Thursday, July 17, 2008

Does Crafting Enhance Your Life?

I was wondering today if my crafts reflect how I am as much as who I am. What about you? Do you craft more or less when you are healthy or sick? Do you craft less when you are depressed or happy? If you do a number of crafts, which craft is more likely to draw your attention when you feel upbeart or sad? Bottom line do your moods affect your crafting and does your crafting affect how you are feeling?

If you need to justify the worthyniess of having a hobby, you might want to send the person you are trying to convince to healthy Here you can read about the benefits of having a hobby that matches your needs and situation and why a good hobby helps you live a balanced life. The entry even suggests how to go about finding a hobby that suits your life and enhances it. “Many women feel guilty taking time for themselves, but for happiness and good health, you need an inspiring purpose,” says Andrea Pennington, an integrative medicine physician and wellness coach. “A good hobby makes you lose all sense of time and self, liberating you from the every­day.” In fact, research shows that a hobby can help you cope with work-related stress by providing a different kind of challenge and letting you disen­gage—and so recuperate—from work."

Personally I believe that in a society where we are increasingly insular, women in particular need to be proactive in finding ways to create their own circle, where they can find fellowship, friendship and in some way recreate the close family and community support of yesteryears. Because I am by nature shy about approaching strangers, you can imagine that moving 5 times in 10 years has been rather difficult for me. Prior to 2002, because I was a busy working mom, the workplace was always the avenue for new friendships. Having lived through the reorganization and move of one employer and the death of a well known multi-national employer I have come to realize that friendships that exist completely in the workplace often do not translate once employment is severed. The larger the lost employer is and the smaller the available pool of new available jobs, the more likely people are to drift away and find new jobs in new communities. While not all work related friendships will collapse, the larger the number of people forced to move away or compete for new jobs, the more likely that they will focus on their new circumstances and on re balancing their personal lives.

In some ways having close online friends that share your hobby or passion, in my case my friends at rec.crafts.scrapbooks, can help smooth out the problem. For one thing they can move with you and your computer, for another, if you are lucky one of them will live in your new hometown and be there to help support you and offer an instant "real life" friend.

In 2004 when my husband and I moved out of state, having my good online friends Kenda and later Deb living in the same city was a true blessing. I could not have felt more welcome or happier to live near them. Although we do not communicate as often as we did, they have become friends for life and no matter when they might call me or ask for my help or support, I will always do everything I can to be there for them. However, in reviewing this period in my life, I realize that I had unfair expectations of my online now new real life friends. Without thinking it out, I somehow expected, that they would meet all my social needs. Women are by nature social creatures and we NEED to be needed, to be surrounded by other women. We need for our own sanity to bounce ideas and problems off our friends. I should have realized that my online friends already have full lives when i rolled into town and that it was my responsibility to build my own social circle. I'm afraid that I was a needy friend partly because knowing that our stay was temporary, I did not go out of my way to make new friends of my own. It was a lesson well learned and hopefully Kenda and Deb didn't feel the pressure I exerted on them too severely.

Thankfully in this time in world history where we are less likely to have a ready made community, the internet and pursuing our hobbies through small hobby stores such as scrapbook stores and knitting store help us create a different type of social circle with like minded people. When I moved away from Kenda and Deb, I realized that I would have to find some way to overcome my shyness of strangers and create a way to meet and make friends that had common interests. I had started to come to the realization that I need face to face interaction to feel balanced. As Kenda, Deb, Marie-Laurence or Janie can tell you, to me a good hug from a close buddy will do more to lift my mood when I am down then I am sure 100 hours of therapy would. Through a scrapbook show where I was selling scrapbook products and by creating my own Scrapbook Buddies meet up group, I found some wonderful friends that I can meet with face to face and scrapbook and share life with. Has the young retiree that I am reached a level at which I am no longer lonely during the day? Not quite yet, but I am getting closer.

All that to say, I appreciate and love all my friends, both online and real life. And I can't wait to see and give a big real life hug to some of my online friends who will be on the Scrapbook Cruise that I am organizing out of Tampa in March of 2009! Well it's time to get back to the "real" world.
Have a truly, wonderful day!


Anonymous said...

What profound words of wisdom flow from your mind to your typing fingers!! I had never thought of my scrapbooking as therapy, only a way to preserve memories and stop time for a moment. However, it truly is therapy. When I scrap, I AM in my own zone and time and troubles get pushed to the "back burner". Thanks for your insight, my friend.

CathyR said...

Well said M-C. I've always thought that crafts make my life better. Not only because of the joy and serenity that crafting gives me, but because of the friends I have made because of it.

I enjoy sitting at my scrap table in the afternoons creating pages of the memories of my family. The time alone fulfills my need to be creative and gives my time to think and ponder things going on in my life. I also enjoy sitting and knitting in the evenings while watching tv and spending time with my family.

If I didn't scrapbook and knit, I would be a mess and my family wouldn't want to be around me!

Scraplin said...

I Have to agree with you wholeheartedly M-C about the social needs of women. I am much happier now than I have been in years, and I think a lot of it is because of the online friends I have made at RCS. I would like to have more crafty friends IRL, but hopefully I will get to that. My crafting IS my getaway, my reward, and my creative outlet outside of work. I appreciate the time I do take for myself when I can. I get involved in swaps and challenges and it gives me something to look forward to doing in my off time, not to mention it challenges me to be more creative.
Thank YOU M-C for your friendship and I am really looking forward to the cruise!

Kenda said...

Oh M-C, your post made me cry!!! I sure miss you and know that I wasn't the friend I should have been in the months leading up to your departure from here. I so regret it and wish I could have done things different. I am so looking forward to seeing you on the cruise! I love you and miss you. BIG HUGZ Kenda

Anonymous said...

The main reason I craft is to show my creativity side.An alternative, more everyday conception of creativity is that it is simply the act of making something new. I read that someplace once. It sounded good. Anyway I have always been a very shy person and I usually stay to myself. But who knows maybe oneday I may be outgoing. I would love for that to happen.
I love reading your blog. It seems to always hit a cord with me. I can relate to a lot you say.

Shannon said...

Well, you ask when I craft. It is definetly when I'm healthy. I haven't felt good for the last 4 weeks. And I have got nothing done. I feel more energetic and creative when I feel well. Then I tend to craft gifts for presents and they always seem to get done at the last minute. I with I would do those things ahead of time so it isn't so stressful. You write such lovely things.