Show Notes

Episode 35: Hobbies

Perfectionism can get in the way of starting or enjoying hobbies. This week Shannon and Janine talk about  their hobbies (and attempted hobbies) and share strategies for getting past perfectionism so you can enjoy your hobbies.

Discussion topics include:

  • How every hobby Shannon’s had has been marred by perfectionism
  • How perfectionism can get in the way of starting and enjoying a new hobby
  • The fact that new hobbies usually have to be bad before they can get good
  • How Shannon inspired Janine to start knitting fourteen years ago (spoiler alert: only one of them is still knitting)
  • Process versus results in doing hobbies (like knitting)
  • Janine’s 12-year adventure with Barbara Walker’s Learn-to-Knit Afghan
  • Why starting a hobby by shopping can be a mistake
  • How Shannon is managing to stick with her latest hobby: Learning Portuguese
  • How guided lessons can help provide structure to make learning a new hobby fun
  • Figuring what counts as engaging in your hobby when you’re starting out
  • How frequent practice can make learning a new hobby easier


P.S. During the episode, Shannon asked Janine what she was knitting. The answer, which Janine couldn’t share at the time, was that she was finishing a cat bed for Shannon’s cat, Cleo! She used the leftover yarn from the afghan and sent it to Shannon and Cleo as a surprise.

Thankfully, Cleo loves the bed. And we love her. So we just had to share a couple of pictures.

Shannon's cat Cleo enjoys her new bed

8 thoughts on “Episode 35: Hobbies”

  1. Great topic, ladies. I have never done (what I consider to be) hobbies, almost assuredly because of some sense of perfectionism. My mom, sister, and I have twice gone to those paint-the-pottery places, and I get low-level anxiety because I cannot make the tangible thing replicate the vision in my head.

    To me, hobbies have always been things that yield something tangible – knitting, needlework, building models — artsy-craftsy stuff. Everything I participate in is in my head — reading, writing (OK, that involves my fingers, but in theory, I could dictate it), listening to music. These feel less like hobbies than happenings. I was pleased to hear Shannon talking about Duolingo and Memrise, because I’ve spent the last 7 months learning Italian. I went to Italy in September, and wanted to know enough to not feel completely unmoored while there, but have kept it up, and I like it for all the reasons Shannon describes. (But Shannon, did you know that you can (repeatedly) get a one-day “pass” without losing your streak? I don’t know where you see it on the app, but in your browser, click on your “lingots” and turn on “Streak Freeze.” You spend 10 lingots each time you miss a day, but it’s great for those times you are falling asleep and realize you missed a day of Duolingo!

    1. Hi Julie, it’s Shannon. I totally get that low-level anxiety thing around not getting the thing to look like what’s in my head. I really appreciate the tip on Duolingo! My husband has asked me about lingots and lives or something, and I had no idea what he was talking about. I’ll have to explore a bit more. Long live the streak! 🙂

  2. Julie, it’s Janine. The idea of going to one of those painting places makes me want to run in the opposite direction (because my skill at drawing is so low). I think what I love about hobbies where you create tangible things is that you can see the improvement before your very eyes.

    I think I’m going to take up Italian and when you and I next see one another, perhaps we can have a brief conversation in Italian. (I actually took a year of Italian in college for the fun of it but that was many, many moons ago.)

    Mille grazie for listening and commenting!

  3. I enjoy my hobbies very much because in them I can achieve “flow” where my mind is so caught up in what I’m doing that time can pass effortlessly without my realizing it.

    I love quilting and have made many quilts for friends and family. I learned from a friend (and a much better quilter than I) that if you can’t see your mistake from the back of a galloping horse, then it’s okay. When I make a quilt, there is always going to be something that doesn’t come out perfectly: a point gets cut off, a seam doesn’t match, a mistake in cutting is made. I have learned to let go of my perfectionism in quilting and just enjoy the hobby for itself. There are people known as the Quilt Police who like to find every error you make in a quilt and point it out to you. Luckily I haven’t crossed paths with them yet.

    I also love genealogy and can lose myself for hours in it. I haven’t been doing it much this year as I have had other irons in the fire, other projects to do. I am hoping to get back into it soon. But I can spend hours in the Midwest Genealogy Center library searching for ancestors. Many’s the time I had a librarian come over and whisper to me that they were closing up when I had been there all day.

    Another favorite hobby is reading. I love the written word and try to make myself read for at least one hour each day: 1/2 hour for non-fiction/knowledge and then 1/2 hour for fiction/pleasure.

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