As we grow through our teenage years we’re encouraged to indulge in hobbies. With little responsibilities from school and society and the adults around us encouraging us to keep us busy. However, as the years go by, the school work increases, we start having other responsibilities towards society albeit not too significant but some nonetheless. We have less time on our hands now to do the things we love. “I would love to paint but I got a quiz this week”, “I’ll practice cardistry later, right now I got to text the cute girl from the other section”, and the story goes on in different forms. We keep in touch with some form of our hobbies still. We’ve still got time to throwback, relax, and unwind.
Then comes senior high school, the time when we need to brace for a job or university. A lot of factors start playing in now, “Would I want to pursue doing what I love or go for what is hot in the employment market?”. You’re lucky if they’re the same thing, for most people it’s not. Here people either go for what’s hot in the market, work 9–5, and before long realize they’re 52 and midlife crisis hits them like a truck on a slippery highway.
Or those who go for what they love, realize it doesn’t bring enough food on the table and decide to shift career promising they’ll keep pursuing what they love on the side until their big break; except there’s only limited time in a day, and the inherent luxury of free time is not for most working-class folks; they end up the same, wondering where did it all go wrong.
Finally, we’ve got folks who pursue what they love and also happens to be hot in the market. However, over the years the passion and love for the niche slowly changes into a need to get good at it and beat the other competitors in the market. The desire to be better for the love of it slowly changes into the need for it, and in the midst of all of this, the passion is replaced with the urgency and competency to bring food on the table and money to the bank.
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So you’re telling me there’s no way out? We’re all doomed to give up doing the things we love?
No, that’d be ridiculous. We’re somehow embedded with the notion that a healthy body, mental wellbeing, and other things good are inherent to us and it’s the bad choices we make that make us unhealthy, mentally unhappy, and throws other bad things our way. It’s high time we let go of that notion. Good things do not come naturally. Having a shredded or a super slim body isn’t what a healthy body is. Being happy all the time and smiling every morning right as you get out of bed isn’t mental well-being. Having a back that aches without reason and constant dissatisfaction with your life is not normal.
What I’m trying to say is maintaining a hobby takes work. We’re all seeded with the notion from our childhood that if we keep love something we’ll find the time to do it.
Maybe back in those days, we could. We had a lot of time and very few responsibilities. As adults, we forget how to be happy unless something of monetary value is exchanged.
To do something you love, efforts need to be put in, responsibilities fulfilled, schedules cleared, mindset shifted and efforts put in to find the time to do something not because you want to make money out of it or that it has a potential in the market, but solely because you enjoy doing it; because you love doing it. Of course, there is a small percentage of people who work in what they love and love every part of it, but for the vast majority of us, that isn’t true.
We, humans, have a very different notion about things associated with a monetary value and as soon as you assign your hobby one, it stops being your hobby. You might love painting and can paint endlessly for hours submerged in the splish-splash of colors across the canvas but as soon as someone offers to pay you to paint a dozen pieces for them, the hours put in start seeming longer and the splish-splash of colors appear only to fulfill your accountability towards the person in exchange for their money.
Adults deserve to be happy
Why are the only places where we have coloring books are kindergartens and mental health clinics? Why is it that only children or troubled adults are given the opportunity to paint or read silly books? We need to change our mental model of being an adult from someone who is constantly tired and grinding every day to someone who is happy and interactive, making new friends, and looking at life from over its tragedies. We need to start doing silly things and playing silly games and feel the sand in our toes and rub some crayons on paper for fun not intending to make a masterpiece but because we love doing it. It’s time to normalize mental well being and I strongly believe diverging from daily routines of life with a hobby is the first step towards it.
Indian-Irish and one heck of a programmer!