We all have topics that fascinate us, interests we turn to again and again. Just for fun one day I decided to make a list of some of mine. If I had an extra seven or eight lives, I could really pursue these. I have always had way more interests than I have had time to pursue them.
Architecture and House plans: What is the day to day flow of living this space? How can this space used in the absolute best way, considering both efficiency, function and beauty? How can space cultivate both community and a sense of privacy and peace? I would have loved to be an architect, and I have a fat file of hand-drawn house plans I've sketched over the years. Unfortunately somebody told me in grade school that you have to be good at math if you want to be an architect. In reality I think I could have handled the math involved, and this is a lesson to be careful what you say to others, and not to throw cold water on their ideas and dreams. I think this fascination started when I was 8-ish, and would look at house plan magazines at the home of an aunt and uncle while the adults were playing pinochle. Someday I'd like to live in a house I've designed.
Mysteries: I am usually reading a mystery. Uncovering a hidden crime, discovering the bad guy (or girl), and the feeling of justice when he or she is found--It's something I was denied in my own life, and maybe that's why it draws me. I especially like British mysteries, and stories set between the world wars. There's a loss of innocence for everyone, and yet goodness occasionally shines through.
Knitting: How can two sticks and a piece of string can create such incredible patterns? And something about the rhythm of knitting calms me on the inside. I can pray really, really well when I knit. Sometimes I am knitting and find that I am incredibly tense, even grinding my teeth--and I had no idea I was so tense. Knitting seems to connect me to my inner state. And then I can deal with what's really going on, and think or pray. It's a healthy thing for me to do regularly and it would probably be good for me to do it in a more regular way. But I must admit that in this multi-tasking world most of my knitting takes place in front of the TV. I'm not a big TV watcher and other members of my family like it, so it helps me to hang out with them in this way without getting irritated.
Travel: I love going somewhere are experiencing sights, sounds, smells and tastes I've never experienced before, that are totally different from the places I have already been. I like to walk around and look at buildings and gardens and take photographs. I like watching human interactions and human faces--so varied in color and structure, and yet the expressions are universal. I like trying new kinds of food. Someday I think I might like to have a low maintenance condo near a good airport and travel a lot.
Art, painting, art museums: When I walk in, and I feel a sense of refreshment, like I can take a deep breath. Looking at the paintings, it feels like finally, someone is speaking my language. I feel excited and in harmony. I very rarely go to an art gallery because no one else in my family is interested. Living in Europe was a treat, and there just isn't much where I live now.
Gardening, permaculture, and fruit trees: I gobble up books on these subjects. My husband has a very limited interest in yard projects perhaps because he had to do a lot of that as a kid.
But he's willing to lend a hand when I've done the thinking and planning, so little by little I'm transforming our back and front yards into "food forests". And yes interest is in direct conflict with my longing to live in a low maintenance condo near a major airport but I'm thinking these things both fit in different seasons of my life. Kids benefit from a bit of space and stable home situation when they're in school, so the condo/traveling dreams are for later!
Seeds are fascinating to me. How something so incredibly tiny has the genetic code to create the architecture of a large, complex plant and bear delicious fruit, is simply amazing--it's a miracle that never gets old. The incredible variety of plants that exist in so many forms is also amazing. I love to see plants in their different natural environments. I like to experiment with growing different kinds of seeds more than I actually like to harvest and use the produce.
Dolls and Dollhouses: OK, I feel a bit silly about this one. But I have a total fascination with them. I've had a crazy dream about making dolls and donating a portion of the profits to an organization that helps abused children. A lovely handmade doll could bring so much joy to a little girl, and I'd like to do something that adds joy to dark suffering. But I am not very patient or gifted at handcrafts (despite my interest and intentions), and I can't see myself wanting to make the same thing over and over. In the meantime, I occasionally look at art doll and dollhouse pictures on Pinterest to get my fix.
Nativity Sets: Might be a variation of the above. But it fascinates me how every culture sees Jesus as one of their own, and I've loved nativity sets since I was a little girl and for the most part un-exposed to church or religion. Maybe I could make nativity sets instead of dolls. Hmmmmm . . .
Nature: I've a bit of the naturalist in me, and like to look closely at leaves, tree bark, rocks and the like. I love to hike because I love to look at things, both up close and far away--it's not the exercise itself that interests me. Nature tends to inspire poems in me, especially the ocean. Someday I'd like to live in an amazing natural setting--preferably, the Oregon Coast--where I can take long walks every day and pay attention to nature, writing poems and taking pictures and drawing. Like Annie Dillard or Mary Oliver. Right now, my life is way too un-quiet and filled with other people. So this is another "maybe later" idea. Or maybe just in occasional spots here and there.
Homeschooling: I tried and had to give it up, for complex reasons I will not go into here. But it still fascinates me. It may simply be that I love to learn. I loved reading great literature aloud and learning things in history and science that I never learned in school. The kids were often less fascinated than I thought they should be. In the end I'm probably a much better learner than I am a teacher.
So there's my list--not comprehensive, but all of these are major and repeated themes.