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Grew up without money

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My family had very little money when I was growing up, so often I couldn't pursue hobbies or other things I wanted to.  For example, I hardly ever got to go to the movies or buy books.  I just got used to the answer, "No, we can't afford it."  Then in high school and college I often had to work when my friends were doing fun things (going out, going to parties, skiing, etc.).  I'm not trying to have a pity party, just explaining how it was.

Now I'm an adult and while I don't have much money, I also have very little interest in hobbies or things that most others enjoy.  I don't do much of anything other than work (I have more than 1 job), watch tv, and hang out at home.  It is just very hard for me to try something new.

I think I would love certain things, for example skiing, but I'm sooo scared to try.  I would do it if I had a friend or boyfriend who encouraged me, but I'm scared to pursue things on my own.  When I've dated other people, I wonder if they were disappointed in my lack of hobbies and reliance on them.  I do have interests (like listening to music), but most of them are "passive" hobbies.

The interesting thing is that my brother and sister grew up in the same family but their reaction was totally different...they have very full lives and are busy with multiple hobbies and pursuits...almost to an extreme degree.  Whereas I withdrew and stopped wanting things I couldn't have...they somehow kept the desire and interest alive until they were able to make enough money.

To be quite honest, I feel extremely jealous of how "full" other people's lives are, and how many things they enjoy.  Any suggestions for how I can get over my fear and resistance towards trying new things?  And how can I develop new interests??  I'm just very scared and I also get bored easily.

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I'm glad to see that you're giving it some thought. It's good to have hobbies and interests. They not only make you a more "interesting person with a full life," but they can also be a great relief when the burdens of life and mental illness start to pile up.

The only way I know of to start doing things is to just start. I wish I could be more helpful. Maybe you and your tdoc could explore some of your possible interests and work out a strategy to get you to try some things.

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Around here, most dance and yoga studios offer free trial classes.  Sometimes it's on a set day of the month, whereas other places give a free first class to anyone, anytime.  If you're interested in more physical pursuits, you might want to investigate. 

I have never seen a YMCA offer free trials, but every member gets a six-freebie guest pass each year at locations I've used.  Some also offer free birthday guest passes and holiday season guest passes.  If you know any Y members, indicate your interest in seeing what they offer. 

Check bulletin boards for interesting groups or activities which take place in your area.  Book clubs, cooking clubs, hiking groups, roundtrip carpools to random cities, outdoor adventure clubs, jogging clubs -- investigate the possibilities and see what interests you. 

Are there any volunteer coordination organizations in your area?  They would have a list of volunteer positions open at various charities and other organizations.  Volunteering is addictive.  I encourage you to try it. 

Just random thoughts....

If I had money I would immediately enroll myself in adult beginner ballet classes and voice lessons.  Those are two of the three things I always wanted to do when I was young, but couldn't.  (I think I'll leave figure skating to the five-year-olds.)  Is there anything specific from your childhood that you felt left out of? 

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One thing to realize about hobbies is that they don't require a formal or irrevocable committment.   

You can try something, flower arranging, piano lessons, carpentry, ham radio and if you don't like it you can try another.

I would suggest that you start with something like a club or with lessons that meets on a regular schedule so that you can interact with and learn from/with others.

Good luck!


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I grew up just like you, there was no money for any activities and we only had one car, so there was no way to get anywhere either.

When I would fill out a questionaire and had to list interests or hobbies, I never had anything to put down.

When my son was growing up we tried any and every thing he expressed interest in: scouts, baseball (with private lessons), archery, paintball, martial arts, ice skating, roller blading, skateboarding, swimming, water skiing, coin and card collecting, weight lifting, NASCAR, remote control vehicle racing, we own every video games system that was ever made... and I'm sure I'm forgetting something .

One day he wanted to take guitar lessons.  This is the only thing he has ever stuck with.  He has overcome shyness and gets on stage and plays (and sings) in front of crowds.  If he is ever alone now it doesn't bother him, he picks up his guitar and plays for himself. 

I'm glad he expressed an interest in music, it has given him confidence and he has met a whole new group of friends.

Good luck finding your hobby!


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Guest billycat

hi Danna,      These are all excelent suggestions  from everyone.  However it is up to you to get beyond your fear of just trying something...even something really simple,  not to overwehlming. It's as if you are a smoker and people constantly tell you that you should quit....and you want to,but it won't happen until you make up your mind to do it.      The rewards can be great. Good luck.

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Check out what's available in your area.  My commuunity college has non-credit classes in everything from calligraphy to modern dance to scrapbooking.  I also suggest that if you like music, join a community chorus or choose an instrument and take lessons.  There are few things as satisfying as making music.  (It doesn't matter if you're talented or not--it's the effort and fun that matter.)

If you like animals, volunteer at an animal shelter and walk the dogs or play with the kitties.  If you like books, volunteer at your library.  If you like kids, coach a Little League team or volunteer to be an assistant scout leader.  If you like the outdoors, volunteer with an environmental group, or take up bird-watching or learn to paddle a kayak or canoe.

We had very little money growing up, and you don't need much for a lot of good hobbies and pasttimes.  I love to go to museums, and many of them are free.  Once you've paid for a digital camera, you can take photographs for a hobby and not spend a nickel.  You could take up jogging or walking. 

I took piano lessons in my 40s and had a great time.  My husband is learning a musical instrument and started in his 60s.  Explore something that has always seemed interesting to you.

good luck!


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You guys are full of ideas!  The digital photography is a great one as I already have a camera and have always been interested in photography.  I have signed up for two classes at an adult ed school, but they are both "self help" type classes so they are not really what I'm looking for as far as a new hobby.

For some reason I'm just so scared to try something new.  I do yoga 1x per week, but I had been thinking about taking it for several YEARS before I actually tried, if you can believe it.  But now it's something that I quite enjoy.

I guess the other thing I'm thinking about doing is joining the gym that I get a discount for through my job.  It's right across the street from where I work, but it's $40/month, which is sort of a lot for me.  BUT...I guess it's an investment in myself and I could certainly stand to tone up a bit.

I love writing here because I always feel that others can relate to me, and that in itself makes me feel better.  You guys are the best!

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  • 3 months later...

I hope you've been taking lots of pictures. That can be very fun. And there are various places on the net to put up fun pics. Some of mine are up, but I'm not telling where.

If you get a surplus of money, then downhill skiing is probably very easy to get going with. The new equipment is easy, you can rent for the day, and there are classes. But it's lots of dough.

For XC skiing, you can study up just a bit so you know what's what, buy 25 year old equipment from someone's basement, and have lots of fun on the nearest snow, probably even without instruction, tho I don't recommend going down much of a hill before you get comfortable.

My hobbies are mostly guy hobbies, tho I used to try Bonsai. (That can be very cheap if you take nursery plants and cut them down yourself, but requires long term dedication and consistency.) So, I guess I have the opposite problem because I need to give up hobbies if I don't want a dozen of them. If you like to make stuff, Google paper models, among other things. I make full sized boats and model airplanes. (the ones without radios are cheap) And lately I've made a couple of van de Graaff generators. Those are pretty cheap too. But I realize this is all stereotypical guy stuff. My s.o. mostly plays music, which is somewhat more than a hobby for her. She gets paid gigs now, even tho her interest is in ethnic music that you wouldn't expect to be popular.  My ex, apparently, used to like to sew and made her own unusual stuff to wear when she was in college and I think even in high school. My Dad belongs to a photography club in a relatively small town. And, when you start looking, there are a gazillion funny little hobbies out there. Anything from flower arranging to skeet shooting. And, someplace on the web, you will find some group discussing them.

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