Hobby is such a weird word. Good ole Oxford Dictionary says it’s an “activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure” (its other meaning is “a small horse or pony”—stunning work, English language). Even weirder is having a hobby. We do our silly little activities, rinse and repeat, for nothing but pure enjoyment. What a cool concept! So, why do we wreck ourselves with things like studying, working, and waiting in rush hour traffic that don’t leave us with time to ourselves? But being serious, it’s hard having a hobby these days that isn’t co-opted by opportunism or devalued because it’s not “useful”, that’s affordable and convenient. That’s just modern living, so suck it up, you might rationalise. But that’s not good enough. There’s something liberating about recognising a hobby as a thing of pure enjoyment, all for you. It’s too fucking rare these days to reclaim a hobby and dedicate yourself to something other than the grind, but we it’s something we all need.
Why even have hobbies?! I have like a million things on my plate! like this job, Uni, my small business, managing relationships, and just trying to live my life; self-care-the-fuck-outta-my-day!! It’s hard balancing it all, and I’m cracking, truly, so that’s why I have hobbies. But I like hobbies that are concentrated on me-time and ones that help me hone in and exercise my focus. I tend to get distracted very easily, and allowing my mind to focus on one thing at a time, makes me feel like I have more control over my brain; hence, bettering my decision-making, time-management, and overall gives me time to unwind!
I am obsessed with kinesthetic-stimulational hobbies, specifically, drawing and crocheting. Firstly, drawing, it’s my job here. I can’t complain, I’m given a vague prompt and I let my imagination run wild which is super super, great, because I get paid for it. It’s tough because even if my degree is a Fine Arts degree, I don’t get to enjoy and delve into illustration the way I would like to. Illustrating helps me unlock my inner child, and honestly, doing it as a job, where my work is so—shockingly—loved, makes my inner child feel safe and welcomed, even in a professional setting. And, I guess the more that we tackle that inner child in us, the better, right? I don’t know how to explain it, but everytime I illustrate I become more… me?
But crocheting on the other hand, admittingly I haven’t had much time for it these days but it definitely helps me reduce my anxiety—caused by OCD. I have THE WORST anxiety tick of peeling the skin off my fingers. It is disgusting and hurts a lot but I can’t fucking stop? But last summer, when I started crocheting (because I had ample time to), I stopped picking my fingers. Like, huh? Really Gabbie, that easy? RIGHT! Yeah, that easy. I was so shocked too, but crocheting really helped me unknot the tension in my head. It’s crazy how it can be so devalued sometimes, because of its ‘domestic-female’ origin, but I’ve never found a solution to my bloody fingers like crocheting, and aside from that, I can just make myself a hot girl skirt, so fuck you Chad for telling me I’m like your nan, because guess what, your nan knows a thing or two more than you!!
Hobbies are something that I’ve let slide since starting Uni. I think of them in terms of their usefulness: Do I get a tangible benefit from it? Does it look good on a CV? I hate that I have this mentality around things I used to enjoy that were just fun, but honestly I can’t help it. I’m way too stressed about my employee marketability to invest time into activities I actually enjoy.
As students with little spare time and the pressures of getting A Job with our too expensive degrees, hobbies for ourselves are something we let go. At the very least, we chuck these cute hobbies on our CVs as a formality to show that we’re real people. We feel the pressure to make room for more important things, like carrying a group assignment or a 5% quiz, and hobbies are the first to go. But hobbies with transferable skills can stay in the hopes that potential employers can look at it and go, “This cunt can write? See him draft up paperwork in an hour then”. The amount of friends I know who put down ‘reading’ as a hobby on their CVs, but lament not having picked up a book in years due to life getting in the way makes me sad, man.
I experienced something really jarring in a job interview recently. I went into the interview feeling quietly confident—I’d done my prep: researched the firm, practiced my delivery, made sure I was looking corporate hot. It was smooth sailing until the interviewer was bold enough to ask me a question. It was a curveball I did not expect: “What’s your go-to hobby that helps you unwind from the stress of hard work?” When I tell you I blanked—caucasity. I ended up rambling about how advocacy is my passion cause I get to be social while trying to change the world. Cringe bootlicker answer? Absolutely. Transparent and inauthentic? Someone’s actually gone to Specsavers ‘cause they were seeing right through me. Instead of being upfront about my hobbies and what I actually do to kickback, I tried to look employable and embarrassed myself in the process. At the very least, I came off boring and weird because who the fuck with an actual personality claims advocacy is their hobby? I left that interview thinking how much I hate being HR’s whore.
This is what I should have said to my interviewers: I do have hobbies. Even if I don’t do them as much as I like, they’re my go-to outlet. I play music, and that’s what gives me a break from the bullshit of the grind. I’m honestly pretty shit at my instruments and I start more pieces then I finish. But I get to be loud for a good reason and it’s almost like I’m venting—that’s something I desperately need when things go wrong or the Uni stress is peaking. That same relationship is what I’m trying to rebuild with writing. I love it, except that passion dies every time the multiple 1500-word essays due in two days of each other start rolling in. But I’m trying to reclaim this hobby of mine—and I pushed myself into student journalism with its deadlines and issue themes to give me the kick up the ass to keep me accountable.
Sure, you can find some desirable skill in these hobbies of mine, but fuck it. They’re for me, myself, and I. Not every activity has to be for something—it’s enough for you to just enjoy something for the sake of it. That’s something you won’t find on Linkedin.