As we grow through our teenage years, we’re encouraged to indulge in hobbies with little responsibilities; however, as the years go by, we have less time on our hands now to do the things we love.
By Faizan Nabi
Being brought up in a society where you have a targeted age to follow your passion and indulge in what you love, I have entirely scrutinized what a person has to face during that time. But does age determine what we need to love and what not? Many questions gain ground in my heart about being passionate about something except money making. Sometimes I fail to understand whether we survive to live or live to survive. Let me fully elucidate it all.
As we grow through our teenage years, we’re encouraged to indulge in hobbies, with little responsibilities from school, society, and the adults around us, enabling us to keep busy. However, as the years go by, the school work increases, and 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 artistry later. Right now, I got to text the cute girl from the other section”, and the story goes on in different forms. We still keep in touch with some of our hobbies and have time to throwback, relax, and unwind.
Then comes senior high school, when we need to brace for a job or university. Many 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.
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 to the table and money to the bank.
Or those who go for what they love, realize it doesn’t bring enough food on the table and decide to shift careers 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 transforms 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 to the table and money to the bank.
No, that’d be ridiculous. We’re somehow embedded with the notion that a healthy body, mental well-being, and other good things are inherent to us, and it’s the bad choices that make us unhealthy and mentally unhappy and throw other bad things our way. It’s high time we let go of that notion. Good things do not come naturally. A shredded or slim body isn’t what a healthy body is. Being happy always and smiling every morning right as you get out of bed isn’t mental well-being. Having a back that ache 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 childhood that if we keep loving something, we’ll find the time to do it. Maybe in those days, we could, and we had a lot of time and few responsibilities. Adults forget how to be happy unless something of monetary value is exchanged.
To do something you love needs the effort to put in. Efforts are made to find the time to do something not because you want to make money out of it or because it has potential in the market but solely because you enjoy doing it because you love it. Of course, a small percentage of people work in what they love and love every part of it, but that isn’t true for most of us.
We, humans, have very different notions 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 colours 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 colours 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 colouring books 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, playing silly games, feeling the sand in our toes, and rubbing 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 firmly believe diverging from daily routines of life with a hobby is the first step towards it.
The views expressed are the author’s own. He can be reached at [email protected]