hob·by: An activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure.
Hobbies are an interesting concept in today’s day and age. At first glance it may seem as though hobbies are commonplace. There are bird watchers, craning to hear the tweets of seemingly common but in fact rare species of Thoughtus Leaderus. We have writers, churning out volume after volume of “Re:”, a seemingly endless story of response and avoidance. We even have ghost hunters, looking at snaps that may disappear in anywhere between 1 - 10 seconds.
However, upon further review it appears that today’s ‘hobbies’ may in fact not fit the traditional definition of the term. Ask people what their hobbies are and, should they be young enough to not remember life without the Internet, they’ll likely respond with an “Um” or an “Ah” and then offer a perfunctory response that could be found on a Bingo! sheet: Reading. Traveling. Cooking. Playing sports. Watching movies.
In a world of 24/7 connectivity, where yesterday’s news is considered ancient and there are few greater fears than that of missing out, the idea of a hobby is often forgotten. And yet having a hobby or, said differently, having something you enjoy doing outside of work that is done regularly for pleasure, seems even more important to general happiness and wellbeing. An always on world can mean an always on mind. Burnout is a feeling all too common, particularly among motivated, societally conscious men and women a few steps (and years) away from being the boss but don’t want to wait much longer. So the 40-hour workweek becomes an 80-hour workweek, turning otherwise normal people into sadists, one-upping each other with stories dripping with late night conference calls and absurd send times on emails. Outlets are critical to mental and physical balance. Stress-free leisure time, away from judgement, self perceived or otherwise, is critical.
So find a hobby. Something fun. Something relaxing. And, by the way, you don't need to do something to be the best at it. You don’t need to do something because it will make you better at your job. Do something that makes you uncomfortable. Do something that makes you think differently, that helps you explore. The journey you will embark upon (and more importantly, the journey you are putting on hold for a moment) will prove to support the myriad of aspirations you have for yourself in life. Or it won’t. And that’s ok too. At least you’ll have a more interesting answer when someone asks what your hobbies are.