Dog agility is something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time. Ru absolutely excelled at rally obedience and flew through both her CGC and CGCA exams (my weirdo mutt is actually titled by the AKC – can you believe that?). Unfortunately all the dog agility classes are either about a 45 drive north, east, or west of our house in Berkeley, which is a pretty big commitment for new hobby.
Finally, after taking a break from dog training for six months, we signed up for a class and are totally loving it! It comes as no surprise that Ru is an agility wiz, and it’s super rewarding for both of us to watch her confidence grow as she flies through tunnels and over the ramps.
I’m definitely a little unfulfilled with life right now. Work is awesome and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but working from home alone is much less easy than it sounds, and I’m feeling an intense need to fill up my free time with activities and socializing. As a deep and lifelong introvert, that is not something I’m used to needing!
So I’m currently looking for new hobbies and have done a lot of thinking about what that might be. Here is some of my advice if you’re looking for a new hobby of your own:
1. Take a class
This is without question my favorite way to start something new. A little six-week series of dog agility or figure drawing will give you an idea if it’s something you’d like to pursue more seriously, and when you’re first starting, you’ll learn so much more with the help of a teacher than by yourself. Find an interested friend to sign up as well, or use the class an excuse to meet new ones. I often just start by googling something like “metalworking classes Berkeley,” as well as looking through local community colleges, adult schools, and art studios. Think about something you’ve always wanted to try – violin? beermaking? – and give it a try.
2. Use meetup.com and other online sites
I’ve talked about meetup.com for making friends, but it’s also a great way to try new activities! Not only do they have regular old classes there (I took a tarot reading series for a while), but they also just have “clubs” just like back in high school and college. Join a local feminist book club or a dog hiking group to stretch your brain and get outdoors.
3. Buy a book
If you’re not ready to jump head-in to a class or club, a book is a great way to explore a new hobby. I know that you can find a lot of information online these days, but there’s something so much more streamlined about reading your way through a book on chess. I recently picked up a book on sewing and then decided it was probably not the hobby I wanted to throw myself into right now.
4. Ask friends
Pick your friend’s brains for the sort of stuff they love to do. I’m always so surprised when I mention to a friend I’m taking a pottery class only to find she’s a die-hard pottery-head and has been taking classes for years! Get tips from them on where to go or what groups might be fun to join (ultimate frisbee anyone?) – maybe you can join her in her activities or just pick her brain about what the hobby is like, so you can make a more informed decision before investing lots of time and money.
5. Build on your passions
You guys all know how much I love dogs (duh), so I decided to build on my love for training Ru and start volunteering at the Berkeley animal shelter! There I not only get to work with a variety of pups, but I get to give back in a way that’s super important to me. Think about what you’re passionate about in your own life – if you love jewelry, visit your local bead-store and try making your own. If you love riding your bike to work, join a local bike co-op or switch to a new “style” like mountain biking. Get creative, and try something just a little bit out of your comfort zone!
What’s a new hobby that you’ve been trying out recently? I could use your suggestions!