Tell me about your offbeat hobbies!

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My spouse and I are sunk deep in the why-am-I-working-here-blues. Whenever our lows coincide like this, our household becomes a miserable depression sinkhole. This time around, I’d like to have something to get us out of our apartment (difficult for one introvert and one person with anxiety issues), and I keep coming back to hobbies.

But I’m stuck! We can’t agree on any of the regular crop of hobbies and activities — crafting, collecting, yoga, fishing… Basically, hobbies that give us too much time inside our own heads haven’t worked for us. And I think it’ll take something really amazing and different for us to pluck up the courage to leave our hidey-hole.

You guys are always full of surprising, fantastic ideas and projects (seriously, how do you come up with them?!); there’s just got to be some great extra-work-ular activities out there! Any ideas?

Care to share any beekeeping… pottery-throwing… long-boarding… car-camping… personal experiences? -ErinSue

Comments on Tell me about your offbeat hobbies!

  1. When I moved to a small town I was so worried about not meeting people and not having anything to do. The crowd at my work told me that they were in dart league at one of the pubs. So I joined. It was so much fun! Darts is not very physically demanding and while you are waiting for your turn, you socialize and have a few drinks and cheer on your team mates. It got me out of the house, even in the winter – which is difficult because of the snow and how freaking COLD it is!
    And I met 2 of my best friends at dart league!

  2. Foraging. It’s like fishing in terms of free food, but it doesn’t involve as much slime. It’s hiking with a goal and a built-in snack! You don’t have to live in the wilderness, either. Two good starter books: Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons (the seminal work on the subject, and written truly lovingly) and The Neighborhood Forager by Robert Handerson, who provides a more suburban approach.
    Food! Botany! History! Free Stuff!

  3. I’m coming late to this and there are a lot of comments, so forgive me if this has been stated before, but my husband and I just discovered woodworking. Generally, he builds stuff and we decide how to decorate it together. You’re in an apartment so doing larger pieces of furniture likely won’t work, but things like bird houses and keepsake boxes do.

    Also, don’t know where you live, but we just discovered abandoned barn hunting. We live in a rural farming area that’s being converted to housing developments so there’s some time between when the occupants move out and the builders come in to demolish things. We just kind of walk around the property and take pictures of the old buildings and imagine what life was like for the farmers/animals that used to live there. It’s so much fun. πŸ™‚

  4. I’d say pretty much anything active sounds like what you need. As an introvert with anxiety issues, I’ve found that physically DOING something really helps me when I’m getting down in the doldrums like that. It lets me focus on something other than my problems, PLUS you get endorphins… which make you happier. Something as simple as hiking, biking, running, etc. might fit the bill, (there are groups/clubs that do all of those things together, so maybe you could join one together to make yourselves be more social and motivate you to stick with it). Some people earlier suggested things like roller derby or various types of dancing, and those would be great too! The key is to find something you actually enjoy, otherwise it’s not going to help and you’re not going to keep it up.

    Volunteering for a cause you believe in could help too. You’ll be focused on helping others, and it might help put things in perspective when you start feeling down on yourselves. What sort of issues inspire you or get you fired up? Most nonprofits have ongoing volunteer programs where you come in for a few hours each week to do a specific job, depending on your skills and interests.

    Also, be open to possibly finding different hobbies from your spouse. You’re different people with different interests and needs… and it can be nice to go do something you love separately every now and then. If you find something you love to do together, great! But don’t get so focused on finding something both of you love desperately that you miss out on activities that one or the other of you might love on your own.

  5. I have totally signed up for geo-caching thanks to this post! Can’t wait to get started and get me and Mr. Soup out of the house! I’ve been wanting to do more physical activity, but having a goal will make an ordinary hike so much more appealing.

    I’m an introvert with anxiety issues too. And it is so easy to just stick close to home. I love to garden, craft, and decorate. I find the focused work and creative outlets soothing to my soul. However I do crave using my body more. I love to hula hoop and the Mr. and I are talking about signing up for swing classes. His biggest hobby these days is Rally Cross. Similar to Auto Cross (mentioned up-thread) except it is on a dirt course. I don’t drive any races (yet) but even just riding along with him is a great deal of fun! We’ve met some great new people… and let’s be honest driving fast is a great stress reliever!

  6. One thing I’ve gotten into over the past year is the steampunk community. It’s a wonderful conglomeration of dancing, costuming, history nerding, scifi/fantasy, makers/tinkerers…everything. It’s got everything. And most of the people are really nice. One of the greatest things about steampunk is that there’s no canon, so you can’t do it wrong. And it’s impossible to over-do, also. You literally cannot have too many accessories or layers or shiny bits.

