Thursday Thoughts: The Perpetual Optimist and the Ocean of Hobby-like Pursuits


I enjoy being busy. Really busy. I work a full-time job, my husband is a full-time student and part-time employee, and I have three kids. I like to cook and I have a fairly neat home. To-do lists and planners are my bae. Then there is my Ocean of Hobby-like Pursuits: reading, blogging, letter-writing, baking, cooking, embroidery, crochet, knitting, crafts, thrifting, volunteer work, and journaling. I like to busy. Really, really busy. There is so much more I want to do: gardening, hiking, quilting, jam-making, animal-saving, collecting, traveling….. There is just so much to do. My husband doesn’t understand my incessant need to always do and he hates when I get in a funk because I am sick or tired or lazy and I don’t do anything put stare at the wall and sit. It feels like a waste of time to just sit, but I know it isn’t. I just enjoy the thrill of making, doing, completing…. it makes me feel like my life has a purpose and direction outside of being a wife, mother, and employee. I am doing something that springs from myself, from things I want to do for me. I just feel the brevity of life pressing in on me from all sides. At the end of my life, I will be happy reflecting on books read, my hands kneading bread, the feel of yarn draped across my fingers. Yes,being a mother and wife is so important to my identity, but I have that stubborn, solitary streak that wants to exist independently of others. Oh yes, the introvert’s need for a “rich inner life.”

I credit my need for busyness with effectively managing chronic depression (for the most part). I get wildly depressed every spring and summer, but autumn and winter are periods of happiness. Note, that I say manage my depression. It is still there — although right now is my happy time of year I am aware that in the spring I’ll be back to moody — but I always have something motivating me. There I times when I feel like the worst wife and mother, but I’ve learned not to base my self-worth off of how I may or may not fail people. I know that it is the dreadful internal perfectionist talking. Instead I try to positively motivate myself. For the longest time, I knew I wouldn’t die until I had read all of the Harry Potter books. It didn’t matter how awful I thought I failed at life, there was another book in the series and I had to keep chugging along for that. Now, when things seem bad I can focus on how I really want to make a pie crust that is tender and flaky without falling apart, or how one day I will learn to properly read a knitting pattern, or how I want to read every Virago Modern Classic, or how I am going to write a novel some day.

Yes, I am going to write a novel. Since I was eight years-old I’ve wanted to write a novel. I have no time for writing a novel right now. It is ridiculous to even think that I could begin to write a novel. It will be written. It may take me 30 years, it may never be read by anyone but myself, but it will be done. That is my big push and that is what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m going to start. I’ve signed up for Nanowrimo for November and my goal is to achieve shitty-first draft status (Thanks, Anne Lamott).

My husband groaned when I told him my goal. He knows I’ll complain that I can’t finish everything. I’ll wail that my knitting is stalled because I’m writing or my writing is stalled because I’m reading. That’s okay with me. I love the energy that surges with starting something new and exciting and I thrill at the prospect of one day finishing and moving on to the Next Big Thing.

I’ve talked about how on bad days or when depression hits it is small, perfect project that keeps me going. Oh but the good days are so much better with productivity. I am the perpetual optimist. At one point in time — many years ago — I thought the power would be cut off because of some unemployment issues. No worries! We’ll break out candles and knit blankets and cuddle in a big heap! That was actually when I took up knitting. In hindsight I know that I’m a slow, pitiful knitter and if the power was cut it would have been miserable. But still, the reckless optimism was exhilarating and I had a new hobby! The power wasn’t cut off and my days were much cozier for having plenty of bright bits of yarn around and a project to do while Hope did homework at night. I leveled up, so to speak.

Looking back at this post it doesn’t seem to make sense. I lack a strong thesis and effective transitions between thoughts and all of that other important writerly goobly-goop. I suppose the function of this post is to declare that I have plenty to do, but I crave more, because doing things makes my life immeasurably rich.

The second function was to announce that I’m attempting Nanowrimo but without seeming like it was some sort of Grand Announcement with Expectations. Are you attempting Nanowrimo? Let me know and we can scribble busily together all November!




  1. Good luck with the novel writing!

    I collect hobbies too; right now I’m looking for a violin teacher. And working on my baking: I WILL master yeast breads. And then I’ve ordered a sewing pattern so I can try sewing a dress & hopefully sew more of my wardrobe. Oh and there are those two cross-stitch kits I got for Christmas calling my name…and I really need to pick up my drop spindle again, which I learned how to use for my birthday in April and then had to give up practicing in a Texan summer because the wool kept felting from my ‘dewy’ hands.

    Because you know, cooking, non-bread baking, knitting, reading, dog training, photography, blogging, walking, learning to identify local species of plants & animals on my walks…clearly not enough. LOL

    1. Oh that cracks me up! I love the honesty in your comment. Don’t we all have a little of this collection of hobbies? And if someone doesn’t I wonder about them. Cause having too many hobbies is normal, right? lol

  2. Good luck on your novel writing for NaNoWriMo! I love the idea of shitty first draft. I’m trying it again this year too. Maybe if I keep that thought in my head “shitty first draft” I will actually finish. Do you already have a rough idea of what you are writing?

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