I’ve run into a recent issue of finding people who do not value their likes, dislikes, and the things they do for fun. A little over a year ago, this was me. I never really did anything with people or by myself that I considered a hobby outside of working in a scene shop, playing video games on occasion, and maybe seeing friends if I was lucky enough that I wasn’t slammed with homework. This is the usual ploy for college kids. But even after school was over for me, it was still a struggle—I wasn’t sure what I enjoyed doing, and when I found things I liked, I didn’t know how to cultivate them.
I’ve been there and I find that not having a lot of free time as an adult makes it hard for us to do the things we’re passionate about—it’s a combination of social norms, having money to do it, and the time and drive. I’ve fallen out of gaming lately because I haven’t had time or drive, and because I cycle through hobbies. The weather is beautiful here in New England so I haven’t spent time on Xbox because I’d rather use my precious vacation time outside. While I might switch off of my hobbies and onto others, I am finding that many people in my life are finding themselves lost. I have found myself lost.
Along with my love for gaming, and my fight against the gaming stereotype, I want to ensure people that it is okay to play videogames, it is okay to go kayaking. Its okay to take your weekend time off from work to go on fun adventures with friends or to stay in and watch some movies. I want people to understand that your hobbies are equally as important as your health. They’re actually kind of hand in hand. The ultimate goal of both is to be happy.
You need to find things to exert energy on and that can make you proud over time. And Nick Offerman said it best, in his American Ham stand up, “There’s a life of study ahead of you.” You have all this time in life to fill with hobbies outside of your job, and your regular obligations like cooking for yourself, taking care of your home, getting to the gym, bringing in income, etc. You need to commit to something else that is strictly for you—that you can also share with others. Its something you might do socially and/or alone, depending on how you feel that day.
This concept is so important. As a gamer, even if it’s not in my calendar right now to play videogames, it is still important to me. When it gets colder outside, I’ll be committed to some missions on my Xbox, and I think that’s important. It’s my hobby. I can lose myself there, use my imagination, customize my character, think about the plot twists, and play socially. This gives me time to think, reflect, be creative, and socialize outside of my job and regular day to day tasks.
I really do care about whether or not you take the time to commit to something outside of your job and adulthood chores, geek or not. Some days I think I just want to lay in a hammock and read books. Other days I want to crochet, play videogames, or cook some cool food. They’re all hobbies and things to learn about and spend time working on.
Warhammer 40K has been a great hobby for me because I share it with my significant other and friends, and I can commit to learning about the game, painting the figures, etc. I want to see more people making commitments to more than just watching television and going to bed.
I have challenged myself to dedicate a few hours a week to a hobby. I challenge you to that too. Work on a chapter you’ve been writing, rent a kayak for a day, go for a hike, save a city in Skyrim. Whatever your hobby is, please spend more time committing to it.
If you want to see improvement in the social parts of your life, better your friendships, and come home to more after work than just prepping for the next day and sleeping, please find a hobby worth your time, and test run some things. I want you to learn about yourself, find an outlet to use when you need to step back, and aspire to be good at something by dedicating time to practice and learning.
On the plus side, being a total geek allows you to have so many hobbies and things to be passionate about (loudly), while learning of other new things! So kudos to you if you can embrace that. For those of you who can’t, work on it, figure some things out, ask friends to show you what they do at night.