Tag Archives: passion

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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You Can’t Sleep on Your Talents

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It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to audition for a TV Talent show, so when I discovered that America’s Got Talent would  be holding auditions on the west side of Manhattan, I knew that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to head to the audition and at least give myself a shot. So on Saturday night and Sunday morning, I prepared 90 seconds of stand up comedy material,  set my alarm for 6:30am, woke up, signed my electronic release and made my way over to the Mercedes complex where 90 people were already in front of me. I could FEEL positive energy swirling everywhere. People were singing, taking photos with impersonators, doing magic tricks, playing their guitars and chatting amongst one another about the day ahead. I sipped calmly on my coffee and struck up a conversation with a couple of people standing around me. We went back and forth quizzing each other on what one our talents were and how we thought we’d do. Then someone who was auditioning asked me why I love stand up comedy. And I said that’s easy:

“I love stand up comedy because I just really enjoy having the opportunity to bring joy to the lives of others. If I can make other people laugh, then I’ve had a good–no–great day.”

The person smiled at me and we continued chatting a bit before the line was eventually released to check-in.

Due to a confidentiality clause in the paperwork that I signed, THAT’s about all I can share with you about the audition process–that and of course the fact that 

On Sunday, November 17, I auditioned for America’s Got Talent.

Libs

So rather than detail what happened after I got through the registration line, I thought I’d share SIX positive life lessons I took away from auditioning for a TV Talent Show.

1. Show up.
You can’t sleep on your talents, your dreams, your aspirations or your opportunities. The biggest mistake you can make when it comes down to giving yourself a shot, going on stage and performing, trying something new or going to an audition is physically not being there.  AND no matter the way the performance went, audition or first time trying something went–OR no matter the way you think the performance, audition, or activity went, be proud of yourself for giving it a shot, for maybe stepping out of your comfort zone–but especially for just stepping out of bed to get wherever you are going. Because let’s be honest, getting out of bed to be somewhere can often be the hardest part. 

WoodyBetter

2. Cockiness vs Confidence vs Positive Thinking
Cockiness is bad.
Confidence is good.
And Positive Thinking is better.
And there is absolutely a difference between having confidence and staying positive. Positivity will attract other positive people to you. If you stay bright and you keep a smile on your face–other positive people will flock to you. Trust me, you don’t want to be waiting for an audition (for anything) with an orb of negative energies surrounding you the entire time.

3. Passionate people are just more interesting.
Having passion is more interesting than having experience. Being a passionate person about life and the joys of your hobby or your talent is much more interesting that simply a resume of experiences. You can have a lot of experience in something, but if if you don’t come off as interested and passionate about your craft–then it just won’t matter. Through auditioning for the show I had the opportunity to meet a mix of both experienced and passionate people. I got bored very quickly with people just rattling off their resume of comedy clubs they’ve performed at, but felt very enthralled in the conversations where people spoke with an excitement–a drive–a passion.

The experienced people might get jobs or interviews–but the passionate ones change the world.

4. Be the best you that you can be.
Whether it’s five people you are up against or 1 million people you are up against whether it be in an audition or for a job opportunity–the ONLY thing that matters in the audition room or in the application process is how you do–not them. You can’t control how someone else will perform under pressure. You can ONLY be the best version of yourself when it’s time to step up to the plate.

5. Know yourself better than anyone else.
At the audition, after someone overheard me say I did comedy, he asked if I could do any impressions. I said I can do one impression pretty perfectly–myself. The more I’ve thought about that statement, the more meaning it has taken on. Be sure that before you try to do the impression of someone else in order to impress others–that you know one person better than anyone else in this world–and so that if anyone asks you who you can act most like–you can be honest and proud to say the best impression you can do–and the person you know better than anyone in this world is…yourself.

6. Let others inspire you.
Share your stories and your talents with others–and also let others share their stories and talents with you.
You never know–Someone might just inspire you.

