The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine and she mentioned that she recently made an effort to start learning Japanese again. It’s something that she’s always wanted to do, and though she has no immediate use for it in her daily life, it makes her feel really happy. Building on my last post, and the idea of physical activity just for the sake of being physical, I challenge you to make time to take up one hobby that you’ve been thinking about forever and ever JUST BECAUSE YOU LIKE IT.
Just because you take up writing, doesn’t mean that you have to be working on a novel, or posting to a blog. It doesn’t matter if you’re terrible at drawing if it brings you pleasure; you don’t have to have a show one day, or even ever share it with anyone if you don’t want to; just do it because you like it. Do you like crafting? That’s great! You can do it without ever making an Etsy store. Do you like cooking fancy dinners? Do it just for you! You can have a dinner party if you want; or don’t. Have you always wanted to learn the cello? Take lessons! For fun!
Too often, there’s the expectation that every hobby we take up, or activity we partake in, has to be associated with a goal, or outcome, or has to turn into a side hustle. And there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want. But it’s also important to remember that it is completely legitimate and valid and NICE to do things just because they make you feel happy. It’s good to have goals – goals can give you a sense of purpose in life, and help you to feel accomplished and like you’re contributing something to the world. But it’s also good to do things without any expectation that they have to be productive.
You don’t even have to rationalize your ‘just for fun’ activities if you don’t want to. You don’t need to share an article about how painting in your free time makes you a better parent because some study found that it increases your ability to empathize with your children. You don’t need to justify learning a new language because actually you noticed that your industry is expanding into this market and it could be useful in the future. You don’t need to do crosswords, because you read somewhere that it will help you to stave off senility by increasing cognition, and also will somehow enhance your sex life through self perceived increase in intelligence and therefor projected confidence. You can take up activities for those reasons if you want to and that’s fine. But you can also just forget all of that shit; every last bit of it; and do something because it makes you smile. That is absolutely fine too.