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When I’m hypomanic, or even just in the neighborhood, I become very enthusiastic about new projects. I buy supplies to make X, Y, and/or Z. Sometimes I even start making those things. Often they get left unfinished in a heap somewhere for months at a time, waiting for me to get the making-stuff bug again. The piles of abandoned ambitions glare at me when I start to come down from the high. They gather dust and shuffle about the house when I feel poorly. Eventually I do finish many of them. Eventually.

However, I also get these other obsessive ideas when I’m a little amped up. They tend to last throughout at least one episode, if not longer. Because the idea doesn’t fade away so quickly, it makes me believe that perhaps it’s actually a good idea. I get fascinated with whatever it is – I watch movies about it, comb the Internet to learn more, etc. So far I’ve generally managed to hold off on acting on these impulses because it’s usually something that would take a little more work/money to get into, and in the back of my head, I think of those piles of abandoned projects.

I think that’s how the backpacking thing got started. I quickly got really into it, reading about the Appalachian Trail and lightweight backpacking and researching gear from here to kingdom come. I had an excuse to start buying a little gear, and pretty soon, we were thoroughly outfitted, doing overnight hikes, and planning some long-distance backpacking trips.

Part of my persistence with hiking is that it takes nothing special to do it except planning, patience, and gear. And once I’d invested in the backpacking gear (well over $1K for two people) there was no way I was going to let it just gather dust. Spending money on the current obsession makes me considerably more invested in it, so that’s one of the reasons I don’t always go “all the way” with whatever the flavor of the month may be. Yes, dear readers, commitment makes me skittish, because failing to fulfill it makes me feel horribly guilty.

Roller Derby – Bout 6 – 2009 by Gomisan, CC BY-NC-ND.

The last two things that have caught my attention and refused to leave the back of my head are roller skates and ukuleles. Roller derby, more precisely – not just the skates. I used to skate back in the day, mostly inline and ice skating, but just for fun. The recent revival of roller derby makes me want to strap on a pair of skates and knock people over.

It looks like so much fun – but I know it’s a lot of work, the skates and other equipment aren’t cheap, and it’s a serious time commitment to join a team. I can’t help wanting to do it anyway, even though it’s obviously at odds with everything else. So I just go to bouts when I can and enjoy the show, all the while wishing I could be a part of it. Really, though, I don’t need to add that to my plate, and it would be folly to further complicate my life that way.

A yellow Ukulele by Jem Yoshioka, CC BY-SA.

And then there’s the ukuleles. I don’t know what’s up with that. Lately I keep thinking I should get a ukulele and learn to play it. It’s the perfect traveler’s instrument and I loved the Hawaiian music (and everything else that went with it) when I visited Kauai. Again, however, I know that it’s silly to even think about picking up a ukulele.

A decent instrument isn’t all that cheap (though ukes are cheaper than many) and there’s the matter of practicing. I’m horrible about practicing instruments. I picked up and put down both the piano and clarinet when I was younger. I’ve never liked practicing an instrument. Why would a ukulele be any different? So I look at ukes online and see them played in movies and imagine myself strumming a wee instrument. But I don’t act on it. I have just enough sense to prevent myself from diving into yet another obsession.

At least for now…