April: "National Volunteer Month"—Volunteering and Developing Other Interesting Hobbies

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Make Physical Fitness Your Hobby
Marie-Louise Ramsdale and her daughter pausing during a run in front of an art installation in Central Park. Ramsdale's daughter has now joined a track team! 

Picking Up a Hobby: "Party Time"
From a fellow member of the bar

Do you like to party? I like to party. Who likes to party? You like to party.  

By "party," I don't mean getting all liquored-up in some club to that brutal Miley Cyrus song. By "party," I do mean picking up a hobby or interest that will turn "hobby time" into "party time." Everyone, regardless of their currently hectic work and family schedules, should find little moments in the day or week to nurture a hobby that will subconsciously take care of your own well-being. Doing so will allow you to relieve stress and build a passionate hobby that will feel like a party in the U.S.A. every time you get to do that thing you do.

Now, let's find you a hobby. Let's begin by thinking about your interests. What gets you going? What do you really LOVE? 

Maybe I can help you. I have a growing number of interests and hobbies that occupy almost all of my free time. And it's becoming a "problem." And I want you to have this problem. So, here's how I "party" and shed stress like it's my job.

During the weekends this time of the year, I'm your typical South Carolina NASCAR fan, but I'm also a big English Premier League fan, and I follow the PGA Tour. While not your typical "hobby," having your favorite weekly sport or show to follow on TV can be as relaxing as a day on the beach.

Now, at the end of a work day, I love to try to play the drums like John Bonham—even though I fail miserably at it. I also love my morning time with a nice, peaceful cup of coffee at 6:30 a.m. I don't take cream or sugar, but I do take my coffee with a pretty heavy (and loud) dose of old-school James Brown.  

The list goes on. I love fishing and hunting and anything outdoors. I'm a pretty miserable golfer, but I really enjoy being on the golf course. I like working in the garage on my old car, changing the oil, and getting dirty. And God knows I love smoking a good ol' fashioned pork butt in my backyard for hours on end. So, yes.  I like to "party." I have a multitude of interests and hobbies and it’s a growing problem. 

Is it a problem to juggle all of these hobbies? Sure, but, it is a great stress-relieving problem to have that has developed over a lifetime of trial and error. This "problem" allows me to decompress with a myriad of options at the end of the day and wake up the next morning ready to blare Brown's "I Feel Good" with my cup of coffee. And I want to pass this passionate "problem" onto my fellow members of the Bar.

So, here's my charge. Take up at least one regular activity this week. If you already have a hobby, great. Keep at it, but nurture it, foster its development, and watch it grow as you do. Or, go out and try something new. Maybe you'll like it. Maybe you won't. But you won't know if you don't try it out. Go and find what you LOVE to do (outside of being a lawyer, of course).

What activity gives you the most pleasure in the world? What makes you giddy with excitement when you have the time to pursue that activity? Whatever it is, make sure you find it and take time to get around to doing that activity regularly, whether it's by yourself or with the ones you love. Because when that activity develops into a full-blown love interest, your hobby will be as fun as a party, and your well-being, no matter how hectic your life is at that moment, will thank you.

This post is dedicated to my ever-patient wife who encourages me to continually develop new hobbies and foster old ones. She, too, likes to party.