Finding New Interests is Beneficial for the Brain

Out & About in Greater Tulsa By EMILY RAMSEY
Managing Editor

ROSE ENTHUSIAST: Kelly Waters, staff member at the Broken Arrow Library on Broadway, holds a bouquet of roses that won best large bouquet at Keep Broken Arrow Beautiful’s Rose Festival, held in May. Many resources are available in greater Tulsa for gardeners looking to advance their skills, including area gardening clubs, the Tulsa Master Gardeners and community gardens.

Courtesy Keep Broken Arrow Beautiful

I love hobbies, and yet I never seem to be satisfied with the ones I already have. I regularly find myself on the search for new ones, with this ever-present curiosity of what I haven’t tried yet: fishing, running, crocheting, composting, repurposing, rock climbing.

So I keep looking and, thus, learning.

Fortunately for me, research shows that learning new things keeps the brain engaged, causing it to grow.

My biggest problem, though, is my aversion to letting go of some previous hobbies as I gain new ones.

Still, there is definite comfort to be found in those long-held hobbies. For example, my latest knitting project, which is the same project that I have been working on for upwards of three years. I keep saying that I will complete my shawl before the coming winter. Ah, but the joy is in the journey, right? And in the meantime, the yarn and needles sit patiently, awaiting my return, with no judgment.

During my recent vacation to Las Vegas, I took the plunge to investigate an activity that I have grown ever so curious about: stand up paddleboarding.

First, I will say that it looks easier than it initially is. However, the body adjusts quicker than you might expect. I found myself acclimating to the balancing act within about 20 minutes of my lesson, which I credit largely to my teacher, Kathy, who owns Paddle to the Core (shout out!).

Once the body becomes used to the needed balance and the constant muscle response necessary to counteract the movement of the water, the enjoyment of the elements begins to take over. The calming, refreshing effect that only water can bring. The slight kiss of a breeze on your cheek. The pale blue sky hanging above.
I am looking forward to investigating our local stand up paddleboarding options and area lakes this summer, particularly the pristine Skiatook Lake.

Another activity brought on by the coming of spring and summer is gardening, a hobby that I had never before felt inclined to try. To me, it just seemed like too much unnecessary sweating and insect interactions. Not what I term pleasurable. Plus, living in a high-rise building doesn’t call for much need to put my hands in the earth. However, my comfortably-sized patio does allow me to create a small garden oasis and a happy home for a few flower pots.

Usually, my planting is accompanied with a friend or family member who knows much more than I do and ends up doing the majority of the planting, or I buy plants that are already potted. This summer, though, I knew it was time to step out on my own. I selected all of my flowers and planted all of them on my own one morning. It was only then that I finally understood the concept of garden therapy.

Just as water brings its unique healing and relaxing effects, communing with the earth can cause those same emotions.

Tulsa has many gardening clubs and community garden organizations for individuals, like myself, who are looking to grow the seedlings of their gardening interest, including area gardening clubs, the Tulsa Master Gardeners and community gardens.

Two hobbies recently added to my to-do list: star-gazing (thanks to my recent discovery of the Jenks Planetarium) and cycling (credit Tulsa Tough for that one). But my knitting project stays.

Updated 06-27-2016

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