How Finding a Hobby Helped Me Find Myself

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Recently, I have immersed myself in a new hobby after discovering that I am pretty good at restoring and repairing old furniture. Specifically, I can do minor repairs, sand, stain, paint, and basically transform unwanted and smelly pieces of junk into statement pieces that people can be proud to show off in their homes.

BEFORE
BEFORE
AFTER

But it wasn’t always that way. So, let me back up a bit…

I’m a Registered Nurse by profession. After graduating from nursing school, I spent the next 5 years working in a high acuity setting, taking care of heart and post-surgical patients, all while planning a wedding and marrying my husband. As you can imagine, work was incredibly stressful but also so fulfilling. Then, you know, KIDS. This changed our whole world in so many ways; beautiful, crazy, heart-exploding ways. From there, sparing you the lengthy details, I basically became a stay-at-home mom. Sure, I kept my foot in the game at the hospital. Still, among the piles and piles of laundry, long hours at home alone with two super active boys, diaper changes, and middle of the night feedings, I felt LOST and overwhelmed, despite the support of my fantastic family.

How could I have complained so much about having to go into work for so many years? Now I’m at home, living my dream getting to take care of my children with all my heart and soul, but how is it that I find myself feeling the need for something more?

My 1st “BIG” Transformation

Well, luckily for me, I was able to channel that longing for something into a hobby. As many things go, it wasn’t planned at first, and it started out small. It began when I wanted to find a table for my kids to do their crafts on. I found some tiny-human sized chairs on FB Marketplace and a small table at a garage sale. After a good cleaning and some paint, I thought, “Oh! That looks nice.” And from there I was hooked!

Next, I wanted to tackle something more significant and swap out our horrific coffee table that was original to my husband’s bachelor days (Sorry, hun! But it’s true). Lo and behold, I found a $10 coffee table at a local garage sale and decided to try my hand at this whole up-cycling thing we’ve all seen on those HGTV shows. Refinishing that coffee table left me feeling so accomplished and proud! It dawned on me that if I can do this to my own furniture, I bet other people would like to have their furniture refinished too. Now, 10 furniture rehabs under my belt and an Instagram account later, it’s safe to say that I’ve found myself an enjoyable and fantastic hobby.

This hobby is just one of those things that sort of evolved and came together naturally. It didn’t happen overnight. Heck, I didn’t even think I was any good at painting furniture, let alone “talented” at anything. (Someone else’s words – not mine!). In fact, we tend to focus on the negatives in life. “I can’t sing, or I’m not a good dancer. I can’t play an instrument, or I’m not good at sports. Or I don’t have time to go to the gym, so why bother?” That sort of thing. You know what I’m talking about because we all have negative self-talk about ourselves, myself included. Hello, guilty!

BUT HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED: Don’t force it.

Whatever it is you are searching for – a hobby or whatever. It will come. It also doesn’t need to be (literally) as big as rehabbing furniture. Your hobby can be as simple as a nightly skincare routine or reading a book. As long as it makes you feel good about yourself, then that’s what matters.

Feeling this good has made me a better mother. When I get time to work on my furniture, I find that I am more present and engaged with my kids, husband, and family. I feel more confident and more driven. I get excited when I see something with the potential to transform, and I’m not just talking about a side table or dresser. I see more potential in other places I look. I see more potential in myself and for my family.

Now that’s priceless. Moral of the story: Hauling trash and cluttering your garage with junk to paint not only drives your husband crazy but is good for the soul. It’s like the chicken soup that you pick up off the side of the road.

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Catherine currently lives in the Crestwood section of Yonkers. She and her husband moved there in 2015 from the Bronx shortly after they got married to start their family. Catherine is the mom to two very sweet and active young boys, ages three and one, making her very well versed in anything dinosaur, trains, or cars related. Oh, and Paw Patrol. We can't forget that! Before kids, Catherine studied at Pace University to become a Registered Nurse. Catherine currently works per-diem at a local Westchester Hospital in the surgical department. When Catherine is not picking up shifts at the hospital or spending time with her family, she can be found painting and refinishing furniture in her home. She even has a fun Instagram account at instagram.com/thefurniture_rn. Navigating life as a new(ish) mom has presented many joys, challenges, and laughs. Catherine looks forward to connecting with you and sharing her experiences.

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