Category Archives: Introduction

Never Have I Ever (Until Now): The Prologue

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Five years ago, this last week, I set off on a journey that I never anticipated would change my life in such an incredible way. The goal was to try 52 hobbies in 52 weeks. At the onset, I had intended to write a book compiling the experiences and sharing them. I wasn’t sure at the time if the book would be a quirky coffee-table accessory or if something else might evolve. As it turns out, I never published the book, but I did write most of it. Over time, I’ve gone back to it, time-and-time again. With the five year anniversary of the project, I’ve decided that it’s time to start sharing it: One chapter at a time.

Never Have I Ever (Until Now) – The Prologue

Find your passion and run with it. Don’t look back. Thank the people who call you crazy–anyone who’s crazy enough to pursue their dreams is strong enough to achieve them too.

An Intro

“You really need to quit something,” My supervisor tells me as she walks by my office door. “You’re taking on too much.”

My supervisor is right–I’m taking on a lot.

It’s January of 2012. I’m an associate television producer for the City of New York who has recently, in her free time, started writing and performing stand up comedy, perfecting her drawing skills, training for her second half-marathon, and doing photography with a digital SLR. And now I am signing myself up for an acting workshop.

My day planner is filling up faster than a doctor’s office during flu season.

My mom would tell you that I was just as active as a kid as I am when my supervisor tells me that I need to quit something. When I was younger, I played field hockey, baseball, soccer, basketball, and softball. I’d attempted the clarinet, I’d tip-toed through a ballet class, I’d sailed in a lake, I’d canoed across a pond, and I kayaked down a river. My parents would rush me from one athletic practice to another; from one gym and on to the next. I was relentless. I never stopped.

But then I grew up, and my willingness to try new things suddenly came to a halt. For several years, I was in a funk. I had fallen into depression and I had forgotten how to live life fully and completely. I would say that I wanted to try something and then I’d never try it. I’d fear failure or judgment from my peers. And instead, I’d mope on my couch about how I’d never be good at anything. I’d lost my sense of wonder. I had lost my yearning for learning new things. I had lost my smile, my laughter, my sense of joy. I had concerned myself so much with destinations that I had forgotten that what really mattered was the journey.

With the new activities, the stand up comedy, the drawing, the photography, and the acting, I felt that I was finally opening myself up to a life that I had been letting slip to the way side. And now, suddenly, I felt as though the progress I was making with the activities was being threatened as my supervisor told me that I needed to quit something.

I didn’t want to quit anything. I didn’t want to limit my life to going to work, coming home, cooking (or getting take out) and going to sleep. I didn’t want to experience living solely from the couch in my artist loft.

So instead of heeding my supervisor’s advice, in February of 2012, I set out on a yearlong quest in the hope of navigating my way to a life that extended beyond my 9-5 job and beyond the sadness I had sulked in for years. I decided that in opposition to quitting anything, I instead wanted to try one new activity or hobby each week for an entire year.

I started to brainstorm names for the quest and came up with “The Hobby Hoarder.” I used my lunch to draw logos on blank pieces of paper and to write lists of hobbies or activities that I could try that I had never tried before. I hadn’t even started the project and I was beaming with excitement.

Over the next couple of weeks, I continued to brainstorm on the year, and began telling people what I was going to do. As I sat down to coffee with a friend, she said, “So you are going to live like you are dying.”

My eyes brightened. “No. I’m going to live like I am living!”

The truth is that I don’t believe we should live as if we are dying. Instead, I think we should live each day as though it’s one of our firsts: full of excitement and ambition, full of curiosity, full of fear, full of imagination, and full of wonder, full of an openness toward whatever comes our way—that’s right—we should live each day like it’s our first.

For so long, I had forgotten what firsts felt like. When we are young, our firsts are celebrated with smiles and applause and sometimes balloons. First step. First word. First hit in tee-ball. First A+. But somewhere between the time we share our first kiss and the time we hit our twenties, we lose our thirst for the sensation we feel when we experience something for the first time. Firsts can make us realize what we are passionate about: Maybe you’ve never taken a dance class before but when you do you figure out that you’re meant to be the next Beyonce. Maybe you’ve never swung from a trapeze before, but that first time you do, you realize you’re meant to be in the circus. Or maybe you’ve never piloted a plane before, but then you do and you discover that you were always meant to fly.

