Food & Fitness

Old Hobbies, Reinvented

Yesterday I sat down at the piano and I played a few songs. It was the first time I had touched a piano in about a year. Before that, it had probably been about another year.

The sistertraveller and I both took piano lessons when we were younger. We took so many lessons that she got to the point where she could have taken her teaching certificate; I would have had a couple more piano grade levels ahead of me before I could have taken my teaching certificate. But we quit before we got there, because we were both busy with academic and social lives, and we just weren’t interested in taking piano lessons any further.

We kept the piano. The old apartment that the sistertraveller and I shared was enormous (seriously, sometimes we’d be shouting to each other and trying to find one another. Biggest apartment I’ve ever been in. It was awesome), so we could easily fit the piano in there. I took the piano with me when I bought myself the condo. The sistertraveller currently has her own apartment, but it is quite small and there’s no place for the piano. She’s more of a pianist than I am so we’ve agree that the piano is hers; I’m just holding onto it for her until she gets a bigger place (besides, it looks really fantastic in my condo!).

Something about being the youngest child is that when you’re young, you’re constantly frustrated at not being able to do the kinds of things your older sibling can. I started piano lessons two years after the sistertraveller, so I got frustrated very quickly that I couldn’t play the same music that she could. The sistertraveller also has a real ear for music – it’s a major passion of hers and she has the talent of hearing a song once and being able to teach it to herself and play it on the piano or guitar almost immediately.

Music isn’t my thing. I have to practice, practice, practice to really understand and perfect a song. So when I stopped needing to practice piano for my lessons, I simply stopped playing it. And I didn’t really miss it.

Which brings us to yesterday. I’m not sure what made me play the piano. Maybe it’s because a couple of conversations recently have involved piano playing, but something compelled me to wander over to the bench, sit myself down and play a few songs… Lord of the Rings theme music, Phantom of the Opera theme music, and some classical music of Grieg and Rebikov for good measure.

It was something of a relief to find that my fingers weren’t as rusty as I’d feared. When I first sat down, I had this sudden fear that I wouldn’t be able to read the music. That maybe I wouldn’t know where to put my fingers. It turns out that once you have really grasped a language, even if you don’t use it frequently, it’s pretty hard to forget it. Because I was able to play the songs quite smoothly. They certainly weren’t competition-worthy, but they were just fine for playing on my own. And that’s what a hobby should be.

If you haven’t been able to devote much time to your hobbies lately, or if you’ve given up an old hobby, it’s worth revisiting it – even if only briefly. It’ll bring back some good memories. You’ll probably enjoy it and remember why you liked it – and maybe why you gave it up, too.

Whatever you do this week, make time to do something a little different from the norm. Get back in touch with something that you haven’t done in a while. It’s good for the soul.

What were/are some of your hobbies?


  1. The Candid RD

    I have always wished I could sit down at the piano and start playing like I did in elementary school, but whenever I sit I never have the patience to really try to learn it again. I know if I took a couple hours of trying to remember the keys, it would all come back to me, but the piano is at my parent’s house so I never really have the time to try! I should definitely make the time one day, especially now that the holidays are approaching and it would be great to be able to sit and play one of my favorite Christmas songs!

  2. Dr. J

    This is great!! I was forced to take piano lessons as a kid and I hated it! When I was out the door to university, I got a guitar and taught myself! I love being able to Paley! It’s been a good friend to me. I wish I played piano better and I have messed around with the electronic keyboard. I need to mention that I have very little musical talent, I can’t even tune my guitars (6) well, but my love of playing sustains me. Music is the cosmic dance. I’m guessing that you will appreciate those piano lessons more and more 🙂

  3. Geosomin

    I have always wanted to play the piano. I’m terrble at practicing, so I’ve never gotten beyond the basics at piano or guitar. I *do* want to get a ukelele some time though. I think it would be great to know how to play one 🙂
    I love to sew and make stained glass. I wish I had more time for these things lately. usually for Christmas I make people gifts, as our family isn’t much on presents. This year I dont’ have time to sew stuff for my neices or make bath salts or bath bombs…it feels wierd.
    I *do* plan on baking up a storm once classes are done tho! 🙂

    1. Sagan Morrow

      The mother dear used to have a stained glass workshop in our basement when we lived in a house! Stained glass is so pretty. I like sewing too. That’s definitely a hobby I want to revisit.

      I think I’ll be making bath scrubs for Christmas this year… there’s something really nice about making gifts.

    1. Sagan Morrow

      I’ve never tried knitting, but I really enjoy sewing! And yes: there’s something very comforting about returning to old hobbies. We don’t necessarily need to keep at them (who knows – maybe I won’t touch the piano for another year ;)), but it’s good to go back to them every once in a while.

  4. JavaChick

    Kind of funny – I have an opposite story! I’m the oldest in my family and I always wanted lessons, but my parents couldn’t find anyone to teach me. I had some help from my grandmother and an aunt, but was mostly self taught. I always wanted lessons though. My youngest sister did have lessons; by then my parents were able to find a teacher and I used to drive her to her lessons sometimes. I found it a wee bit frustrating.

    You are right though, once you learn it doesn’t take long to come back. I was surprised that I was able to pick it back up fairly quickly after more than 10 years.

    I am taking lessons now, finally. Sometimes it’s hard to fit in and it feels like just one more task on my to do list…Then I remind myself how long I waited. I just enjoy myself and do the best I can. 🙂

  5. Jen R. (

    I learned how to swim this summer. Before, I knew how to swim to survive, but not how to swim to race. I decided back in January of ’10 that I was going to finish a triathlon within a year. An Olympic distance. I trained for months and months, learned how to swim, and then once I finished my triathlon in September, I quit training. I was so relieved to be done that I just stopped. I went for a swim for the first time since September a few days ago and it felt so good, so smooth. All of the frustration of the previous months wasn’t there and instead I just enjoyed.

    It was wonderful.

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