So I get this question a lot. "How do you have time to bake bread?" Or, alternatively, "Why do you bother to bake bread?" (The questions always come from the people who taste my bread and love it, but they truly don't understand why I bake bread.)
Well, the same question could be asked, "Why do I plant a garden every year so that I can grow my own food?" Or, "Why do you write books?" Or, heck, "Why do you spin your own yarn?"
I don't have a lot of "spare time." I say that because it's true--I have a full-time job and a three-hour a day commute. Most nights I'm working away at my novel-in-progress. In the summertime, I'm out in the garden. I relax by spinning--and perhaps watching an episode or two of some TV show I never caught while it was on, or even a movie here and there.
I've been regularly baking bread since 2007, when I gave up High Fructose Corn Syrup for Lent and couldn't find a single loaf of bread on the shelves that did not contain HFCS. Nowadays, things have changed; there are plenty of different brands to choose from. I could--very easily--buy bread. Heck, I could go to the local bakery/deli and buy homemade bread from them every single week if I wanted to.
But I don't want to. And the answer to the question "Why not?" is the same for bread baking, writing, spinning my own yarn, gardening, and everything else that I do in my "spare" time.
I like baking bread. I like telling stories. I like spinning my own yarn and then weaving it into various things. I like the fact that I can walk out into my front yard and pick a salad nearly year-round. I like lifting that first ripe tomato up to my nose and smelling that particular ripe tomato smell that you can't get from any grocery store.
I make time to do the stuff that I like to do. That gives me pleasure. That makes me happy. I hesitate to say that I sacrifice a lot of other things to be able to do this stuff with my limited "spare" time, but it's true--and it's also true that most of what I sacrifice is stuff that I honestly have no interest in whatsoever, but which the rest of the world (and I use that term broadly) seems to think is the most important stuff of all.
Sure, I could stop. I could buy bread, buy vegetables, plant grass over my garden and spend my time mowing it. I could sell my spindles and my spinning wheels and buy yarn, too. I could even stop writing. Other people have, and they survived.
But I wouldn't be me if I did that, and I wouldn't be true to myself, either. And that's why I will continue baking bread... and everything else in between.