Firsts can make life worth living. But when we hit a certain age, it’s almost as if we forget to let ourselves experience those firsts. We get caught in “Busy traps” (NyTimes) and “life takes over.” But that’s not true. Life doesn’t take over: Work takes over—financial restraints take over. Think about the last time someone asked you to do something and you said you couldn’t. What was your excuse? If you’re without children was it work? Was it money? Life clearly does not take over. If anything, life takes a backseat ride.

Too many times, we get so caught up in our daily routines and our jobs that the only thing we concern ourselves with when we get home is kicking back.

But that’s not how life’s supposed to be—not at all. Life is supposed to be enjoyable. Life is supposed to be full of challenges—and then exceeding our expectations of those challenges. Life is supposed to be full of fear and overcoming that fear. It is supposed to be about saying I’d love to do that and then actually doing it. Surprisingly life is supposed to be about living.

I hope that before you continue reading this book, you’ll step away. You’ll grab a pen and a paper—and you’ll start writing down everything you want to try this year—that you’ll make your own quest—to live.

And if you haven’t stepped away yet, and have disobeyed my only wish, then welcome! Strap on your seat belts, make sure your seats are in their upright position, understand that the only emergency exit is to live your own life—and that it’s now time to take flight. Literally.

All Aboard.

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School of Rock & Roll & Friends

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I can’t echo myself enough when I say that the most intimidating moments of my year have not been when I was face to face with creatures of the sea in the shark tank—or in the moment before I was going to jump out of a plane. No, instead the most intimidating moments of this year have been when I have sat down—or stood—with a friend and taken a chance to learn their craft. It’s as if I don’t want them to think I suck—or that I am insulting their craft with how bad I am. But even they were beginners once too—and that’s the part I have to remind myself.

I recently had the chance to sit down with two of my good friends in New York City, on two separate occasions, and learn both of their skills—both of their full-time hobbies—and both of their passions.

I first sat down with Grady who taught me how to pluck four chords on a guitar, and I then sat down with Brandon who taught me how manage a loveable beat on the drums.

I was fortunate enough to meet Grady and Brandon who perform in a band together called Assorted Animals, when I first moved to the city. After getting invited to a party that they were both at, I slowly became more and more integrated into their group of friends, started going to their shows, and enjoying post-show chats and outings.

71511_715299107834_7460720_n                                                GRADY and ME 2010 Going Away Party

67259_715298883284_6598091_n                                                ME and BRANDON 2010 Going Away Party

After just a few months of living in Manhattan, I was happy to have found such good friends—talented friends.  Due to hectic schedules and the rush of New York City, we don’t get to hang out as much as I’d like, so this was the perfect opportunity to see and spend time with both of them.

As I sat down with Grady, I reminisced on just how lucky I was to have met him—to have this opportunity to learn from him. Patiently and perfectly, he described how to sit comfortably, how to hold the guitar, and how to relax my hands to make for better playing. I remember just once prior to this lesson picking up a guitar, in 7th grade music class, and being incapable of wrapping my head—and hands around the musical beauty.  But now, after less than just two hours, I had gotten the basic four chords down and Grady was playing along with me.  Appropriately, we were playing a slowed down version of “Time of Your Life” by Green Day.

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This past week, when I sat down with Brandon, my patience with the drum set, grew thin. Like trying to figure out a rubrics cube, I could feel myself growing frustrated: I couldn’t get my left hand to work with my right or my right hand to work with my right foot. I felt as though I was a shambles. I’d turn to Brandon and apologize for my inability—and he’d smile and say, ”It’s okay. Let’s just try again.” And so we did—again, and again, and again. “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,” I whispered to myself. “Right hand/right foot, right hand, left foot” and I continued this repetition until I was playing 2 measures—3 measures—4 measures, and at some point I lost count—at some point I lost myself in the music.  And even though we weren’t playing the Green Day hit, as I had with Grady, I still felt as though I was having the time of my life.

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Early in the drumming lesson, Brandon told me that this was his first time ever teaching drumming lesson. My response was simple, “Great! That means you are hobby hoarding as well. YAY!” After our lesson, I told Brandon he should continue giving lessons—that I really enjoyed his time and felt that I had learned a lot. I also told him that this year has given me a way to spend time with people that I don’t often get to spend time with due to harsh schedules and that I was grateful we could work something out. Brandon was grateful too.

