I was reading my brother’s online journal, a post finally after so long, and he talks mostly about hobbies, and how he has too many. In essence, he has too many interests, and feels he can’t devote enough time or energy to them, and then becomes disappointed in his progress.

As I read his entry, it sounded so much like someone who was trying to level up a character – even speaking of skill development and the like – that it seemed so backwards from what, to me anyways, a hobby should be.

A hobby should be puttering. It should be Saturday mornings fussing around with a half-drunk cup of tea, slippers and no sense of time hanging over your head. It should be immediate gratification, a guilty pleasure of play. It should be gleeful. It should be for it’s own sake.

I used to write and draw all the time when I was younger. In school, I could take notes and follow the class well enough that I would spend time doodling in the margins, or writing spontaneously of whatever entered my head. Into University, it was worse/better. I would have whole panels of fantasy characters alongside forensic notes and ethnographic studies. When I worked as a telemarketer for that one year, my scrap papers next to the phone were pages upon pages of stolen moments of joy.

It was when I wanted to turn that into something, particularly my writing, that my … I guess my artistic side went from loose and spontaneous to structured, stiff and fossilized. I over-analized everything. Nothing was good enough. Ideas stopped coming. The pencil stopped working. I anguished. I cried. I let it go.

So do I wish I still had that flow? Yeah. It was all fun for me, nothing good or fantastic or marketable, but fun for me. It was a hobby. I tried to make it all of me, make it a career, and I killed it.

I get that same joy when I start to putter in the kitchen. And I know now the immediate gratifcation of cooking something, and then having someone call it fantastic. I had a satay sauce I made tonight called genius, and I’ll be hugging that feeling for many nights to come. Maybe if I ever switch to a job that’s more office-ish, I’ll get back in the doodle/writing thing again as a sanity saver. But the way I tried to write before, the utter self-destroying drudgery I had turned it into – never again.

Sam, I’d love to tell you this, but I know you would just take it all spazzy-wrong. Hence the Friend’s Only entry. You’re overthinking all of it. If it’s not making you go “WHEE!” when you think about doing it, while you’re doing it, or after your doing it, it’s not a hobby. It’s an obligation and our lives have enough of those without making up new ones.



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