On Hobbies

November 18, 2021


Somewhere along the way, between leaving Zurich in 2014 and finally getting back here this year, my hobbies were lost. One by one they dropped away. I stopped knitting. I stopped writing. I stopped podcasting. I stopped painting my nails. (Even silly hobbies are self care and good for the soul.) I stopped decorating and doting on my house. I stopped cooking and baking. I more or less stopped reading. I stopped playing with my hair and makeup. Basically, I stopped enjoying my life.

Then lockdown came along and everything ground to a halt. Honestly, the pandemic simultaneously helped and hindered. During the first, big, months-long lockdown in the US, I couldn’t help but take a long hard look at my life. Back in my twenties, everyone loved the book The Alchemist by Paolo Cohelo. But I knew that I was supposed to wait to read that book. J owned it and it sat on the bookshelves of all of our different apartments and houses throughout the years. During the lockdown, I didn’t read it, but I listened to it on audio book. And there was that sourdough craze! I got really good at sourdough. As the weather warmed and spring came, I took up writing morning pages every single day. What started with taking walks around the park by my house while listening to The Alchemist turned into long walks every day with my Apple Watch and a podcast. Then I topped off the long walks with a workout when I got back home! I lost ten pounds and felt so much clarity. I really do believe that I was able manifest the move back to Zurich during that time. Absolutely.

When fall 2020 came and the weather changed, it was darker, I was helping my kids do school-from-home on laptops and I was definitely not doing morning pages, or walks, or any workouts. I gained back the ten pounds and then some thanks to the sheer terror of following through with this move. My own personal reign of terror spanned over the course of months and months and it just about killed me. It came in the form of doubts about the move from myself, and guilt trips and disapproval from others. When things with the move didn’t go exactly as I had planned, I found myself in a strange mix of total joy at being back in Zurich and complete horror at it not being enough. I knew full well in advance that moving back here wouldn’t magically fix everything (in fact it made everything from parenting to marriage to finishing my masters much much harder) but the fallout was immense. Substantial.

Summer was miserable. The weather was complete garbage and I still didn’t have a job. My masters completion was on hold and I felt powerless. It felt like I was stuck and yet I was so happy to be back in Zurich and living in Switzerland. It was confusing. I had the occasional burst of energy, during which I might rearrange a room or make a good dinner, but for the most part I was kind of checked out. I did some coaching with Rikki Lee and it was so beneficial. She uses The Five Elements from traditional Chinese medicine to understand emotional patterns and tendencies. The dust had settled just enough to focus and evaluate and look back and begin to process the last 7 years. I truly didn’t have time to do that while I was in the US because life was busy and demanding and I looking back it’s like I was in perpetual survival mode. 

Of course all of my hobbies had fallen away! I kept trying to hold onto them as part of my identity, but even my identity seemed to completely fall away. When the pandemic came along, it was a relief for me. I was so burnt out, way beyond anything four days at the beach could fix, and I needed that time out. (Obviously I’m only speaking to my own experience here.)

I wake up sort of stunned and amazed most mornings that I’m here. I’m in the place I longed to get back to more than anything, with a job I genuinely love in the very field I went back to school for (by the way, my Masters is going to be fully completed by the end of January and I’ll be a fully certified Washington State School Counselor:). I’m blown away that my kids are learning German and making friends and we’re becoming part of the local community. You know what else? I’m painting my nails again. Roasting chickens. Baking pies. Checking the schedule of the adult ballet classes I used to love so I can get back to them. Writing more. Reading more. I ordered the embroidery kit pictured from Cotton Clara and I can’t wait to get started on it. Since moving I still don’t have an iron, so I need to get one of those to make the fabric nice and flat before I start stitching, but I will! I’m decorating and planning where all of our artwork will go. I’m enjoying the little things like buying a new scent of fabric softener, or lighting candles and turning on the string lights on my balcony in the evenings.

In season two of YOU, Will (at that time) says when he gets the job at the Anavrin bookstore, “I think I just felt my soul come back into my body.” I binged season two of YOU on the plane ride back from Zurich to Spokane when I visited in January 2020. I heard that line and rewound it, listened to it again, then paused it and wrote it down. I wanted to feel my soul come back into my body. It was then that I realized it had left. Or maybe I had just left it in Zurich and been briefly reunited with it? I cannot say for sure. Now that I’m back here, and working, life feels good. I feel that my soul has come back into my body. It’s not perfect. Moving internationally as a family strains your kids and your marriage in major ways. But I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I’m enjoying my life a lot.

Join the conversation!

  1. Oh, Lindsey! What words! My heart breaks for you and me and everyone else who has lost themselves a little bit because of moves, jobs, parenthood, partnerhood, whatever. But here's to finding ourselves again and feeling our souls return to every inch of our bodies!

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  2. Thanks so much for this information. I have to let you know I concur on several of the points you make here and others may require some further review, but I can see your viewpoint

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