Finding New Hobbies When You Don’t Have Time

One of the things I struggled with most in law school was feeling like I didn’t have any time for my hobbies. Before law school, I was a college rower, an avid reader, and an active musical theater performer and choral singer. When I moved to Boston for law school, as you’ll understand if you read my past blog on makeup and skincare, I barely had time to breathe.

I found myself missing my hobbies; a quick row on the erg at the gym and singing in the shower wasn’t cutting it. But I know myself, and I don’t like doing things when I can’t give them 110%. I knew that I would just be disappointed if I tried to get back to rowing and singing at the level I used to do them (and reading for fun was 100% out of the question… ha).

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One of my photos from Gent, Belgium.

So when I found out I got into the LLM program in Paris, I knew I wanted to find something new to put my energy into that would also help me get out of the house and see the city. I decided that my biggest regret from traveling abroad in the past was not having pictures that really captured my travels. I really had no concept of photography whatsoever, so I spent my August evenings reading some photography blogs, experimenting with my iPhone, and bugging the heck out of my friend who happens to very photo-savvy.

I told myself that my goal for my year in France would be to take one photo a day. It didn’t have to be an awesome photo, or a photo of anything in particular, but I just wanted to try to force myself to think about something each day outside of school and career goals and stress. I made myself an Instagram page just for my photo “game,” and figured that would be that.

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One of my favorite photos- taken in Lisbon, Portugal earlier this month.

Then a funny thing happened. I realized I LOVED photography. I loved how thinking about taking photos made me focus on what was going on around me, and made me see a lot of things from new perspectives. I was finding beauty everywhere, in places I never thought to look! I also decided that instead of keeping an exhaustive travel blog, that I would write a travel tip to go with with each picture I decided to post.

Photography has really changed so much for me this year. I found a hobby in something I never thought I would be good at, and I spend a good amount of time every single day thinking about something that makes me happy, paying attention to the rhythm of the world, and seeing beauty in places that maybe others don’t. I also have learned to pay attention to how I feel in a moment and how seeing something makes me feel, as opposed to just trying to take pictures of how things look. This kind of introspection has been incredibly helpful for my mental health, and I love how self-aware it is making me! I know my other hobbies aren’t gone for good, they are just resting until the right time to come back into my life! For now, I’m thrilled I made the time for a new hobby and that it has been such a positive experience.

One of the globally-recognizable Paris Metro signs… near Galeries Lafayette at Christmas!

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