People are too hard on themselves.
I’m here to tell you to lighten up.
I say this because the other day I read about a woman who said she had no hobbies.
And I thought to myself, she’s defining hobby too narrowly.
In other words, she’s being too hard on herself.
Which is something women do.
And men, too.
One thing I’ve observed about the world is that it’s always the wrong people who are too hard on themselves. There are plenty of people who should be hard on themselves, but they aren’t, and they’re all in Congress.
Anyway, I’m here to tell you that a hobby can be anything you like to do.
Reading, cooking, and even binge-watching TV can even be a hobby.
Honestly, I think it counts.
If you binge-watch a show, you're following the characters and the plotline and you want to see what happens next, and somebody has worked very hard to put this all together for you, and here you are, using your whole brain and watching it, so it counts as a hobby.
And if you can use the Search function on Netflix, give yourself some credit.
You shouldn’t have to accomplish anything for a hobby.
Or even move around.
That could be a difference between work and a hobby.
What this means is that you might think you’re a person with no hobbies, but in fact, you probably have a zillion hobbies.
The other reason I say this is because I regard myself as a person with a zillion hobbies, and the only thing I work really hard at is my job. Otherwise, I enjoy my hobbies, so much so that I require nothing of myself to do them.
I stay a beginner forever, and I believe it is the secret to hobby success.
For example, I’ve been riding horses for 20 years now, but I never ride faster than a trot. I ride with group of women and all we do is talk the whole time. None of us has become better riders or improved in any way. We do not enter competitions or challenge ourselves in the least. We’re still beginners, and we’re happy.
Same thing with bicycle riding. I like to ride my bicycle, but I ride it slowly with my best friend Franca and we talk the whole time. Cyclists zoom past us on the trail, working hard at their hobbies.
“On your left” is music to our ears.
We move over and keep talking.
I don’t even like to ride outside when it's chilly, so two years ago, I bought a Peleton bike, which was when I realized I am a forever beginner.
I love my Peleton bike, but I'm not like those people in the commercials, who pedal like crazy and sweat. I never sweat, because that would mean I was working hard. Peloton sells a sweat pad to put underneath the bicycle and I knew instantly that I would not need one.
The way Peleton works is that each time you ride, you choose a class on a video screen and pick whichever level you want. They have Beginner Level, Advanced Beginner, Low Impact Ride, Climb Ride, Intervals Ride, Power Zone Ride, and about a zillion other rides.
You know which class I pick, every time?
Beginner Level, for 20 minutes.
There is no lower level or fewer minutes.
In other words, you can't do less.
So I have been a Beginner for two years.
I don't even do Advanced Beginner, because it's a slippery slope, my friends.
They have a Low-Impact Ride, but I wouldn't even do a No-Impact Ride.
And I avoid the Power Zone Ride, having empowered myself to do so.
I even choose the same instructor, namely the great Robin Arzon, and occasionally on the video, she will say something like, “Everyone, feel free to try a harder ride when you’re up for it,” and it's the only time I don’t obey her.
I will never try a harder ride.
I’m never up for it.
Because it's my hobby.
And I remain a Beginner.
Of course this means I can do most of the things that the Beginner Level asks of me. And you know what's wrong with that?
I feel great every time I get on the bicycle.
Because I can do everything.
I never sweat.
And the music is great.
And because it's so damn easy, I do it on a regular basis.
If it were hard, I would never do it.
Bottom line, laziness works.
My lack of motivation has become an exercise program.
There is such a thing as beginner’s luck.
The trick is to make it last forever.
Look for Lisa and Francesca’s humor collection, “I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses,” and the paperback of Lisa’s best-selling domestic thriller, “Someone Knows,” in stores now. firstname.lastname@example.org.