As moms, we all have hobbies that go by the wayside when we have kids. We’re so busy taking care of others, that we forget to take care of ourselves in the process. For example, I used to be such an avid reader. A Sunday afternoon usually consisted of sitting on the couch reading a new book. It was my favorite hobby. Since having kids and starting a business, I’ve let my love of reading fade away.
This January, I made a promise to myself (I guess you could call it a resolution) that I would start reading again. I found the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge around the same time and decided to give it a try. I like that the categories are so vague. Many books can fit into each category, allowing it to work with pretty much any reading style. If done correctly, this challenge results in 44 books being read in one year. Since my original goal for this year was to read one book a month, I’ll consider anything over 12 to be a huge success for me.
Taking Time for Myself with an Old Hobby
I’ve missed reading for years. I mean, I would still pick up a book from time to time, but it had begun to feel like a chore. It felt like something I had to make time for, which stressed me out.
I knew that I needed something to motivate me to pick out new books again, but I was so far detached from the hobby that I didn’t even know where to start. I needed direction. I’d joined a book club, but the group didn’t even last through the first book. I tried a few other challenges, but they were so specific and I just couldn’t stay interested in the books listed. Finally, I stumbled upon the PopSugar Reading Challenge for this year, and found something I could actually stick with.
This challenge has become incredibly important to me. It’s one of my very few daily habits that has nothing to do with my business or my family. It’s my own selfish time to recharge and relax. I may only get a few minutes at night, but it’s mine. We’ve become so hung up on the glorification of busy, that it feels good to go against it sometimes.
Branching Out with the PopSugar Reading Challenge
The reason this particular challenge has been a success with me, is that it allows me to branch out without overwhelming me with structure. The categories are vague, so I can pick a broad range of books to check off most of them. By going through these categories one by one, I’ve been able to find a lot of new books that I never would have considered. I’ve found new authors to follow, and new genres to keep up with. Books I never would have considered a year ago have become some of my new favorites! It’s been such a fun way to get back to an old hobby. I plan to do the same challenge next year and continue to grow my reading list.
My Favorite Books of 2016
I’m now on my 11th book of the year, so I’m actually ahead of my 2016 reading goal. I wasn’t even sure I’d accomplish 12 with the way I was reading before! A few of the books I’ve picked out really did drag on and make me count the pages left every night (like Go Set a Watchman, which I really thought I’d love). however, I’ve found some new books that I absolutely love and recommend to everyone!
- We Were Liars. I read this one to satisfy my YA Bestseller category, but it fits so many. Do yourself a favor and read it. Just…don’t read anything else about it before you do. This story is best to read with no idea of what you’re getting into.
- The Nightingale. This is a New York Times Best Seller, and also a book set in Europe. And…it’s haunting. It took me ages to recover from this one. Kristin Hannah was already a favorite author of mine, and I continue to look for books of hers that I haven’t read, yet!
- The Girl on the Train. I believe I read this one to satisfy my book checked out from the library category, but it also can fit into several categories, so you can take your pick. I really cannot wait to see this movie, too.
If you’d like to see the full list of what I’ve read this year, and keep up with my progress, you can follow along here.
One of the categories I was looking forward to the least is the book set in my home state. See, I’m from Texas. Most books based in Texas are westerns of some sort, and I’m just not really into it. I truly expected to either skip this category all together, or force myself to read something that put me to sleep each night. Like I said, this challenge has definitely helped me branch out, and this category is a perfect example of that.
I searched for awhile, because I really like a challenge. I ended up finding The After Party, by Anton Disclafani. It is a book about the 1950’s society women in Houston. Yes! A book based in Texas that’s not a western! I was so excited.
I haven’t 100% decided how I feel about the book, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. I’m at the pivotal scene where the whole story comes together right now, so I’ll keep you posted when I’m done.
Don’t Lose Sight of Your Hobbies
For years, I got so wrapped up in my business and my family, that I completely lost touch with a hobby that I’ve loved since childhood. I love what I do for a living, and I’m very fortunate that I can say that. However, no matter how much you love your career choice, it’s important to maintain hobbies that have nothing to do with it. They say you can’t pour from an empty cup, and hobbies are a great way to keep that cup full. Do yourself a favor, and take some time today to enjoy a lost hobby, even if it’s just for a few minutes!
What hobbies are you trying to make time for? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!