So, what are you into?
It's a question you can bring up when reconnecting with old friends. When all the usual trading of stories and shared history runs dry, it's a way to gauge the depth of those linear bonds we share across time ... or just crowdsource some new shows to binge.
Ah, but, what are you really into?
It's a question you might use to break through the ice on a first date to search for compatibility. Vulnerability and serendipity can lead those first dates to turn into something more. Even at a superficial level!
You might have always wanted to date an outdoorsy person to open new worlds for you. Or know enough from past experiences that self-described "foodies" make better friends than long-term partners.
Activities inform our self-image and how we see the world. Kids who grew up at ballet studios can grow up into adults who still point their toes down when sitting cross-legged. Dropping subtle anime references around the office can be a way to quickly find like-minded new colleagues.
But as we grow older, most of us don't have as many hobbies we used to — a dynamic undoubtedly compounded by the pandemic. Our pottery studios shut down, our tennis lessons halted, and our music halls went silent. Our individual worlds grew smaller, and we lost communities.
As we enter our third Pandemic Summer, the momentum is changing. Sports leagues are back on the field, art studios are reopening, and book clubs are starting to gather again.
It can be daunting to decide what hobbies to prioritize — especially if we're trying something new. How do you know if something is worth pursuing? It would be a lot easier to endure hours of YouTube tutorials on macrame if you felt REALLY confident that someone who was REALLY into it sold you on the hobby first. And you don't want to end up with a closet overstuffed with discarded pursuits: kitchen gadgets, roller blades and acrylic paint (trust us, we know from personal experience.)
The NPR Network is here to help! Today we're launching a new series: I'm Really Into — a space to celebrate our unique hobbies and interests.
Our journalists will share a hobby that brings them joy, what drew them to it, and what it says about their shared community. We'll hear from people who found a new passion in the pandemic, as well as people who persevered and continued finding ways to do what they love.
Joy is a core value at NPR. Something we talk about at our news meetings in seeking out stories. Something that research shows can lead to more happiness, as our Joy Generator demonstrates. And hobbies are a well-worn path to create habits that lead to that joy, as Life Kit has explored.
So, with all that said, All Things Considered host Juana Summers is taking the mic first.
You might know Juana from her award-winning political reporting, but you probably didn't know she's a competitive pinball player!
We don't just want to share our hobbies — we want to hear about yours, too. Fill out this form, or leave us a voice note at 800-329-4273, and let us know what you're really into and why. You may be featured on air or on our website!