1. An activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure.
I was probably 9-10 years old when I first learned what a ‘hobby’ was. I was young, so I thought it was an awfully fancy way of describing something you do, because to me, that’s all a hobby was: something you do.
Let me explain.
For the first 18 years of your life, school takes up a majority of your time. However, when you’re in elementary school (or at least in my experience), you don’t spend hours doing homework or lose sleep because you’re cramming for an exam. When you’re young, you’re able to easily disconnect from your schoolwork because it isn’t constantly hanging over your head; it doesn’t consume you the way it does when you get older.
So… what is my point exactly? My point is that, as a child, you have a lot of free-time. And, as a consequence, hobbies aren’t ‘“activities done in leisure time for pleasure” — they’re just things you genuinely love doing.
Of course, as you get older, your tastes change. When I was a bright-eyed 3rd grader asking my classmates what their hobbies were (and showed off my ‘extensive knowledge’ when they didn’t always know what the word meant), I had the same answer: I like art. It was an easy answer, because I wasn’t sporty and I doodled a lot. Around 7th grade, though, I came to an important realization — I can’t draw. So what did I do instead? I wrote. And I continue to write. Writing is my hobby, and what is a hobby to me as a sophomore in high school? It’s what I do when I’m not busy with school or work.
I do schoolwork from 8:30 AM to 2 in the afternoon, and by 5 o-clock, I’m out the door and driving two towns over for work. I work 20-hour weeks, so 2-3 weekday evenings aren’t my own, and I very rarely have both weekend days off. Though I still have time for my hobbies, I don’t have excess hours to spend on them like I did as an elementary student. Most of my time is now spent inactively preparing for my future: I study hard to get good grades, and I work hard so I have money for college.
I believe that when my attention shifted, so did my definition of what a ‘hobby’ is. Hobbies are no longer simply things I do; they’re ‘’activities [I do] regularly in [my] leisure time for pleasure.” And, if I’m entirely honest, I don’t see that as a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s just a part of growing up.
Hobbies are important to each of us, and when we consider the big picture, the world. If we didn’t have hobbies, how could an artist know they wanted to pursue art professionally? How might an actor go into that field? If hobbies weren’t pursued, some careers would be void and those careers give our world color. For example, when you’re having a stressful day, you might come home and watch a movie. The people on the screen pursued their hobby and are now paid for your enjoyment. But not all of us are going to make it big--if that’s your goal--because too many soccer players would make our world unproductive. So, why is it important that each of us find our hobbies and pursue them?
Hobbies range from sports to painting, knitting to reading, and beyond. We explore the things that interest us--you don’t even have to be good at it--and attempt those things in our free time, often to relieve stress. For example, I am interested in taking up embroidering, but I don’t know the first thing about it. If I were to embroider, it would become a hobby to relieve stress and spend my time creating something beautiful. Embroidery is becoming more popular and I’m not sure if you’ve seen pictures of the creations, but they are so cool. But maybe embroidery is not your thing; it’s not everyone’s. Maybe you go to your backyard and throw around a baseball when you’re upset or you might play an instrument. Whatever your hobby is, one of the purposes it serves to relieve stress.
When we practice or explore new hobbies, we are voluntarily spending our time doing something we love to do. Especially when we come home from school or work, we want to spend time doing something we want to do, right? It brings us joy to accomplish a piece of music, establish a record running speed, or whatever you enjoy because you enjoy it! The older we get, the more stressful life can become. Our hobbies serve as a coping mechanism against that because after a long day of executing orders--depending on the job or schoolwork--we spend time doing the hobbies that bring us happiness.
Hobbies typically help us with self-expression, at least in the arts. Sports, although I don’t participate, give you space to release your ultra-competitive side while being apart of a team. Maybe video games bring you joy because you enjoy placing yourself in someone else’s shoes. Different personalities might participate in different hobbies; personalities like myself are more likely to enjoy hobbies in the arts whereas personalities like my little brother might prefer sports. We choose our hobbies because they relieve negative emotions, we enjoy them, but also because we find something in them. For example, I love to write. I love writing because I am able to express the thoughts and ideas I have and when I write fiction, I am able to step away and take on the persona of another character. I think there is something romantic about being able to create something so vivid with nothing but words. Just like I have reasons for enjoying writing, you have reasons for your hobby. Whatever the reason, hobbies allow us to either find ourselves or, if we have that mindset, release a part of ourselves.
As Lauren said earlier, the time we have to spend on hobbies diminishes as we grow older. As we gain more responsibility and obligations, the stress increases. We also don’t spend time on ourselves like we used to, as Lauren said, which comes with growing up. This is why I think hobbies become more important as we grow older.
I encourage you to find what makes you happy, no matter how stupid it may be. Maybe you like writing short stories, drawing anime, or bowling. Whatever it is, you do you!
I think the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to balancing responsibilities and hobbies is that finding a happy medium is key. If you spend all of your time worrying about what you have to do, you’ll lose sight of who you really are and what you really enjoy. However, if you spend your time only participating in hobbies, you’ll never get anything done.
Making time for the things you love, even in a busy life, is crucial. It keeps us sane, reduces stress, etc. No matter how busy you are, I can guarantee you can save at least 15 minutes a day to do something that makes you happy. Read a book, write, or draw before going to bed. Find some friends to shoot hoops with, or in this colder weather, maybe go sledding. Hobbies don’t have to be grand affairs or something you have to dedicate hours of work and time to — they’re the things you love doing. So do them.
Thanks for reading! Until next time…
K + L
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