There was a time, I scoffed at the idea for a hobby and claimed I had plenty. Reading, writing, gaming, music… I counted them on my fingers like small battles I had won. I essentially was a jack of all trades and a master of none. I was a traveler, a tourist who had an affair with each trade and at the end of each passing season, I would forget my love and start fresh.
During the last few years however, I noticed a trend emerging. The older I got, the more responsibilities I had. Once I started to hold a job, I was time poor and I started to make tradeoff’s. I had to give up some of these ‘so-called’ hobbies to make time for work and other commitments. I haven’t even told you how complex relationships can get. In a nutshell, when you have someone on your mind all the time, your ‘hobbies’ take the back seat.
The first victim of this was writing, despite being one of my passions, the amount of time I devoted to this art diminished with each passing year. It was not until I returned to university that really picked things up again with a renewed zeal.
The second victim was reading. I really stopped reading novels once I started work. Well, I read them, but not in the same spirit. I never immersed myself in the prose. I would rush through books, more interested in the story than the narrative style. I admit at times I even ‘watched the movie’ rather than ‘reading the book’ Oh the horrors. The problem with this ofcourse is that reading takes time. And ‘really’ reading takes even more time. It is never enough after all to idly read a book and be done with it. To really get into the novel, you should be in a book club where you meet other readers and talk about the plot, the characters and discover the multiple layers that the writer has woven into the fabric of the narrative that you missed. As an example, I will take a book I can safely assume a lot of you have read… ‘Pride and Prejudice’, it is not enough to simply read the book, put it aside and pick the next Jane Austen book. No! That’s missing the point. Ideally you research the era, you research Jane Austen herself… watch the BBC mini series, read a few articles on the character of Elizabeth Bennet… debate the performance of Kiera Knightly in the movie adaptation and when all is said and done… write a long blog post about what the story meant to you.
But really… you can afford to do this if reading is the only hobby or if you are an undergraduate student will all the time in the world. I fear once I started making tradeoff’s with my time, all of this seemed just a tad over the top. Well, it was my loss…
Next to fall victim to my hobby shedding exercise was music. Don’t get me wrong, I still explored music and was constantly on the lookout for new stuff to listen to. I think we always do that, music is truly the secret sauce of our existence. Everyone can tap to a beat and we are made of music…. Just hear your heartbeat sometime… but… passion for music needs more than enjoying the music. It also means following the lyrics and feeling the emotions. And I lost that…
Gone were the nights of endlessly playing a Pink Floyd Album endlessly debating with myself what the meaning of the song ‘Dog’s was from the 1977 classic Animals. I even stopped reading about the artists themselves. Sure I was in love with Norah Jones music, but I know nothing about her creative process. There was a time I researched endlessly the music greats that I admired… but as I grew older, this hobby became a habit. If music is described as culture… I then had stripped it bare.
The final, and most recent victim is gaming. I’m actually glad I got rid of this hobby. An MBA program is hectic, and I had decided early on in the program that I was going to start building a more diverse set of opinions… that meant… reading. I had to read, a lot. And not all of it was school work… I had to watch TED video’s, follow marketing news, read the New Yorker, the Atlantic, TIME, New York Times Opinion Pages, The Economist, Forbes, Ars Technica, Vogue, Lady Lux, The Observer, Intelligent Life and countless other journals, blogs and such. There was no time, to game.
I also was victim of a social media craze where the university environment, combined with the narcissistic draw of social media meant I would broadcast my every thought and share every reading and every page. The nasty side effect was I got drawn into the web that is facebook and all the perils that come with it. I gained countless hours back by losing my semi-serious hobbies… but wasted all that time on facebook. Sure, I read those articles, but there was this constant nag… well, three weeks ago… I deactivated my facebook account as well. So, there! I guess I just said that facebook is a hobby. It isn’t, but it is a dangerous time sink.
So, now that I have completed my hobby shedding, let the creative energies I can muster come together to settle on ONE true hobby. (I’m modest, I don’t think I can fit in too many activities) The obvious candidate is writing, but I think that is setting my targets too low. I think I will cast my net broader and keep looking. One of these days, im going to find myself a hobby that I can stick to, one that doesn’t monopolize all my time and energy, but allows my creativity to flourish.
Ah desity, I’m ready!
I’m so ready.