On the earlier occasion when Grady and I left the studio, I smiled and thanked him immensely. He seemed just as pleased with this lesson as I did. And while walking toward the train, Grady turned to me and said, “I think I want to start teaching more lessons.” And soon after, I received a text message from him saying, “That was great fun and quite inspirational for me as well.”

My intimidation of working with friends was now gone. I could tell that this was just as much an experience for them –as it was for me.

And with Grady’s message I knew, the hobby hoarding—had done as I always hope it will—worked both ways.

228770_1609774177584_1835743_n                                  BRANDON & GRADY July 4, 2011: Courtesy Grady’s Facebook

Brandon and Grady perform in a band called Assorted Animals. Their keyboard/piano/vocalist Laura Fisher can be seen in one of my earlier posts giving me a singing lesson.

Check them out at www.assortedanimals.com

The Hobby Hoarder Heads to the Circus: Unicycle Riding

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If you ever say you can’t- you won’t. Stop can’ting and won’ting and start trying and doing. It’s called life so start living it.

When I scheduled a unicycle lesson with Cody over email a few weeks ago, I didn’t know what I was in for. I’ve seen people unicycle before–and I knew it was hard–but I didn’t know just how truly difficult it would be–to even get on the one wheeled mobile.

But on the day of the hobby, I began getting a bit nervous–which is odd for me–I don’t get nervous–heck I let a guy use me as his knife throwing target-but this–this seemed dangerous. So I went out and bought a helmet, elbow pads, wrist guards, and knee pads, and pretended I wasn’t scared I’d nose dive off this thing onto my face–when truly I was terrified.

The terror ultimately become my biggest enemy. I’ve learned recently that when I am anxious about something going well or right–and what people may think of me–I laugh like a hyena through nearly the entire event. On my first attempt, I giggled like a little girl trying to do the monkey bars the entire time. My frame of mind had affected me so much that I asked immediately how to get off this contraption.

But after watching Cody go again, I gave it another shot. Frustrated, I dismounted from the bike–and then tried once more…with much more success. So it goes back to the old saying–if at first you don’t succeed–try, try again.

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Oh and the Hobby Hoarder even got to experience something else that was really rewarding–another person–and friend also giving the unicycle their own first try. What does this mean? You should really stop saying can’t–and won’t and start getting out there–Start living life. Check out Mike Bonner’s succesful attempt:

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Cody Buesing
www.codybuesing.com 

Special Thanks
Jeff Lutz
www.ifeltawkwardwhen.com

Michael Bonner
www.takebacksproductions.tumblr.com 

The Hobby Hoarder is a Ninja: Samurai Sword Fighting

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For a free intro samurai sword fighting class contact swordclassnyc@gmail.com and tell them you found them through                           The Hobby Hoarder.
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Five ways to be  a stealthy Ninja:

1. Know which  side of the sword is the blade–and which side of the sword is not the blade.
2. Patience
3.  Be fearless.
4. Make sure the sword is the correct size for you
5. Master self-control

Watch my instructor:

Watch cutting practice:

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For a free intro samurai sword fighting class contact swordclassnyc@gmail.com and tell them you found them through The Hobby Hoarder.

Sword Class NYC

Libs Segal is THE Hobby Hoarder

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Pole dancing. Samurai sword fighting. Hip-Hop Dancing. Stunt jumping. Horseback riding. Kickboxing. Tap dancing. Bookbinding. Sewing. Fencing. Pottery.

::Inhale::

Knitting. Portrait drawing. Meditation. Beer brewing. Wine making. Tea tasting. Finger painting.  Water skiing.

::Exhale::

Jewelry making. Needle pointing. Birding. Gardening.

::Breathe::

Overwhelmed, yet?

            In 23 years, Libs Segal, a stand up comic, writer, and associate producer has played field hockey, baseball, softball, soccer, and basketball.

She has done ballet, played clarinet, swam, competed in the 24 game challenge, drawn a sketchbook of animal images, ran a half-marathon, and gone skiing. She has made films, published essays, managed a blog, collected baseball cards, taken thousands of photos, participated in an acting class, and has traveled around Europe.

AND now she is starting a year long quest to try anything and everything that she has yet to have tried–a year long quest to take risks–a year long quest to fall down, and get back up–and last but not least a year long quest for sexiness, health, adventure, self-reflection, and happiness.

52 Hobbies in 52 Weeks.

The quest to become a professional amateur is ON.

Libs Segal is THE Hobby Hoarder.

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