I’ve never really had a hobby, unless you count art, which the IRS once told me I had to declare as a hobby since I hadn’t made money with it. -Laurie Anderson
Turn your hobby into work…
Sounds really nice, in theory, and can be nice in reality.
But not always.
Because much of what we love about our hobbies is contained in the variation, newness, and excitement of it. It is not the same thing we do at work or the duties we have at home; it’s voluntary, it’s personal, and it’s different from what we have to do.
And that’s kind of the point…
The purpose of a hobby is to give you a way to decompress from your work, or to express yourself without pressure or judgement or salary attached to it. It’s about being who you are outside of your career or family obligations.
Of course you enjoy it (more) because it doesn’t come with the stress, pressure, deadlines, etc., of work… Until you turn it into work.
2 things to consider
1. Work is good. But it’s work.
What’s wrong with work? Nothing. Let it be work. It’s good to have work. Work gives us meaning (and money, if we’re lucky). It helps us grow and become disciplined. It helps us learn and challenge ourselves. It demands a certain maturity to do good work, day in and day out.
The obligations, responsibilities, deadlines, and even the stress of work help us to grow up, get over ourselves, become more disciplined, and become better people.
The fact that work is hard doesn’t mean that work is bad. We need difficult things, challenges, exercises, duties in our life. Otherwise we would all sit on the couch eating Baked Lay’s and complaining about nothing good being on the 5000 channels of cable tv…
Sometimes we can’t muster the will power to make ourselves be better; that’s when the necessity of work kicks in and forces us to be better.
2. Play is good. We need it.
But all working is as bad as no working. We need relaxation. We need to de-stress. We need to do stuff that’s just fun, just because it’s fun.
We need to immerse ourselves in interests and activities that aren’t connected to a deadline, a paycheck, or a career title.
Keep some stuff that isn’t work. You need play, too. It’s equally good and equally important. It fuels the work.
And here’s the key:
your hobby is your play. Your hobby might be something that could be good, interesting, and profitable work. But if you turn your play into work, you’ll have to find some other form of play.
I love what I do, but it’s work. I love that it is work. I need work.
I love my hobbies because they’re not my work.
The contrast matters.
Including both work and play in your life matters.
How do you keep play in your life?