 

48 Hour Film Project: NYC

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I am staring at the clock. It’s 3:23 AM. Traffic is moving in a very specific rhythm outside. I watch as lights cast shadows through my friend’s living room, and I restlessly try to catch some shut eye. I close my eyes, but like a kid waiting for her birthday, I can’t fall asleep. I’m too anxious. I’m too excited for what’s ahead. We are only eight hours into the 48 Hour Film Project (NYC), a competition that asks groups of filmmakers to create a 4-7 minute short film in under 48 hours. Filmmaking. THIS is the HOBBY and CAREER I moved to New York City for. And while I’ve done much of my own filmmaking and video work–I’ve never ever taken part in a film competition. This is what we call: Awesome. As I open my eyes again and stare at the ceiling, I can feel my excitement only growing with each echo of each car that passes under the bridge outside. We’ve finished our our script, we’ve plotted our shot list, and in three hours we are going to wake up to shoot a movie. And all I am thinking in my head is “Hell. Freaking. Yah.”

***************************

It can be very lonely in New York City–especially when you first move here.

 I moved to New York City in January of 2010, and I can remember, very vividly, two months into my move, walking out of my internship, calling my best friend on the phone, and crying to her for an hour about how lonely I was–how I didn’t know if I could make it here–how I wanted desperately to be able to make friends who were creative, who were ready to collaborate, who were passionate, who were looking to make things happen–BIG things–earth shaking things-friends who were ready to take on the world as if it were Mount Everest and fight hard earned battles to make it to the top.

What I’ve learned from that loneliness is a lesson in persistence, and in patience, and in passion.

I realized that I couldn’t make these friends that I was seemingly struggling to find if I didn’t put myself out there, if I didn’t take an initiative to start and to create myself. This city is comprised of 8 million people–I can’t break down the stats for you on where they are all from–or how they all got here, but I can safely say that many of these people are searching for a light in a tunnel that leads to success–a light in a tunnel that may perhaps lead to a Broadway Stage, or a credit on a feature film; a light in a tunnel that may lead to a sold out concert at SummerStage or a part in Shakespeare in the Park; a light in a tunnel that leads to a metaphorical pot of gold symbolizing that all dreams did indeed come true.

I knew that within those eight million people, amidst all of the skyscrapers, all of the Broadway shows, and all of the chaos of the city that these people were out there. I just had to be very clear that I too was one of these dreamers.

And then it happened.

I made a good friend through my internship, who could see my passion and my drive as I shared my latest projects and or films with her. She could also see my willingness to put myself out there and to openly express my interest in “making it” in order, not to be famous, but rather to make an impact on another person’s life.  And so she introduced me to many of her friends in the Big Apple.

She, herself, was a young makeup artist who was working on TV shows and movies. And her friends? Young cooks, young  chefs, young musicians, young actors, young filmmakers, young producers, young directors, young writers, younger performers, young singers. Most of them worked shifts at Ruby Tuesdays to pay the bills. But what stood out more than anything to me, was that like me–they were all dreamers. And they still are.

Since that first year of living in New York City, I have maintained many of the friendships I have made with these friends. And I am proud of that. I have seen each of them do amazing work. I’ve seen dreams transition to realities–and I’ve seen passion and persistence and patience, all the things I needed in order to make these friends, play out in extremely rewarding ways.

Our conversations extend from general “How are yous?” to endless banter, debates and smiles over all things creative.

“You liked that movie? But it didn’t have this, this or this….” and “But his acting in this was far superior to his acting in…” “I just think he should have never made that film.”

I always wondered when I’d get the chance to sit down and work with some of the people I connected with when I first moved here.

That answer was this weekend, for the 48 Hour Film Project, in which a team of 14 of us, organized by my good friend Kim, took on the aforementioned challenge to create a 4-7 minute film in just 48 hours.

On that team were  6 individuals from that initial group of friends that I forged friendships with founded on a common love of film, television, and theatre. On that team were also 7 individuals that I had never had the pleasure to meet before–but who I can’t imagine not surrounding myself with again.

Each team must enter with a team name, and when the festival kicks off each team must select at random a genre. After the genre is chosen, EVERY team must then make sure that they include three specific details within their film: a specific character, a prop, and a line (Genres differ but specific details remain consistent for all teams). All of this is noted here.

Our Team: Ruby Squared Productions
Our Genre: Dark Comedy
Character: Cat or Cam Dean–an ad executive
Prop: Trophy
Line: When do you expect her?

