Re-appraising the Value of the Hobby

I recently traveled to Iceland – worthy of its own, maybe even several articles – but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. During my stay I took a guided horse riding lesson along the Vik black sand beaches, led by Vik Horse Adventure (if you ever travel to Iceland, I highly recommend this experience). This is where I met Amy. She’s a theatre student from Denmark who travelled to Iceland for the duration of the summer just to work as a riding instructor. She doesn’t want riding or teaching to become her career, and is adamant that acting is her true passion. Horse riding for Amy is simply a hobby that earns her money during the summertime.

What happened to such endeavors? As the 21st century progresses, the value of the hobby has diminished for all but the young and the retired (and by the time you retire, you may be too old to actively participate in some of the things you love). During the summer, if students aren’t participating in internships or programs that bolster their resumes or add to their portfolios, they’re wasting their time. Unless you run a crochet shop, you don’t have time to crochet. Unless you’re a music major, you don’t have time to devote your winter break to your piano. And if you’re a working professional, forget having breaks to devote to hobbying at all.

I’m a journalism major. I plan to be a writer. That’s why I spend my free time writing blogs like this one or articles for other outlets – it’s not only for personal enjoyment, but also to add more to my list of published works. If I was studying biology or music and loved to write, these words probably wouldn’t have ever been typed. For example – I was a violinist for twelve years. When I was a child, before I went off to college, I would practice every day, enter competitions, and spend time at orchestra. However, even though I’m now on summer break, I haven’t touched my instrument in weeks. I’ve been spending my time writing, because that’s the action that’ll help me in the future. However talented I get at playing the violin, it won’t land me a job that couples with the degree I’m receiving.

It’s increasingly difficult to find pleasure in hobbies as workplaces continue to demand all of our time, and our place in working society is determined by the amount of time we put in. Free time is expected to be used to further our careers, not to partake in activities that bring us joy. For those of us who love our work, the constant expectation that our off-time should be used for work dampens the drive we have to complete it. I was inspired by Amy to create something of my own for my own enjoyment, something that wasn’t for career or monetary gain – which is the reason I created this new blog. It’s something for me, a place where there’s nothing to worry about but a blank page. I encourage you to do the same. If you don’t want a blog, pick up a craft, or play a sport you left behind in childhood. It may sound cliche, but the world is at your hands. Don’t give your life up to work.

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