So, what do you do for fun?

It’s funny how you can have this perception of yourself – you kind of know who you are, you know what you fill your days with – and after awhile, you don’t even really give much thought to how you fill your days, just that when you wake up you do x and then after that you do y, and when your brain needs a break from life’s heavy lifting you take a few minutes for a and when you need a smile you do b, and when life is challenging you and you’re not sure how much more you can take, c always helps.

You know this, right? Because it’s just second nature to you. You know you. Kinda. Sorta.

Until someone asks you, “Tell me about yourself. What do you do for fun?”

And you sputter.

And you stall.

“Uh? Fun? Um. Well, I work a lot. I like to be busy. So, I try to fill time with work type stuff.”

Maybe you stammer out a few more useless words and phrases and then the conversation will haunt you for a week. Why can’t I answer what do I like to do for fun? I do all kinds of fun stuff! Why did I not mention this? Or that?! What was I thinking?

And then, if you are anything like me, you will blog about it – as I’m doing now.

Someone once said to me, “Sarah, you are like a hummingbird. You are always moving.” It’s an apt descriptor – I choose to be busy. When I was a kid, my dad said often, “Bored people are boring people” and at the time I wanted to screech every time he said it (because dammit, I wasn’t boring! I just needed one of the grown up people TO ENTERTAIN ME FOR FIVE MINUTES), but as an adult, I have said it once or twice. I’m sure my kids hate it too.

Idle time makes me twitchy. I’m not good at relaxing. I like to fill my days. This is partly why summer is difficult for me – I have a lot more day to fill, and I have to plan it around two children that don’t necessarily share any interests. It’s tough.

But for fun? What do I like to do?

she is something altogether different, never just an ordinary girl*

I love exercise. I am not one of those people who grudgingly adds fitness to her day – I am one of those annoying people who doesn’t feel whole without it. I enjoy the challenge of pushing my muscles to fatigue. I am elated to shave a few seconds from my mile time. When I awake in the morning and my muscles ache from a tough workout the day before? Heavenly. I enjoy that. I employ the motto “break a sweat daily” – and it’s a good rule of thumb for me – not just for my body but for my mind. I process things better when my feet are moving. On a walk or a run, the staccato of my feet hitting the pavement is a metronome in my brain – and little nagging thoughts that have troubled me often have a way of working themselves out.

oh yeah, I think it’s obvious I also like to write

Writing has been a passion of mine since I was little. My dad once said that when I was quite young, I wrote a song about an old lady giving me a penny. I don’t remember it. I’m sure it would have been better than that Rebecca Black song, though. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write – and it’s always been something that comes easily to me. While my style is just that – MY STYLE – and may not ever net me millions of dollars (or even dozens of dollars), I find it soothing.

I love blank books with blank pages and the promise and possibility of what those pages might eventually hold. These days, I’m more inclined to write at a keyboard than longhand, and I no longer have any ambition of writing some bestselling novel, but sometimes I wonder if I could do it. Do I want to? I don’t know.

This is a fear of mine – turning things I love into obligations. Does that take away from the joy you receive? I don’t know. I don’t want to find out.

I pictured us at the end of time taking pictures of nothing

Nearly three years ago, I signed up to do a photographic 365 project – taking a photo a day – and a new love was born. I found that not only was it something that brought me a tremendous amount of joy – but I find that the more I’m behind the camera, the more I am able to refine my eye.

And while I have been fearful that turning writing into an obligation might dull my love for it – I’m taking a huge breath and making an effort to turn my love of photography into a future of sorts, hoping that I can find a way to finally do as I hoped this year: do work I am passionate about.

and you’ll say girl did you kick some butt and I’ll say I don’t really remember

But it’s not just the work, and the writing, and the hiding behind the camera and the sweating out each day.

It’s the love of music and the decision at thirty(coughcough) years of age to learn something new and when given a guitar, take on the challenge and trying to learn it and becoming okay with, You know, I may never be great at this but learning it is so much fun. Something about learning something new – suddenly, I hear the music differently. I’m picking out the guitar in each song, listening to what is happening, how did they do that, why did they do that, and even if I can never do that, well, at least I know something is happening, and I understand it and I know why.

I dance in my kitchen sometimes when no one is looking – or with my daughters. Sometimes they laugh with me and join me until the dog goes crazy because what the hell is going on in his kitchen, is someone hurt, are they fighting? Silly dog, after a year, doesn’t quite understand dance.

I sing along with the radio. I sing off key a lot – sometimes jokingly, especially if I know I can’t sing it well. But sometimes I am okay. I have music genes. A little bit, anyway.

I bake cookies. Lots of cookies. I have a passion for sugar, and making things that taste good and making people happy with the things that I make. Especially cheesecake. Cheesecake seems to really make people happy.

I send cards and letters. Real ones. Hand written ones. Not as often as I should, and not for every occasion. But when I remember, it makes me feel good to send them. In this lovely technical world, it’s easy to forget the joy of finding a handwritten envelope in the mailbox.

I collect Sharpies.

I do Sudoku puzzles (slowly and badly, and in pencil).

I take bubble baths with too hot water that turns my legs pink.

I go out for coffee a lot. I curl up on the couch with magazines. I wander through bookstores and touch the books, lifting, inspecting, reading.

time expands and then contracts when you are spinning in the grips of someone who is not an ordinary girl

I’m not sure why I couldn’t describe what I like to do or who I am. And surely, it’s a good thing because when given thought, I end up rambling and explaining and clarifying and telling you just who I am. Does it matter? Hm. Maybe. Maybe not. But there’s more to me than work. There’s so much I love to do, that makes me…me. And sometimes it’s worth digging deep into it, if not for you or the next person that asks, than for myself.


* These headings are song lyrics. Bonus points if you know them. I might even send you a handwritten letter if you do.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. “This is a fear of mine – turning things I love into obligations. Does that take away from the joy you receive? I don’t know. I don’t want to find out.” <—I so get this. So very much.

    And if you don't pursue this photography thing, I'm gonna be mad at you! You are a fabulous photographer!

  2. p.s. I am not opposed to a cheesecake showing up on my front porch. (You can ship cheesecake, right?)

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