Get a Hobby, People

As is custom each January, Instagram celebrities are selling you their juice cleanses and you’re getting dozens of join-our-gym-TODAY flyers shoved under your door. Then on the other end of the spectrum you’ve got old high school friends masquerading as self-help gurus/life coaches on Facebook telling you to just chill out man, resolutions are garbage and you are a perfectly special snowflake just as you are.

All those people are terrible. Don’t listen to them because both their extremes are wrong. Will you be a totally different person by the end of 2016? No. Does that mean you shouldn’t try to improve on things and challenge yourself? Of course not.

What happened to evenhanded, rational thinking? You don’t need to do twelve triathlons in twelve months, but you should try to push yourself out of your comfort zone. You don’t have to finally break free from fear, FOR GOOD, but you shouldn’t hibernate indefinitely, either. Instead, you should do some stuff, try some new things, and explore your interests. And what better way to do that than with a new hobby? Yoga and book clubs are so 2015. Try something fun, different, and totally 2016. By the way, did you know January is National Hobby Month? It is so get to it!

Solve the Making a Murderer Murder. Quit your job, shirk all responsibilities and dive head first into the Making a Murderer reddit thread and Solve. That. Crime. Exonerate Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey and become our national treasure.

Air Guitar. It’s possible you dabbled in air guitar as a teen Warrant fan, and later cast those skills aside in the name of “adulthood.” Well what did adulthood give you other than a mortgage and a sometimes crippling depressive disorder? Throw caution to the wind and get to practicing because this could be you someday, participating in the Air Guitar World Championships.

Celebrity Death Hoaxing. You know how every so often you see a headline confirming that Morgan Freeman or Matt Damon or Anjelica Huston is indeed still alive? Those celebrity death rumors have to come from somewhere. Why not you?

Butchery. Hipsters and their really dumb mustaches have taken to learning homesteading and trades in the past few years and their new trend du jour isbutchery classes. It sounds quite awful, but if you eat meat, you might as well get to know it before dining.

Ukulele. Do you want to be insufferable at parties or do find yourself chilling out to a traditional Hawaiian music Pandora station quite often? Then the ukulele is for you!  There’s a whole online community dedicated to providing “ukelele friendly” renditions of virtually any music you could think of. Say what you want but I feel you haven’t really heard Slayer’s “Angel of Death” until you hear it played on a ukelele.  

Duct Tape Crafting. Traditional crafting too mainstream for you? Don’t like the vibe in your local Michaels? Take your crafting to the next level by limiting yourself to one supply: the mighty and versatile roll of duct tape. You can makea lot of crazy stuff.

Dog Grooming. Do you find watching someone get their hair cut hypnotic? Do you also like dogs? Well combine those two disparate facts about yourself into one totally normal hobby: creative dog grooming. Your schnauzer is going to look so cute/hate you so much.

Subway Reading. Do you have free afternoons frequently, or find yourself bored on weekends? And you like books? But your home is too stagnant? Pick a subway line, grab a seat (push an old lady out of the way if you have to!) and ride end to end immersed in your book. You can even read about the subway, or even better about mole people.

Home Brewing.  Home brewing has been growing in popularity for a while now. Nearly everyone I know has been bored to tears taking a “tour” of the “really interesting set up” an acquaintance has “got going” in a dark closet somewhere in their apartment. You can join the ranks, have fun with science, and get drunk.

Stone Skipping. Not just for olde timey rascals down by the fishing hole anymore, stone skipping is now a seriously competitive endeavor. Practice hard and try to beat some world records.

Flair BartendingThis could be you! Imagine how impressed you’ll be with yourself, and how embarrassed your friends will be of you!

Get Really into Fringe Religions. Scientology is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to secretive, fishy religious organizations. Immerse yourself in wild world of the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints, Raëlism, Heaven’s Gate or any other group that tickles your fancy. Imagine all the cocktail party talking points you’ll pick up!

Competitive Bearding (& Mustache-ing). Did you know there are beard competitions? I’m not making that up. If you’re lazy and male this really is about as easy of a hobby as you can get. Just wake up and don’t shave. Unlike most team sports you can be uncoordinated and out of shape and still be an excellent “beard athlete.” I can’t make an outside jump shot but I suspect I would be excellent at not shaving. Need some inspiration and pointers – Alas,Whisker Wars has them so go big (… long? Bushy?) or go home!

Cheese Making. A baked camembert or brie is great this time (or anytime) of year so try it and let it inspire you! Truly, any sort of cooking is a great stress reliever. But if fixing up dinner isn’t interesting enough for you, why not try something a bit more challenging like cheese making? Soon you’ll tap into the underground cheese scene and Alex James will want to hang out with you. 

Pickle the Crap Out of Stuff. If cheese isn’t up your alley, why not experiment with pickling things. Don’t stop at cucumbers. Explore cabbage, lemons, watermelon rind, peppers, onions, pineapple (!), the list goes on forever. Pickle anything you can fit in a jar. Pickle all day long.

Yarn Bombing. If you already know how to knit, why not get involved in a yarn bombing group? This guerilla street art movement has been beautifying cities all over the world. Just think, you could be the new Banksy: Knitsy.

Whatever you pick, I hope you’ll join me in this 2016 mantra: Chill, but also do something.

James J. Sexton