Importance of keeping a hobby


When you Google ‘what is a hobby?’ the first thing you come across is ‘an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure’. Now the question that arises from its definition are ‘What can be considered a hobby? How often do we practice it? Do we force engaging ourselves into our hobbies despite being busy? Tired? How many hobbies are we allowed to keep? What if we no longer find pleasure in our hobby? What do we do then?’. Keeping these questions in mind, I would like to highlight some few points on the importance of keeping a hobby. 

Let’s imagine you came home from a tiring day at work or school, you’ve freshened up and changed into comfy clothes. I am sure you’ve had such days where the next thing you could think of is a nice nap and so, you do what your body is asking, a rest that gives your body a pleasuring sensation. Are we supposed to consider sleeping as a hobby because it gave us pleasure in our leisure time? According to JALT Publication, biologically prompted efforts to stay alive shouldn’t be considered hobbies. A rather upsetting news for those of us who like to mention our hobbies are sleeping and eating. Also, another article has gone out its way to point out even laughing and cleaning are not hobbies because a hobby is an activity that is done outside the normal routine. Assuming, only activities done outside our normal routine to be hobbies, drive us to the question, what do you do after coming home from school or work? What if you decide to engage in your hobby but it isn’t as enjoyable? Do you force yourself to continue or give it up? The problem with us is that we are so rooted in getting the task done, we ignore the essence of a hobby. It so happens that sometimes we are practicing our hobby because we have to, not because we want to, which may have a positive impact but we also fail to practice our hobby correctly. 

We have heard or read numerous times about how we are supposed to follow our passion and that we wouldn’t have to work a day. Let’s be honest, this is untrue. No matter how much we love what we are doing, we’re going to have days where we just want to throw it all off and escape to a place no one knows us. Of course, that is near to impossible. The same goes with our hobby. I believe a hobby is an activity that should help you detangle your thoughts and calm your mind. Note how I’ve mentioned previously that laughing is not a hobby, this is true, because a hobby is supposed to make you happy, lift up your mood and laughter does not equal happiness. The saddest and most depressed person in the room could be the loudest person laughing but that doesn’t mean they are happy. Most of the time we continue with numerous hobbies for years. If you are paying attention to yourself, you’ll find yourself wanting to try new activities. Maybe, you’re someone who love change, so you try out the new activity as soon as it pops up in your mind. But if you are someone who is not fond of change, we ignore our thoughts, just because we are too comfortable with our current hobbies, as though our old hobby will vanish if we start practicing a new hobby. Another reason could be the fear to try something new simply because we assume we wouldn’t be good at it, failing to understand that that’s the beauty of trying out different activities. You get to start afresh and see yourself grow, which sometimes our old hobbies could not despite making progress, making it dull and unenjoyable. It’s not because you no longer love the hobby but simply because your body is challenging you, forcing you to change the routine. This is the very thing about every aspects of our life, no matter how much we enjoy doing something, unless we are up to challenge ourselves over the course of time, our body and environment will force us to implement change. Whenever you find yourself in such a place, listen to the voices in your head and try out new activities. While you are focused on the new hobby, you’ll slowly find yourself loving the old ones too. And I highly urge you to keep challenging yourself, irrespective how good or bad you are at it. The saying, ‘have two hobbies in life. One to make you money and one to make you happy.’ is not really true. You can have a hobby that make you money and happy at the same time. However, if you find yourself indulging in a hobby with the sole purpose to make money, with time you’ll find yourself drained out and unhappy. The moment a particular hobby is no longer detangling your thoughts and calming your mind, you are doing something wrong. 

This brings us to the question, what if we don’t want to indulge in any of the hobby? To answer this, we have to admit to the very fine line between being lazy and genuinely tired. If we have the time to lay on the bed and scroll through social media for more than an hour after telling ourselves, we are tired and need rest, then we are just, you know, lazy. (Keeping aside genuine cases where people suffer from underlying sleep disorders.) On the other hand, a person doesn’t have to be productive all the time, sometimes laying back a little might just be what your mental health needs to function. The hardest part here is recognizing when we are doing too much of something and when we need to switch things up. This is where we learn self-discipline. With this, I want to point out that indulging too much in our hobbies will negatively impact our duties. Keeping a hobby surely distress our body and mind while also helps us to develop a balance between our responsibilities and leisure time. As much as we need a break from our day-to-day task, we shouldn’t let our hobby be the reason for failing to fulfill our duties. Having a hobby is an efficient way to have fun and enjoy our work environment, while also developing skills and tricks to making life more interesting. 

We live in a world where everywhere we look or use is a touch of someone’s skill and dedication; Where the fabric of the clothes you are wearing is thoughtfully chosen and stitched, where the food you are consuming is carefully prepared with the right amount of spices by someone who love you at home. And just like that, every part of our life is made up of someone’s touch and behind that touch is the person’s hobby that they refined over the years or simply learnt to spread love through it. So, let your hobby be like one too, let it go and touch someone’s life, all the more better if that someone is you yourself.

The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, St. Joseph's College (Autonomous) Jakhama