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Easy hobbies to master quick so you can claim you did something with your iso time

WORDS BY FAYE COUROS

Why should our dedicated ceramic-making friends get all the applause?

Over the past few months, some of us have realised that eating out, the gym and Netflix don’t actually count as hobbies. This realisation is a real bummer now that eating out seems like a fever dream. As usual, Instagram has made it sneeringly obvious who has a cool hobby and who doesn’t, which is just another unnecessary reason to feel inadequate (adding to the list of insecurities we wouldn’t have if Instagram didn’t exist).

Whether it’s laziness, indecisiveness or the fear of not being good enough at something, there are plenty of activities varying in skill levels and effort for you to explore without the pressure to commit. And while hobbies are a great way to pass the time, relieve stress and keep our brains healthy, there is no need to become an avid knitter or professional ceramicist.

For those of us who are hoarding blank canvases, un-touched calligraphy pens and empty scrapbooks, here is a list of temporary hobbies that are perfect for anyone with commitment issues. Also, it might help you feel like you acquired something from all the long hours spent indoors, even if you only really picked it up this week.

Learn basic sign language phrases

The process of learning a language is complicated and requires a lot more commitment than a monthly Duolingo session. However, communication is what makes us connected and knowing other languages allows us to expand our world, as well as flex unique brain synapses and boost creative thinking.

Learning basic sign language isn’t difficult because it uses systematic techniques to communicate, and there are plenty of free resources online to self-teach yourself. Sign language is a very underrated skill, and if more people took time to learn even a couple of phrases, it would be a step towards a less ableist world.

To make learning fun find a friend to learn sign language with, that way you can motivate each other to practice and later on have sneaky secret conversations in public. Ultimately, this skill will provide you with the priceless opportunity to connect with someone new and spread some positivity out into the world.

Learn how to make coffee art on your daily flat white

We all know Australians are pedantic about coffee, and since it migrated from Italy’s la dolce vita soul, it has become a true blue Aussie drink of choice. If you have started to make more homemade coffees, you may be missing the skilful coffee art crafted by your local barista.

It’s possible to create these designs at home, and there are plenty of YouTube videos to guide you through the process of crafting hearts, spirals, rosettas and bears on your homemade cuppa. While there may be a lot of trial and error, you have every morning to practice. Also, may I add, your guests or housemates will be super in awe of your milk art.

Become a Scientific Botanical Illustrator by drawing your plant baby

A positive outcome of self-isolation has been watching our plants thrive now they’re the attention they deserve. So why not show your plants a little more love by becoming a scientific botanical illustrator, and treating your plantae to a self-portrait – the leafy Kate Winslet to your amateur Leonardo DiCaprio.

Creating a scientific botanical illustration is mostly line work paired with attention to detail, and you can sketch your plant and paint over it with watercolours or coloured pencils. It’s a great one-time activity or something to do over time to document your plant’s growth.

Make some DIY cards and send them to your friends and family

Can’t remember the last time you sent someone a letter? Me neither. Of course, you can go to the shop and buy a pre-made card, but I think it’s a little more personal to get out the craft box and make a homemade card.

Making someone a DIY card is a wholesome activity that only needs as much attention you want to give. Just a little bit of effort will go a long way, and it’s a cost-effective gift to show someone how much you love them. Even if your drawing skills extend no further than stick figures and love hearts, and as a result, you are laughed at, know the mocking is out of love.

Go crazy with glitter, textas, stickers and whatever else you can find around the house. As for the message inside, don’t feel pressured to write a 500-word dissertation about how much you appreciate your loved one – a short note will do.

Become an amateur Australian wine sommelier

OK so becoming a sommelier is super exclusive, but no one said you couldn’t claim to be a wine expert (of sorts). Australia is as famous for its wine as France is these days (ugh, how classy we have become) and right now we must support our local vineyards.

Basically, all you have to do is go to the bottle shop, choose a selection of wines and get taste testing. Make notes, like how the Pikes Riesling has strong floral aromas, and the Penfolds Shiraz tastes rich but delicate. Think of this as an opportunity to drink wine for ‘educational purposes’ and maybe have a little fun doing it. 

