Since graduating from the LIS Masters program in 2013 I’ve embarked on re-discovering interests outside of my work and professional involvement activities. Some I let go to make way for study and some that faded away during a not so great part of my life in my mid-teens and I really wanted back.
My biggest challenge in re-discovering interests and hobbies has been being okay with creating something for the sake of creating something and nothing more. Throughout my study part-time/ working full-time life, I was constantly on a mission to make my time efficient, effective and go towards some outcome. This is a habit and mindset that is difficult to break. I’m currently trying to tweak this mindset to thinking about creating stuff as a productive use of my time because it contributes to well-being (not relying on my career so much to give satisfaction) and personal expression. The reason I share this is because two of the things I like to do outside of work involves creating and creativity – writing and photography.
Interests and hobbies outside of LIS
This is one of those things that fell away in my mid-teens. I wrote a lot as a kid. My book of poems from when I was nine is probably in a ‘Mum box’ somewhere in storage. I wrote short stories. I read a lot. I loved to write. Mum gave me her calligraphy set when I was about nine or ten. But then as I grew more competitive in gymnastics and was training 20+ hours a week, I had little time to write, let alone keep up with my homework and assignments.
Over 12 years later, I joined the Queensland Writers Centre (QWC) and enrolled in a creative writing short course. I loved it. The course marked the start of something again. I joined a writers group. We lasted a bit over 12 months, which was enough to get the ‘lovin’ feeling’ back for writing. My confidence is still lacking, made evident by my unfinished projects. Last year I went on a Writers Retreat with QWC. There was only 12 of us and Brisbane author, Nick Earls to walk us through five workshops that focused on place and setting. A wonderful weekend of sharing writing woes and tips was had.
I have a few ideas for books on the back burner. I have a personal blog called ‘Notebook + Tea’ when I find the time. But my focus is on one particular book I’m still trying to get off the ground.
In June 2014, I bought a digital SLR and a couple of a lenses. I completed a MOOC by RMIT, subscribed to a few blogs and set off to take landscape and surfing photos. Much, if not all of my photos have been taken in manual mode, learning by trial and error. This has been both a frustrating and fun experience.
My first surfing trip to the Solomon Islands (September 2014) was a dive into the deep end, so to speak. I’d go out on the boat with the boys, watch them paddle to the break and then try to capture their rides. The boat I was in was small and anchored on a reef, not far from the break. The boat rocked. A lot. So here’s me trying to keep my balance and not get my camera gear wet, leaning on the front of the boat and gripping it with one hand. The other hand was holding the camera. Every so often I had to balance without holding on so I could use two hands to change my camera settings.
I also took some photos of our location, Papatura Island Retreat. The sunsets over the jetty were amazing and the hermit crabs were oh so cute!
My second surfing trip to Samoa last year was easier. The boat was tied to a mooring line on the reef. So that baby was going no where and was much more stable. Plus, when I was finished taking photos and wanted to head back to the resort, I only had to signal to the guide and he’d radio in another to come get me.
In all honesty, I’ve barely picked up the camera this year. Crazy year, this one. One or two surfing sessions and some photos over at Margaret River. That’s about it.
Some times I feel a bit guilty going out with the fiance to take surfing photos when I could or need to be working on something else at home at my desk, usually related to work. But my fiance reminds me that the stolen time away from the desk and work is a necessary part of life and an important part of taking time out for myself and letting go of the ‘productivity ninja’ mindset.