I’m not what you might call a “sporty” person. My parents kept me fairly active as a child by enrolling me in a variety of activities. I participated in figure skating and gymnastics for periods during my youth. I had an even longer commitment to dance, which I did for ten years (seven of which were competitive). I did swimming lessons throughout my childhood, leading to a position as a lifeguard and swimming instructor during my high school and undergraduate years.
Alas, I’ve become progressively more and more slovenly as an adult. My general attitude towards fitness and physical activity can best be summed up by beautiful tropical fish Ann Perkins from Parks and Recreation: “Jogging is the worst, Chris! I mean, I know it keeps you healthy but God at what cost?” For most of my adult life I haven’t had the kind of active hobbies that people proudly display on their resumes and Facebook profile pages: “Rebecca enjoys surfing, skiing, and long walks on the beach” “Todd likes to fish, golf, rock climb, mountain bike, and hike” (whoa, slow your roll Todd). By contrast, “Meg enjoys settling down into her couch groove to inhale brie and drink wine coolers from a hurricane glass while reading, watching TV and movies, or dicking around on the Internet!” What I like to deem my “fancy pants” activities – going to the opera, ballet, and theatre – tend to involve a lot of butt-to-chair action too. I even manage to make visiting museum and art galleries a sedentary past time (I can appreciate that sculpture perfectly well from this bench, thank you very much). In sum, I take the phrase “down time” quite literally.
Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having sedentary hobbies. I think appreciating film, television, books, video games, or any other couch potato-related activity is a valid way to spend some of your time if it brings you happiness! But I felt the need to add some variety to my life, to bring a greater sense of balance to my leisure time so that it wasn’t all sloth-like. I didn’t want my Sims to have more fulfilling and interesting hobbies than I did. I started my efforts towards having non-couch-related hobbies by revisiting one of my favourite activities of my childhood, dance. This time instead of the barre I picked up some heels and got into the ballroom by taking up salsa and bachata dancing. I took it up with one of my best friends, and it’s been a fun way to be a bit more social and active these last couple of years. Salsa has been a casual flirtation, though, compared to the passionate love affair I embarked on last year with a sport that’s been getting a lot of media attention lately (including this weekend’s release of Catching Fire): archery.