Come up with your very own signature cocktail 

A signature cocktail is a super luxurious, very adult, Stanley Tucci approved hobby. After a long hard day of failing to be productive and a creeping feeling of nostalgia for your favourite bar where you would have once downed espresso martinis on a Friday night, your signature cocktail will be your saving grace.

Garnish your cocktail with Persian fairy floss, freeze-dried fruits, make it strong, make it fruity, light it on fire or keep it simple. And as the cherry (or no cherry, totally up to you) on top, you can name it after yourself.

Write a poem in a literary style you always wanted to master

Sometimes poetry feels like an untouchable art that shouldn’t be attempted unless you’re someone born to craft words. However, despite the pretension surrounding poetry, it’s a quick way to flex your writing muscles that have been in hibernation since year 11 English.

If you have always wanted to master a Haiku but have been too afraid to try, why not carve out an hour to attempt one? Don’t put pressure on yourself, and don’t feel like you need to sit there for hours editing the poem. 

Please do not feel like it needs to be good! Go ahead and fill your poem with clichés, overuse similes, create dodgy metaphors, and be as sappy or as bitter as you like. Some poetry styles to try: rhymed poetry, sonnet, soliloquy, ode, and villanelle.

Learn how to count to ten in five languages 

Isn’t it just the worst when you start a new job, or on the first day of university and the boss/teacher asks everyone to share a fun fact? THE. WORST. Well, why not prepare a fun fact like: “I can count to ten in five languages.”

It isn’t a fun fact per se, but it’s amusing to randomly count in another language in your head throughout the day. Like counting how many apples you need in French, counting how many cups of tea you need to make in Russian or counting down in Dutch. It’s likely only you will find this skill amusing, but that’s okay because you will have the satisfaction of feeling culturally literate.

Hot tip – if you learn how to say, “Hi, how are you? I am sorry I can’t speak (insert language)” in the languages of countries you plan on travelling to, it will help you appear respectful and in turn, make your experience with locals even better.

Perfect one recipe for a three-course dinner

When did dinner parties go out of style? Yes, restaurants are awesome but going out to eat isn’t as intimate. At a dinner party, people can hang around all night, eating food made with love, talking as loudly as they like and no one has to worry about the other table overhearing an NSFR (not suitable for restaurant) anecdote. 

Since we all have the time at the moment, even the most anxious chef (hey!) can spend hours or days or even a week, attempting to perfect one recipe for a three-course dinner. That’s just one entrée, one main and one dessert to master. Anyone can do it (here’s hoping).

And now that we’re allowed up to five friends to our homes, why not invite your friends over for dinner and impress them with your new culinary talents? It’s up to you if you want to disclose that the three dishes are the extent of your cooking abilities or act nonchalant about throwing everything together super last-minute.

Either way I am sure your friends will be more than grateful to be in the same room, eating food (however it turns out), and celebrating the privilege of sitting side-by-side in good health. 

All you crafty girls of the early 2000s, why not get back into the scoobie key chain game?

The locker rooms in noughties primary schools were littered with scoobies hanging from school bags. Scoobies are a non-fussy version of knitting and can be a great break from screen time or to entertain you while watching Netflix (instead of going on your phone).

Become an expert in one random subject 

To become an expert on a subject may seem like a laborious task, but if you sneakily apply your own definition of what an expert is then within two or three hours of research, you can claim expert status on your subject of choice. The topic can be as mundane or obscure as you like!

Anything that takes your fancy, for example, you could become an expert on dugongs (who believe it or not are close relatives to elephants), women in Mesopotamia (the ancient civilisation was actually quite progressive), or what exactly is at the bottom of the ocean (not recommended if it will make you fear the beach).

The topic of choice doesn’t have to be interesting, topical or something that is easily woven into conversation. It’s just fun for your brain to fall down a research rabbit hole, and I am sure your best friend won’t mind if you knowledge bomb them with all your research. 

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