Hobbies enrich our personal lives in many ways most people can’t even begin to imagine. Hobbies aren’t just something that children have, adults should have hobbies to keep themselves sane from stressful work.
“A hobby is any activity that brings joy to the hobbyist, often without a practical goal in mind other than to enrich one’s quality of life through active participation.”
Needless to say, people who had hobbies before COVID-19 hit us would have gotten along this challenging time easier than those who didn’t. Isolation can really do weird things to people at best, and terrible effects on our mental health at worst.
Maintaining a simple hobby, even if it’s just a one-hour investment per week, is an opportunity for us to get back in tune with our bodies, minds, and souls. I would sound like a broken record about how reconnecting with ourselves has benefits that will pay its dividends for many years to come.
For me, hobbies keep us curious and playful, which will keep us looking forward to something at the end of the week, apart from just binging shows on Netflix or gorging ourselves with sinful food.
And staying curious and playful is what will motivate us to improve ourselves in both professional and personal aspects. No one can keep up with work non-stop for decades — we all need an activity to unwind, apart from the annual overseas vacations.
Our safe space
A hobby that adds on to the stress from work isn’t a hobby. It’d quickly become a chore, and you’ll be back to square one. It has to be a hobby that alleviates stress, kind of like a happy pill that immediately boosts your energy level for the rest of the day or even week.
Friends and colleagues have asked me countless times how I keep up with agency life when it’s filled with anxiety, stress, and negativity on an hourly basis on bad days. My answer is always the same — yoga.
I’ve learned so much from yoga over the past few years, and more so in the recent year of more intentional practice towards my goal next year. Anyone who has maintained the same hobby for years would relate well.
Yoga is my safe space where even if I face plant from attempting or practising a sequence or pose, I wouldn’t feel embarrassed or discouraged. On the other hand, I’m even more pumped to do it again, even if it means that I would face plant again.
It’s probably how people who like to cook (for example, my wife) wouldn’t fear failing a new recipe because they’re curious and playful enough to test new waters.
It’s the process of discovering new recipes and whipping up dishes for loved ones that motivates cooking enthusiasts. It’s their unspoken safe space because loved ones would always support, even if it means finishing a kitchen disaster of a meal.
When maintaining a hobby feels like a safe space, the capacity of curiosity and playfulness is boundless.
Process, progress, passion
Although a hobby shouldn’t have any competitiveness and stress on us, it’s still rewarding to track one’s progress while trusting the process with a burning passion.
In my case, I don’t have a high goal for myself in my yoga journey, but I know what’s next — getting certified as a yoga instructor. I give my all (except on very tired days…) for every practice, regardless whether it’s an online or physical class.
I can see my improvement for certain poses after each session as my alignment and form get better. Likewise, chefs get good at cooking through repetition and understanding how each step from preparation to the actual cooking can make every bit of a difference in the taste.
Passion always burns with tenacity when the focus is not on the outcome, but on the process. We can’t control the outcome because anything that go wrong, can and will go wrong on bad days. We can only control our dedication to the hobby and process towards progress.
Surviving 2020, 2021 and beyond
Unless we’re hit by an apocalypse, even if another pandemic or disaster would to take over the world again in the future, nothing can stop us from maintaining a hobby that keeps us curious and playful. Only ourselves.
2020 is coming to an end, and even if you don’t have a hobby you can proudly talk about, it’s never too late, as with anything in life as long as we’re still alive and kicking.
Stay curious and playful.
Originally published at https://vancewong.com on December 13, 2020.