Let's start off by defining a hobby with the help of this simple diagram by Roshan Bhondekar on Medium:
During this pandemic, I have noticed a great many family, friends, and acquaintances who do not have at-home hobbies that can be enjoyed alone. When asked about what they usually do in their free time under normal circumstances, the usual suspects reared their ugly head: drinking, Netflix, or hanging out with friends.
It is little wonder that when faced with ennui and bouts of introspection, many have been hit with varying degrees of depression and/or anxiety.
I understand that some simply did not have the time to pursue anything sustainable and chose interests that helped them "switch off" (which is a problem related to capitalism and overworking). I understand that some have a mental or physical dehabilitation that impacts that kind of activity that one can engage in. I understand that others are extreme extroverts that only have a home as a place to lay...or lay with someone.
But, for those who aren't at those extremes and have some more free time on their hands then they usually would...and have internet access. Some choose to continuously engage in those activities and can still shamelessly say that they are bored. This, I do not get.
I know I looked myself in the mirror, and told myself I need to be an interesting person. I have been fortunate enough to hold jobs that don't need me running to the office after-hours or on weekends. Granted, in one of them I had periods, where I was in the office from 7 am to 3 am the next day. I promised myself that I can't come out of this pandemic wholly uninteresting. But, I know we are not all built with the same drive or initiative.
At the time of this writing, I live in Tokyo: a place chock-full of strangers that are not comfortable with strangers. Which is completely at odds with how most people are in large cities. As a result, I suppose it is fair to say that I was practicing social distancing before the word become common parlance.
I became comfortable with enjoying time alone, more than I already did beforehand. Living in a 12sqm apartment does wonders for that.
During this time alone at home, I have:
- Applied for jobs and had unsuccessful interviews
- Did a considerable amount of research for some creative works (books, video games, short films and some music)
- Finished a couple of video games
- Learned more recipes
- Looked up Ph.D. programs and made a serious amount of notes on possible futures
- Organized some of my photo albums in preparation for uploading them on my website
- Read a couple of books
- Started redoing the code on my website with the help of a close friend
- Tried my hand at sampling to see how it works and started learning about music theory
- Watched some TV shows
- Written and scheduled a couple of blog posts
Before you jump down my throat, I need to highlight that there is no right way to live. Well...maybe don't go committing crimes. I know the rat race is real. I know it is hard to say no. But, I urge you to think about yourself in 30, 40, 50 years. Would all that work and no play be worth it?
And this is coming from a person who sleeps 4 hours a day, and always finds something to work on. In fact, many an ex-girlfriend would probably say that I need to stop myself from picking up new things to do, because I don't have enough time for the ones I already have chosen to engage in (and them).
Having at least a few [hobbies] is healthy. Having too many, or none: is not. There seems to be a lot of the latter. Everyone should have agency in their own lives, but it is heartbreaking when so many of us choose to waste away in front of a television.