about who we are and what we have to offer the world, then what role does FUN play?  Well FUN is the required mindset you need to be able to start a hobby in the first place.  FUN is an open, learning mindset that see’s a hobby as just that, something to try and see what you learn.  It doesn’t have to be life changing or something that you spend every waking minute wishing you were doing instead.  A hobby is in addition to you everyday life, and something that brings value to you, and a sense of FUN  and laughter is hopefully your reward.

    So I invite you to think outside the box, explore the internet for local groups and try out as many new and different hobbies as you can and see what each one teaches you.

    And above all, HAVE FUN!

    Lydia x

    P.S.  If you prefer the audio experience then click here to watch my YouTube post all  about how hobbies and fun can help to you too build your confidence and happiness by adding value to your life.

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