May 30 (Del Nordlund, Sebastian Scaini, Patrick Flattery)

I’ve never played Dungeons and Dragons, but I have used a hobby to help me get over a breakup.

Today’s Meditation is a couple of still images – before and after, dark and light, sad and happy – to illustrate a person finding a way to cope with an unhappy situation through games and friends. In the first image, they are alone, heartbroken, unable to find work. In the second, the latter two may still be true but the pain is eased by a group of friends and a game of Dungeons and Dragons.

The promise of D&D kept them going. It was like that for a bit, with every passing week seeming a little softer and a little less lonely. Maybe the rest of summer wasn’t going to be too bad after all.

A few years ago, my first adult relationship ended and I was bereft. We had got together when I was a teenager, in my first year of university, and I hadn’t figured out how to look after myself yet. Like the person in today’s Meditation, a long summer stretched before me, and I was desperate for something to distract me and help me mark the passing of time. I had already done some cross stitch and some baking, but this is the point at which they became real hobbies. Cross stitch gave me something to do with my hands, a way to quiet my mind just a little. And I started to bake about once a week, sharing the pictures online, tracking my progress.

Years have passed, the heartbreak is long gone, and I’m a totally different person now, but I still bake and I still sew, and both still soothe me when I need them to.