remnants of a past life (note 1)

Adopting a new hobby, one that entails no creation of anything new

remnants of a past life (note 1)
Photo by Linh Pham on Unsplash

I don't have a hobby.

Writing used to be my hobby back when I had a day job or when D was a little infant. But now writing is what I do for a living, so I no longer consider it a hobby.

Reading, also, I don't consider as a hobby even though I read a whole lot. Reading makes me a better writer, so I put the two in the same basket of learning and improving my craft while deriving great fun and enjoyment from it.

When D is at home, I hang out with him. (Or worry about not working and moan about having to hang out with him and not being able to write. 🙁)

When D is away at school, once I've gotten my writing and reading done, I'm usually mostly wasting my time on the Internet.

Reading what other writers have written, listening to what they say on YouTube videos, wondering how to improve my productivity so I can write more and sell more. Or checking email a hundred times. Like I said, wasting time on the Internet.

I've started many things — paint by numbers (I bought a series of six small paintings and D took such great interest in it, he finished four of them in a single day! KrA finished one that day. And the one that I had started, I'm yet to complete it!)

I started to hand-knit a blanket for D two years ago. He's been growing, and I feel I'd never be able to build a large enough blanket, so that too is a suspended project.

I once bought a cross-stitch kit. It didn't hold my interest for long, and eventually I put it in a donation bin.

What else? Last year I tried my hand at gardening, and realized I didn't care much for it either. The weeds are way too persistent and resilient for me to be able to keep up with them! KrA did the bulk of the work, and I reckon it's something he's looking forward to this year as well. I'm happy to assist him (in the most minimal way possible.)

I cook. Occasionally. KrA is the main chef at home, keeping us all well fed. Once in a while, usually for Wednesday dinners or the occasional weekend meal, I saunter into the kitchen to cook and not just to eat or make coffee.

I don't care much for 'making' more things. There are already plenty of material things in the world, and apart from writing and publishing books (even if both ebooks and paperbacks), I don't feel drawn to creating more material things to let run amok in this world.

But off late, I've been feeling depressed about the sameness of life, the monotony of the daily grind. It's all been a bit heavy, dragging me down.

We deep-clean our home once every fortnight. Cleaning the bathroom is my domain. I love it when the toilet goes back to being sparkling clean. It is a very satisfying feeling. But I don't intend to undertake this cleaning more often though.

So coming back to having a hobby, I didn't want anything that involved screens and kept me isolated either. I felt the need to work with something real, something tangible, something in which I could get to talk to people, in person, in real life, even if only for a brief period of time.

And then an idea struck me last evening.

I don't know where the brilliant idea came from, but I decided to head to the basement and start decluttering.

Not right away. Not all in one go. But slowly. One little thing at a time.

There were two sets of items that came to mind that I've been wanting to dispose of ... I've been wanting to clear them out for the past seven years or longer!

I came up with a plan for how I'd spend this day after my morning writing sprints and walk with KrA.

When we came back from our walk this morning, KrA made his legendary fried rice, while I enlisted his help to bring up (1) D's stroller and (2) his high chair, which have been sitting untouched in our basement for as long as we've lived in this house!

The stroller was a generous gift from KrA's brother when D was born. D made good use of it until he was about 4 months old. After that, he refused to be caged in it and instead chose to view the world from the vantage point of my arms. Wrapped in a sling, we'd go for long walks together, and his tiny head would bob this way and that, as he took in the sights and sounds of the world around him.

We made good use of the high chair until D was about a year and a half or so. We certainly didn't use it when we moved to Burlington, almost six years ago now. D used to climb on to the barstools at the kitchen island instead.

We brought them up from the basement. I wiped everything down. Both were in pretty great condition; the stroller especially was as good as new, not having been used much.

A stroller and a high chair
D's Bugaboo Bee 3 stroller and high chair. Thank you for the good times. ❤️

After lunch, KrA loaded them into the car and I drove up to Once Upon A Child, where they inspected the items and paid me some cash for them. On the way back home, I went to the bank and deposited the money in an account we recently opened for D.

Back home now, with a great sense of accomplishment.

And also a little sadness, at this transition.

We don't expect to have another baby in this home. Even though I used to wish otherwise until very recently — that longing for another child would simply pop up out of nowhere — it's a decision that I've come to accept over the years.

I'm not getting any younger. Besides, knowing my own bandwidth and how much I could possibly manage, I've come to accept that looking after D and providing him with a happy childhood is the best I can do.

I'm grateful for him; he was after all a child we hadn't planned for. And he was the best baby ever; never any fuss or tantrum. I remember being a wonderfully conscious parent to him, especially in his younger years.

But over the past couple of years, I really haven't been very kind, neither to myself nor to KrA or D. I complained a lot. Moaned about my in-laws a lot.

I'd message my mom in the middle of the night and rant to her about how unfair it was that I didn't have a job and an income and that we had to look after D all by ourselves, so far away from relatives, in a place where we didn't have any real friends. And somehow in those messages, I'd end up yelling at her and blaming her for my tough circumstances.

I really don't know who I had become. This person with no joy, nothing to look forward to, not interested in anything except making money. Except that kind of thinking only kept me paralyzed from writing more and with greater joy.

I used to moan a lot to KrA about how we've got all these jobs to do around the house, clean up our home, fix stuff, get rid of clutter.

And my default stance was always that he ought to be doing the bulk of the stuff because he was the salaried one after all, whereas I earned only as much as I wrote and sold, which meant that I ought to be devoting every waking hour of every day writing and selling my books and ignoring every other aspect of my life, and I'd be able to do that if only he'd get his act together, and so on and so on.

You can imagine how encouraging that pep talk was for KrA.

These past few days, something has been shifting in me. I no longer want to be the person pointing fingers at others, wishing that other people in my life were different, blaming myself and everyone else for this stuck-ness I've been feeling for a long, long time.

I recently came to realize that aiming for two writing sprints in the morning is a sweet spot for me right now in my creative life. Any less, and I don't feel I've made much progress. Any more, and I find I pushed myself way too hard and end up needing the next couple of days off (which would only make me more mad about all the missed time and opportunity).

This leaves me with a lot of time to do stuff. And I'm taking on things I've never done before.

D's baby gear was one set of items I wanted to pass on. There's another set of items that's waiting for my attention. I've had these things for more than a decade now, mostly in storage much of this time.

When I've gotten around to passing them on, hopefully in the next few days or couple of weeks, I'll come here and write about it.

To be continued ...