How to define yourself outside work


People frequently ask me how I have time to work on my hobbies. It’s easy – I love them so much that I make time.

Somehow, I believe that who I am and what I do outside work defines me more. I know, all the Career renegades out there will say that probably my job doesn’t satisfy me, that I should quit and do something I really love.

I’ve thought about that, but there are 2 things that hold me back:
1. The possibility that I might be not good enough to make a living out of my (current) hobbies
2. That the whole fun might be sucked out of them.

So I prefer to say that outside my work (which by the way I already really love) I:
- paint
- recently learned how to sew, and even if still a beginner, have already built half of my summer wardrobe myself
- coach
- play boardgames
- and blog (I know, I post so rarely that it could hardly be called a hobby. But you, kind reader, still stick around, don’t you? :) ┬áThank you for that.)

I believe making time for hobbies is essential for maintaining your sanity.

Because what you do outside your work really defines who you are. Because it shows your deeper needs and concerns, because it shows what is SO important to you that you’re willing to give your precious free time to it.

Did you ever find a new hobby? It’s easy.

Think about what made you happy as a kid.

Did you like to draw? Build stuff? Break stuff apart, figure out how it works, then put it back together? Play with dolls? Make up stories?

When I decided to start my sewing class, I remembered that as a child, not only did I like to draw – I drew fancy young ladies wearing intricate dresses. I dreamt about being a fashion designer, and still to this day think that the clothes I dream of can’t be found in stores.

So I decided I have to learn how to make them myself.

During my first class my sewing colleagues had machines at home, and some of them had already made clothes. I felt like an elephant in a porcelain store, not knowing how to thread a needle and how to start a sewing machine.

That weekend I spent two days figuring out how the sewing machine works and managing to even make a pillow case.

Time went by, and I made a skirt, a jacket, a pair of pants, even a shirt.
I started designing more clothes and sew some more skirts that I’m sure could not be replicated, partly because they’re amateurish, partly because I added personal touches to them.

Whenever I tell people that what I’m wearing is made by myself, they’re amazed.

“But how did you learn? How much did it take? Isn’t it difficult? Doesn’t it take much more time?”

Yes, it does. It’s difficult. Sometimes the costs are higher than buying the thing from the store.

But it’s so worth it.

I’m a clothes designer and seamstress. An artist, a painter. A cat-raiser. A fantasy gamer.

Doesn’t that sound more interesting than “corporate HR manager”?

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  • Everything 5 pounds
    November 27, 2012

    I like your tips Maria, you are truly a great writer.

  • Maria
    November 29, 2012

    Thank you! :)

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