  7. Not sure if this has already been said because I didn’t read all of the comments, but for me it’s brewery and winery touring. Yes it revolves around drinking, but once you get into the nuances of microbrew and wine it can be really fun to explore and learn about the unique drinks that are out there! Also, when you go to “tastings,” it isn’t like you’re getting raging drunk. And it gets you out of the house πŸ™‚ Micro-distilleries are also becoming popular, so if you enjoy drinking, I’d suggest exploring your local options.

    Also, if you are not athletically inclined, you could join wine or beer clubs that have social events and gatherings which could be fun. I have an injury and can’t play sports, so the “athletic hobbies” aren’t an option for me, but I’m all about my book club and wine clubs!

  8. My first thought was remote control helicopters. It was a gift for Mr. Mints, and we sometimes go to the park to play. We bought a set of two that “battle” so it’s a set actIvity for a little while. It’s nice because it’s low-pressure (not really competitive) and also because when depression black holes suck everything in, it didn’t seem so daunting to just go play helicopters for a bit. It’s slightly active (those helicopters are FAST and I chase them around).
    Also you could easily beef up the hobby part by collecting different models or tinkering/building with the electronics.
    It’s fun

    • That sounds like a blast! We were going to try model rockets but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

    • Model transport all the way. I have just got a model helicopter and it is great fun. I also love model trains and cars. They are great because they require a little concentration and you can have loads of fun creating different layouts, collecting different pieces and just playing. It is great because you can do these by yourself and not have much interaction with others, or you can go to the local club and talk to others that are interested. It means you can be sociable if you are up to it but dont have too.

  9. I enjoy watercolor painting. You might think it’s too conducive to getting stuck in your own head, but I find it really challenging, as I’m constantly thinking about how best to replicate natural light patterns. It forces me to really pay attention to details of the things I’m trying to paint, and it gives me a great break from thinking about job-related (grad school) stress. Take classes to meet people–it’s nice to meet new people even if you don’t plan to be lifelong friends with them.

    I also make terrariums, growing mosses and plants in anything from recycled salsa jars to fancy glass containers. I spend a lot of time hunting for containers I like, planning what plants to put together to achieve the look I like, monitoring the health of my existing terrariums, and looking for neat things to add to each terrarium (little plastic dinosaurs, etc). It’s a great excuse to get outside into nature to look for inspiration, too!

  10. I used to do theatrical fencing back in college. It was a lot of fun and we were invited to do shows at places that varied from Haunted Houses to Ren Faires.

    One of my favorite hobbies, wine tasting, is actually how my husband and I met. It is a lot of fun because you get to try new things and meet new people. We had a group that would meet semi-regularly and do tasting or pairing parties. People would bring wines and foods ranging from kangaroo to fruit roll-ups. Most of us were nerds of some variety as well so we had more than just wine in common. There is nothing quite so fun as mixing hobbies – like say wine tasting and video games.

    Trivia or specifically bar trivia is another hobby we enjoy. I find I think better when I have something to eat and drink. Lots of bars and restaurants have trivia nights now. Or you can grab your friends and do your own trivia nights.

    My last suggestion is science experiments (my husband and I have done mini-science dates that start with science experiments). Why let the kids get the fun experiments? Grab some things around your house and have fun. We did non-Newtonian fluids, Mentos and coke, and some kids science kits. The internet is full of suggested experiments to try or hit up the library. No lab reports required. πŸ™‚

    • My son and I have been doing science experiments recently and it’s SO MUCH FUN! I bought him some books with science experiments in them, and some of the projects are super fun. We’ve even made up some cool experiments. It’s really exciting. I love the feeling of discovering something new, but even more, I love when my son says “oh! So that is why this happens!” And applies his knowledge gained from the experiment elsewhere. It’s so cool!

  11. I started playing adult sports- i.e. kickball and dodgeball this past summer after my divorce. I had never played either before, but now they’re my favorite- absolutely no skill required, I joined a league meant for “independent” adults (i.e. you don’t need a team), we go to a bar after to socialize, and it’s active.

    I’ve since joined more mainstream sports teams including flag football and volleyball, but I’ll be forever grateful to my first kickball team that got me moving again and feeling like a kid.

  12. Knife and axe throwing. It’s a fun hobby and can be an inexpensive start-up cost as well as easily picked up and put down when life dictates it. Really only need a set of knives or an axe and a target. I like cutting rounds from fallen trees for targets, not much of a fan of a plywood target. Space and safety are big components too.

    I also love volunteering. I’m a Rover Advisor with Scouts Canada (aged 18-26). The youth are so much fun and you meet so many different people.

  13. I love glass bead making. You use a little torch and it’s so fun to just watch the molten glob of glass that you’re shaping. Look for lampworking classes. It’s different from glass blowing because you’re working on a smaller scale and you don’t need a partner.

    A really great and cheap hobby is embroidery. It’s so relaxing.

    My husband and I love to hike together, and take trips to hiking destinations.

    I also like to knit and read. I don’t crochet much but it’s great for making blankets, which you can then give away to pet shelters or children’s hospitals. You can use inexpensive acrylic yarn, and if you hate what you made, you can just rip it out and turn it back into yarn.

