The good news: Joe Biden got elected president, and he’s likely to instigate a comprehensive task force that will work towards a complete and aggressive containment of the coronavirus pandemic.
The bad news: we’re still probably at least half a year away from being able to do anything like we used to, so we’ll probably be stuck inside as the new year rolls around. Turn that insulation into a productive time by picking up an interesting and engaging hobby. Here are some of the best hobbies to pick up in the new year: some are conventional, and some are definitely outside the box.
Learning an Instrument
I’m a bit biased on this one. I’m a musician, so whenever people ask me how long it takes to learn how to play an instrument, I always tell them: no time at all! Really, I’m not lying either.
Just like anything else with which you have no prior experience, the hardest hurdles are during the first stages. If you’re learning guitar, getting calluses on your hands are going to be painfully and somewhat off putting. Getting your head wrapped around the technicalities of music theory, finger placement, intonation, embouchure control, and other essential building blocks to learning music are the hardest things to nail down, but it only takes a brief amount of time (say a month of practice) to notice how quickly you’re improving.
Sure, it might help to have a natural sense of rhythm or a keen ear, but it’s not necessary. If I had a nickel for every guitar player that I’ve played with who couldn’t stay on beat if their life depended on it, I’d be swimming in change like Scrooge McDuck. The point is: if you want to pick up an impressive hobby, learning an instrument isn’t as intimidating as it might seem.
If I’m evidence of anything, it’s that becoming a writer is not an insurmountable task, no matter where you start. Four years ago, I was a music major whose only writing experience was completing English essays in school. Cut to now, where I’m about to graduate with a journalism degree and am currently writing for a few publications. It was a complete 180 degree transformation.
If you’re not inclined towards the more formal aspects of journalism, try blogging. It doesn’t take much: sites like WordPress let you create your own workspaces to put your thoughts out into the world. If you have something you’re passionate about, you should write about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s music, movies, cooking, horseback riding, or whatever it might be, there’s always a perspective that hasn’t been shared.
Ornithology is an artform. At least that’s what the internet is leading me to believe. Birdwatching is also seriously popular. There’s a subreddit community based around it, an official society and even a Steve Martin movie about it.
The closest thing I can compare birdwatching to is Pokemon: it’s about the variety of creatures and tracking as many as you possibly can. The more you’ve “collected”, the greater you are at it. If you’re looking for something calming and low stress as a new hobby, bird watching just might be for you.
Learning a New Language
Today my roommate asked me if I would rather have the ability to run 40 miles per hour or to be able to speak any language in the world. It’s illuminating conversations like these that make me want to pick up a hobby in the first place, if for no other reason than to have something to do instead of being a part of these stupid conversations.
I chose being able to speak any language, as my own level of linguistic knowledge is pitiful. I took Spanish in school, but it never stuck, and now I wish I had the ability to converse, or even understand, another language at anything other than a rudimentary level.
Want to get in shape? Experience new things? Bring some spice back into your life? Then pole dancing might just be for you.
Pole dancing might seem like a niche, or somewhat trashy, hobby to pick up during the new year, but the reality is that pole dancing is actually fairly popular these days. It has nothing to do with stripping either. In terms of fitness, it’s one of the more engaging and varied practices, combining elements of dancing, strength building, aerobics, flexibility, and acrobatics. It’s also always indoors, which makes it ideal for a winter hobbyist.
Did you know you can make cheese at home? As long as you have a dank basement that lets no sunlight in, the patience of a wise old man, and a passion for controlling the spoiling of dairy, you too can be an expert cheesemaker.
In my brief, but thoroughly researched, dive into the world of caseiculture (yup, that’s the official term for cheesemaking. Commit it to memory), I have found some delightful facts about the hobby/profession/obsession of those who aren’t afraid or lactose intolerant. For instance, did you know that certain cheeses, like Brie de Meaux, Reblochon, and ValencayI, are illegal in the United States? I currently know more about the coagulation of cheese curds than I ever thought I would prior to writing this. Also, if you get obsessed with cheesemaking and want to become a Master Cheesemaker, you’ll probably have to move to Wisconsin, because that’s where all 60 official Master Cheesemakers run a program. Their passion for cheese is truly inspirational.
According to this list on Wikipedia, binge watching is technically a hobby. So when you end up spending 10 hours watching The Queen’s Gambit or jumping back into The West Wing now that we have another Democrat in the White House, you can say that you are indulging in your newest hobby. Convenient, right?
If you need to, turn the heat up and commit yourself to your binge watching hobby. Set goals for yourself: If you haven’t finished a miniseries in a day, you’re not improving your personal score of binge watching. If you can finish a whole season of a particular show in a certain amount of time, try to break your record next time. Anything can be a hobby if you devote enough time and energy to it (see the “Cheesemaking” entry above for proof). So carve out a few hours a day and become the best dan binge watcher there ever was.