In less than 48 hours, we scripted, we crafted, we envisioned, we executed, we edited, we composed, we exported, and we delivered a 6:30 minute dark comic film; a 6:30 minute film that gave us all a little reminder why we came to New York, why that patience and persistence in pursuing our passions mattered and what we are truly capable of when we take on a challenge and attack it together, and lastly a little reminder what happens when the talking stops and the making of films starts: Magic.

In his book, Here is New York, E.B White writes: “There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something…Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion.”

Here’s to the settlers that I had the brilliant opportunity to work with this past weekend:
Alex Zingaro, Brandon Jacobs, Brandon Opel, Brandon Pro, Chris Grady, Kimberly DiPersia, MaryLynn Suchan, Matt Van Vorst, Megan Magee, Nate Smith, Robert DeSanti, Sean Gallagher, and Shannon Kendall.

And here’s to being patient, persistent, and passionate.

Here are some stills of the production process:

IMG_1779Photo Credit Megan Magee

IMG_1796Photo Credit Megan Magee

IMG_1792Photo Credit Megan Magee

sound Photo Credit MaryLynn Suchan

PreproPhoto Credit MaryLynn Suchan


RoofPhoto Credit MaryLynn Suchan

AND basically how we all felt after:

mattPhoto Credit Shannon Kendall

Top 5 Reasons to Take a Pilot Lesson

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This week marks the year anniversary that I tried one of my favorite hobbies of last year, piloting a plane. I wanted to celebrate that landmark with a post on the 5 reasons you should consider taking a pilot lesson:

  1. There is absolutely nothing more freeing than using the plane to paint the canvas of the world down below.
  2. You can break from the bounds of gravity and soar for just under $150 with the help of Groupon, LivingSocial, Zipit and other online deal sites.
  3. There’s nothing that will beat your fear of flying than getting to sit in the cockpit and controlling the plane yourself. You’ll never say no to a vacation again.

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  4. Sometimes we only get to see our cities and our towns from within. A pilot lesson allows you to really see the veins that make the heart of your city or town beat.  Where do all those rivers lead to? Where do all those train tracks end?

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  5. Because you always said you wanted to.

Interesting in flying? here are some other hobbies you may want to try as well:
Hang Gliding
Sky Diving
Trapeze

 

The Hobby Hoarder Brews Beer

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“You were outed early,” says a fellow beer brewing classmate. “You’re here for the hobby aspect…not the beer aspect,” He laughs. I laugh along. He’s right. I am not a drinker. In fact, my friends often wave alcohol in my face in hopes that I’ll take even a sip. For the most part, I can’t stand the taste of alcohol, and I can have a pretty good time without it. So why would I ever want to do beer brewing?

Because it’s a craft, and who knows maybe it would be a craft I would want to continue. I never enjoyed science class, but maybe if fermenting and beer brewing were part of it–I’d have a different take.

I also think it’s good to know exactly how the food and drinks are processed that we are willing to put into our body on a regular basis–or in my case–a non-regular basis.

And of course, it’s always wonderful to meet new people with passions and knowledge that you may have never met otherwise.

And that was one of the best parts of my 6 hour day, spent in Brooklyn Heights.

I came across Fritz Fernow on SideTour, a site one of my bosses had introduced me to. On the site, he offered a one day home-brewing workshop for just $35 dollars. I couldn’t pass it up–and I am glad I didn’t. The moment I got to the door, Fritz smiled at me and kindly let me in. Immediately, I was met by his playful siamese cat Oscar.

One by one my six other classmates shuffled through the front door, and not before long we were on our six-hour adventure. Fritz took us through the ingredients, and offered a brief summary of what the day would look like, and then we began.

Passionately, Fritz spoke about his encounters with beer throughout the day and how he got into it. This was his 105th batch, but we could all tell it was not his last. With a smile on his face, he told us much of what he knew about beer, but I can guarantee not all. He is an encyclopedia of brewing. The perfect teacher.

During a rest period, he led us down to his bedroom, where his closet holds a kegerator–yes a kegerator. Most people have laundry baskets in their bedroom closets–but not him. He and his wife have a kegerator. Talk about a brew-fast in bed!

