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Oct 19, 2020

What hobbies have you embraced that your grandchildren will remember, or perhaps adopted themselves? Emily presents a mash-up of recollections from her Season 3 guests who remember the hobbies of their own grandparents, Plus, a bonus interview with a super-fun grandma from Georgia and her wild-and-crazy grandkid camp. Listener advisory: there are fart noises.

The Stretch It Takes (Emily's Essay): I Do Have One

I recently watched a movie where a young woman was given a to-do list by her therapist...a list to help her grow as a person. It included, among other things, “do something you loved doing as a child” something, her therapist said, that was a source of joy. In the movie, the woman chose drinking a Cherry Soda. Pretty simple, but it made her very happy.  I started to wonder: what would that be for me? Maybe getting back in touch with my first grade self might actually help me find my hobby. You see...I’ve struggled finding one. I play the piano, but haven’t for a long while. I read books, I like to cook, and I sometimes like to garden. I definitely love decorating my house (but that feels more like an addiction than a hobby). 

In the first season of The Grand Life podcast, I had a segment called “Passing Along Your Passion.” I would interview people about their hobbies, and I got so many good responses...sewing, horseback riding, music...you name it. I started thinking...what kind of passion am I passing along to my grands? What do they see me enjoying and feeling passionate about besides them? Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have no problem admitting that I’m passionate about my grands...but I would like to give them a fuller picture of me. A picture that includes something I like, something I do for myself, something that gives me great joy. 

Heading back to my first grade self, I liked two things: writing and pretending to host a talk show. Yes...that’s what I did. And oh, yes, I also like fudgsicles. 

So there you have it. My passion has been here all along. I’m realizing that my six-year-old self isn’t so different from my 60-year-old self. I still love writing, and I love talking to people on this podcast. I have always wanted a radio show. I vividly remember as an 8-year-old sitting in a circle at Grace Baptist Church in Tonawanda NY when my Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Sears, asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said I wanted to host a TV talk show like Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, and Dinah Shore. She recoiled and asked me if I could think of something different. I really couldn’t, but I regrouped and said I wanted to be a mother. Mrs. Sears reported, sternly, to my mother that I wanted to be on TV and perhaps that instead of a worthy goal I had chosen a worldy one. Fortunately, my mother took my side on the matter, laughed it off, and later told me not to worry about disappointing Mrs. Sears.  

I guess I knew myself pretty well. What I told Mrs. Sears proved to be true. I love being a mother (and now a grandmother), a writer and now a podcast host, so I suppose it wasn’t much of a stretch after all. I think the hardest thing for me was realizing that what I love doesn’t really fit the traditional definition of a hobby. In my own definition, though, it works just fine.  Writing and hosting a podcast is an extension of myself: it gives me joy, and it’s something that my grands can even participate in with me (if you listen to the end of each episode, you’ll hear their voices). 

So what’s your hobby? What have you found to be the thing that brings you joy and is the obvious extension of yourself? If you don’t have anything like that, maybe a good long stretch is in order. As our own adult children would say, “you do you.” It’s never too late to start doing something that brings a new sort of fullness to your life. And the possibilities are endless. It can be as simple as drinking a Cherry Soda and as complicated as volunteering or developing an interest you had way back when you were six years old. 

Or, maybe, sitting on the porch enjoying a good fudgsicle will do the trick.

(c) 2020 Emily Morgan