Arranging the Pieces… Taking small steps to change the here and now


By Tabitha Bozeman

What hobbies help you feel relaxed and recharged? Have you ever wondered how to get started on a new hobby you think might be interesting? How did people do that before we could search for beginning watercolor tips, the top 10 easy DIY hobbies or how to break into competitive water dancing on Google?

As I chatted with a friend the other day, I wondered about the creatives of previous generations who somehow experienced a “what if?” moment, and rather than blowing it off, they explored the idea further to see where it led. Imagining this scenario leaves me feeling both awed by the initiative artists and writers took and slightly panicked at the isolation I imagine they may have experienced.

When I became interested in any of the new-to-me hobbies I’ve tried over the decades, I was able to either search for information and tutorials or look for examples and inspiration online. I can join online groups of other newbies to the crafts of painting, crocheting, wildcrafting or whatever has captured my interest. These connections serve as inspiration and encouragement and expose me to new methods and ideas and generally add a fun element to the experience.

However, there is a caveat to these hobbies. A friend reminded me of the piles and piles of supplies many hobbies require. There is a pod-cast on this topic that suggests an interesting way to combat creative clutter: take inventory of who you are and the life you have versus who you imagine yourself to be and the life you’d like to have. Then, reconcile the differences and make decisions as to what creative clutter to keep and what to toss.

I love this approach, because as a writer, I am already familiar with the “love having written, hate having to write” dynamic. I can see how this also applies to any creative endeavor. It is interesting to consider who we think we are and who we assume others think we are compared to who we really are day in and day out. Recognizing that I am not, for example, in a season of life that allows for unlimited time to garden and prepare and preserve fresh foods – recognizing this allows me to get rid of any cumbersome items I’d use for those purposes without feeling guilty. Maybe the next phase of my life will allow for that hobby. For now, I can focus on a similar and less intensive hobby that takes up less space, like wildcrafting tea blends.

I also think there is a contrasting way to view this thought experiment: I can consider who am I now and what my life looks like now and then imagine who I want to be and what I want my life to look like. From this vantage point, I can take stock of what I can add to my life to make those goals happen. Maybe I am not going to be a famous painter at any point in my life, but I’d love to paint as a hobby. I can imagine that in my lif and then take steps to make painting a part of my life that I really enjoy. This approach works for hobbies, career goals and relationships, as well as revamping how I’d like my daily environment to look and feel.

I’m so glad for that chat with my friend. Sometimes we get so wrapped up and used to the way things are that we forget that we can do something different, both big and small. After we spoke, I took a quick inventory of the space where I was right at that moment and noticed some inspiration cards I’d become blind to just because they’d been in the same place for so long. I opened the box, shuffled the cards and drew a random one. The quote on it read, “I can create the life I want by changing my perspective. I have unlimited opportunity to change my attitude and how I look at my situation, which means I can have as amazing a life as I can imagine.”

What life do you imagine having and what small step can you take in the here and now to make it a reality?

Tabitha Bozeman teaches English at Gadsden State Community College, where she is the editor-in-chief of the Cardinal Arts Journal. The opinions expressed are her own. She may be reached at

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