As the day continued, the 7 students bonded over casual conversation, lunch, beers brewed by his previous Sidetour class, and the anxiousness of the final steps of beer brewing which in a short were:

*Add the Hops
*Stir
*listen to Fritz talk about his experiences brilliantly (Really!)
*Cool
*Add the yeast*Declare you have beer — well at least you’ve got beer processing.

In four weeks the seven of us can return to try our beer. Cheers! I wonder if it will just keep the name 105? I wonder what I would name my beer if I brewed it myself on a consistent basis?

Libbrewery; Libation (The comedian Randy Tongue suggested that one); Libs Hops (Hops are female flower clusters of a hop species that you add for flavoring and such). Or maybe I’d open my own brewery called: Hip HOPS and play really loud hip hop music while serving really delicious beer. Oh the life.

Fritz hasn’t come up with an official name yet, but from what I tasted of the previous brew (Yes the non-drinker gave it a taste–YOU HAVE TO IN THIS CASE), I think he could easily call it “Fritz Fantastic Fix,” because even as a girl who can’t normally stand the taste of alcohol, I was able to taste this brew with a smile on my face.

Here’s our recipe taken directly from the blog Fritz wrote after our class!

Grain Bill:
12 lb 2 Row
8 oz Carapils
8 oz Bairds Light Carastan 13-17
8 oz Bairds Carastan 30-40
4 oz Red Wheat

Hop Schedule:
FWH .5oz Cascade
70 minute boil
60 min. 1.5oz Centennial
15 min. .5 oz Simcoe
10 min 1oz Columbus + Wirlfloc and Nutrient
1 min 2 oz Amarillo

Wyeast 1056 on a stir plate 18 hours in advance
Mash grains at 152 degrees for 60 minutes
preboil: 1.054
post boil: OG 1.063

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Fritz Fernow
Sponsored by SideTour
Located in Brooklyn Heights.

Check out More of Fritz on Time.com and then sign up for his SideTour!

The Hobby Hoarder Speed Dates: Speed Dating

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“You’re a racist.” This isn’t exactly the first thing you’d like to hear on a first date–but it’s how my seventh date, in one night, almost instantly opened up our conversation. We were twenty seconds into our five minute date and I had already wishes that I could sprint to the bell and ring it to signify next–How was I going to get through this speedy date that seemed to be going in slow motion?” -Excerpt from upcoming essay.

I went to speed-dating with three thoughts on my mind:

1. To prove that speed-dating could indeed be a hobby.

2. The rest of my life seems to be on speed (not me–my life), so maybe if I pump up the dating process and the amount of prospects, it might actually work out this time around.

3. I may find some comedy material.

And I indeed did. Here’s an excerpt from the evening:

“I am a high school teacher, guess what subject I teach…”-Male #7
“Um. Is that what you wear to teach?”-Me
“Nope.”-Male #7
“Um. Math?”
“Libby, you are such a racist–just because I am Asian…” – Male #7
::Sulks:: “I am not racist. What subject do you teach?”
“PE”-Male #7
“Oh what sports do you play?” -Me
Wait for it….

“Ping-Pong” -Male #7

“This speed dating is crazy…It’s like us males are just being served to you on a plate for you ladies to judge…It’s awful.”   -Male #12
“You mean it’s like life…”  – Me

I did, however, make a match or two. Not so bad for speed dating.

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 NY Easy Dates

A Guide to Speed Dating

Have your own speed dating experiences? Share them in the comments section.
Got tips for future speed dating adventures? Share those too.
Got a speed dating success story? Send it over!
Email thehobbyhoarder@gmail.com if you’d like a featured piece on your own speed dating experience on the site!

My best tips?
1. Dress like you. A lot of people may tell you to do yourself up, but if you do indeed hit it off with someone, they may be disappointed to find out that you were faking your style. Just be you and the rest will come.
2. Don’t talk about speed dating while speed dating. Treat it like a real date. You wouldn’t say: “Wow isn’t it crazy we are on a date right now”–unless it was absolutely crazy that you were on a date with someone you never thought you’d be on a date with.
3. Don’t call the opposite person a racist.
4. Compliment the other person the moment they sit down.
5. Don’t have expectations. Just enjoy the new company and see where it takes you.

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