Hobbies and Me: Climbing Invisible Mountains

I love my hobbies very passionately and I know I mainly discuss their greatness. What I don’t often talk about is the hurdles that I often face with them both internally and externally.

For those of you who don’t know,

I’m J and I have ADHD!

ADHD can make having hobbies an interesting experience. Growing up I went through a million hobbies and special interests. Crochet, knitting, drawing, worldbuilding, and so on. Some stuck but most did not. Special interests or hyper fixations are something that can completely engross me for hours. To the point of forgetting to eat or drink. It’s not something I discuss often as people seem to dismiss ADHD as a valid condition and often do the “oh I do that” or “lazy”. This can be infuriating. Most people don’t go through the struggles of those with ADHD.

I have either an extremely hard time focusing or am so focused that it’s hard to do anything else. I have a million projects going on that can be difficult to focus on or complete. Currently with about six or seven half-built or half-painted kits, along with a handful of minis that I’ve had for years. Not that most people don’t deal with that but the size of the mountains we face are different.

I have spent years in this hobby trying to come up with techniques on how to keep focused, on track, and organized. That way I do finish projects on occasion and my workbench doesn’t always look like a raccoon’s apartment. Does this happen all the time? Absolutely not. I still have projects that are a year or older collecting dust and waiting on the day that I finish them.

My ADHD often also finds difficulties on the social side of hobbies. I can get really nervous when interacting face-to-face with people who I talk to online or have a difficult time picking up tones over messages. I found myself at a loss for words when at a build event with people I’ve spoken to online for years. I am also in a hobby in which I do very weird things and that can put people off. I used to be extremely nervous about it but have slowly begun to overcome that obstacle.

or my low self-esteem kicks in when I’m surrounded by people who I often look up to.

Not that I blame this on any of my hobbies, in fact, I’m very grateful for it. Ever since I started participating and being active in hobby communities I’ve begun to feel more comfortable. My public speaking skills have improved. I feel more comfortable expressing who I am and what I do. I’m no longer embarrassed about my art and likes. I’m honestly surprised that so many people are interested in my own special interests!

Friends! I’ve made so many great friends that I would not have known if I did not do any of my hobbies! I got friends all over the globe isn’t that great?

I get such a great dopamine reward from doing the hobby that it’s amazing! I don’t fidget as much when I’m building or painting (take that fidget cube!). Good old neurotransmitters for the win!

Deadlines

One thing that I learned as a kid is that my work and projects can be completed if I have a deadline. It worked wonders for school and surprisingly works wonders for builds. Events and contests are a great way for me to stay on task and complete a project. I have several that I completed recently due to the fact that I have two IPMS events coming up in both September and October.

So what I’ve been doing is setting up deadlines on google calendars for finishing things up. For example: at the end of August I need to have my second 1:1 haro painted on the inside and outside. I just got the base layer done two weeks ago for the outside and have been working on finishing up the top layer for it. I still need to paint the inside.

Accountability/Friendly Reminders

Sometimes it’s great to have others who understand and will check up on you.

I’ll get the occasional “How’s is ___ going?”, “Did you finish ___?’ or even a “That has been sitting there for months, ya need to finish it.”. Seems a bit rough but sometimes I need the reminder.

Background noise

This is either a great hit or a big miss. I need SPECIFIC background noises when working on a project or else I can’t focus. I found that streams, brown/pink noise, or certain music help me focus.

I often get very distracted by household noises (vacuums, washer, dryer,) or people interrupting me when I finally get focused.

Honesty

Sometimes I just have to be plain honest with myself. This can be extremely difficult at times because no one really enjoys blunt honesty with themselves.

For example:

I love Tyranids from Warhammer. I got a few. Do I honestly think that I will paint them in a short amount of time? God no. I have a Hive Tyrant that I have been working on and off for a year. Am I getting it done? Sure! This year? No.

Honesty also helps me think about ways to deal with a problem. Am I going to paint this unicorn anytime soon because I keep on getting frustrated with it? Nope. Will setting it down for a bit to work on it later help? Sure. Doing so has helped me rework some problems that I had with it.

Impulse Control

Sometimes our brain loves the endorphin rush of buying new kits and that can be not so great. My raccoon brain goes feral when I see hobby stores are having a sale because I love Gundam and I would like more!

Does my wallet love it? Absolutely not. Not one bit.

I’ve set up a monthly allowance on how much I can spend on each hobby. If I don’t spend it at the end of the month then it goes to something else. I never spend above the allowance because I am enthralled with my university and that requires money.

If I do buy over allowance then it needs to be something spectacular or something that I will absolutely use.

Taking a Break

Sometimes, like I’ve mentioned in a few other posts, taking a break may be the best thing. It’s okay to step away from our hobbies for a bit. Go for a walk, remember to drink water, or find a fun movie to watch.

What difficulties have you faced in the hobby?


Hope you all enjoyed this post! Thank you for reading it! If you have any questions, drop them below.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

-J

3 thoughts on “Hobbies and Me: Climbing Invisible Mountains

  1. Good to know you like reminders, especially since I want to hire you to write something for me! I guess this counts as a reminder?

    Liked by 1 person

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