    I agree with all the folks who suggested learning a new language. When I get bored with my job then I need to learn a new job-related skill to get re-engaged. I’m a nurse, so I’ll get additional certifications and take classes about treatments that I don’t know much about.

  14. It’s becoming less and less offbeat, but soapmaking is my biggest offbeat hobby. The next one would probably be the one I’m starting this year, learning how to play the ocarina that my husband bought me for Christmas. I’d love to have cosplaying as an offbeat hobby, but my budget just doesn’t include that right now.

  15. Karate! It’s amazing for so many different reasons… It’s fun, great exercise, a definite self confidence boost, helps balance and coordination, and hey, self defense!

    My boyfriend and I have just started taking swing dancing lessons, cook something super gourmet at least once a week, ski and snowboard, and are looking forward to snowshoeing again this winter!

  16. I play trombone in a 1920s jazz band. I am a truly authentic flapper (a girl, playing trombone, playing jazz!, in the 1920s would be incredibly risquΓ©) when I do this and love every minute of it!

  17. Mermaiding. Okay, so I haven’t officially gotten started yet, but since I discovered it, it’s been my focus.

    Mermaiding (although men and women both do this- mermen are becoming more common) is sort of a mix between cosplay and athleticism. We all tend to have a serious love for the ocean and aquatics in general. It tends to include the practice free diving and breath techniques, swimming with a monofin, and graduating to wearing a tail at some point. Some make their own tails, and some buy them- fabric, neoprene, and silicone tails are worn, swam in, and for those who are professionally mermaiding, performing in these tails for everything from kids’ parties to aquariums and specialized bars and fantasy events. There have been few get-togethers, such as Merfest in NC, and there are a few more planned in other places.

    Since I have the tiniest budget to live on, and don’t have the skills or the materials needed for a tail, and no current access to a pool, I’m in the planning stages to get all that. But it’s been a really positive focus, gets me out of my head, and is totally possible if I seriously apply myself – which is important because a lot of what I’ve loved is just not in my realm of possibility due to expenses and certain limitations I won’t go into. This hobby does mean saving a lot of money at first, and then making myself go out of my comfort zone. I’m ridiculously shy and don’t socialize well, but if I want to practice free diving breathing techniques, I’ll have to take a class. In addition, I have asthma, and the breathing techniques could strengthen my lungs.

    Also, my boyfriend is totally supportive of my love of mermaiding- he’d never heard of it before he met me. And it doesn’t hurt that he loves to see how happy the pursuit of the hobby makes me.

  18. I recently became inspired by my mother in law’s amazing yarn collection, and decided to teach myself how to knit. It’s pretty popular nowadays with the arrival of books like “Stitch n Bitch” and cute little yarn shops everywhere, and it’s so easy to learn new stitches on youtube. If you decide to take up this awesome craft/art form/post-apocolyptic life skill, be forewarned: people will say you look like a granny while you’re knitting (I still haven’t figured out what’s wrong with that, PLUS I’ve made new badass knitting friends!) but then when they see your awesome work, they’ll turn on a dime and ask for one! πŸ™‚

  19. Thanks for sharing your story! It can be so difficult if you have anxiety issues or you’re a bit of an introvert, to just get out there and start doing something fun instead of sitting around the house. Try joining some of the local arts and crafts groups to meet new people. There’s lots of drawing, painting and sculpting classes in most towns and it’s something you can do together to give each other support if you’re feeling a little anxious.

  20. I’m the queen of random hobbies — (In fact, I tend to have the opposite problem. I have so many hobbies that my “real life” priorities take a backseat sometimes.)

    My husband and I have a lot of similar hobbies that we do together, and since so much of our lives revolve around each other, It’s quite refreshing for us each to have a hobby that we can enjoy separately.

    I just recently joined a large multicultural choir in our town. It’s 80+ people, from a variety of ages and demographics. (Though, at 27, I’m one of the youngest members). I joined the choir with a girl friend of mine, and our husbands play D&D together on the same night.

    Community theatres are always looking for actors, but many times they need set designers/costumers, volunteers, etc…

    On that note, acting/improvisation classes can be really fun!

  21. Bad movies, bad music: We get together with friends over coffee and watch the worst B movies we can find, and listen to dreadful music. We laugh for hours and occasionally find an undiscovered gem.

    • My friends and I do bad movies too, on occasion! We made it through all five Twilight movies and decided they were pretty hilarious and that it was an overall enjoyable experience. However, after suffering through the Star Wars Holiday Special, I thought it was completely irredeemably bad such that it went waaay beyond “so bad it’s good” territory. Have you and your friends done that one? I’m curious about your opinion on where it falls in the badness spectrum, since you have a lot more to compare it to. And what you would consider the worst movie you’ve ever seen!

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