Beyond the Hustle: Why You Need to Revisit Your Hobbies
You don’t always have to monetize that passion project
These strange times have offered a unique opportunity for us to be idle. One headline reads, “Now is not the time to obsess about productivity!” During the period of social distancing, it is a silver lining, especially with the obsessive glorification of the “hustle culture,” where every passion project becomes a source of income. After all, we are a generation of “slashers,” multifaceted individuals with multiple jobs to sustain ourselves in this era of late-stage capitalism. It is a stereotype, but a true one at that.
At the beginning of the year, I was juggling a full-time job and two part-time jobs. This was the only way I could have enough savings to put away; stability is elusive. Well, it left me exhausted and burnt-out. I couldn’t even spend my hour-long lunch break without thinking about or doing work. When I was younger, some part of me was obsessed with romanticizing the hustle; doing nothing simply made me restless. Now, I’ve learned to balance work with hobbies for a healthy work-life integration—God knows I need it.
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Kashia on Twitter summarizes the need for hobbies perfectly, “I feel like my generation lost hobbies. Everything doesn’t have to be a hustle, side hustle or money-making enterprise. Sometimes, it’s just fun to do something because it brings you peace, relaxation or allows you to be creative.”
Don’t get me wrong, as much as this post received good feedback, not everybody shares the same sentiment. One user writes, “We don’t have hobbies because most of us are too busy trying to find ways to make money and pay the bills, so measure hobbies are put to the wayside.” Another user argues, “Hobbies are something you do with disposable time and disposable income. A luxury most in our generation do not have.” Still, others back her up, “This is so relatable. I can’t relax. I don’t know how. I’ve turned three of my hobbies into side hustles so I can say I’m working; otherwise, I feel guilty.”
I concur. We need to acknowledge that having disposable time is a luxury not shared by many. For the privileged, it boils down to the guilt we feel when we’re unproductive. We’re groomed to always be moving, incapable of rest. Maybe in this time of self-isolation and quarantine, this is something we can rediscover and explore.
“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody:
courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust—and those elements are universally accessible.”
Hobbies need not be extravagant. You don’t even have to be good at it. It’s essentially setting aside time for ourselves to flourish because we need it for our mental health and well-being. If you can allot time to mindlessly scroll through your social media feed, you also have time to rediscover or learn a hobby or two.
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Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert argues the case for creativity and the need for hobbies in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. She writes, “The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust—and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.” It need not have a tangible result, sometimes you just need a form of release after a long day’s work. It’s just purposely creating without hoping for or fearing consequence.
I’ve finished five books this year—out of my goal of 50 titles—as tracked on my Goodreads account. I no longer feel guilty when I spend time away from my laptop to rest. I’ve started to learn how to cook, albeit starting with canned goods for now. Everybody needs a hobby, whether it’s something as simple as exploring TikTok, being a Plant Mom, learning how to embroider or listening to podcasts. Make room for hobbies and give it space to grow; maybe, you’ll end up finding a part yourself.
Art Alexandra Lara