======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ==== ======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ====
“So what do you do for fun?”
Does that sound familiar? Does it sound like a question you’ve been asked thousands of times in your life? Maybe something people say to you when conversation dries up at a networking event, or after the first drink on a first date?
It’s an innocuous question. It doesn’t make you ponder the meaning of life. It doesn’t require research or a Master’s degree. It should be easy to answer. And yet, it isn’t. At least not for me. Every time someone asks me this question, I freeze up. I get anxious. I don’t know what to say. Every time, all I can think is, “do people really have hobbies?”
Like, real hobbies? Are people out here, just pursuing their passions in their free time? How? Why? And most importantly, what are they? Whenever I’m asked about my hobbies, my mind goes blank, because deep down, I know I don’t have any. I mean, sure, I have stuff that I do outside of work. I go to the gym. I play rec sports. I drink, in various locations. I watch Netflix for hours. I…yeah. That’s pretty much it. Do those count as hobbies? Because they sure don’t seem to.
In my mind, a hobby is something that you’re passionate about, that you pursue outside of work on a regular basis. And – this is the hard part – it betters you as a person. Right? Because otherwise, anything could be a hobby. I do my laundry regularly, but that’s not my hobby. Mainly because I hate it, but also because it doesn’t add value to my life (outside of clean clothes). What about going to the gym? Is my hobby working out? Does it have to be bigger than that? Fitness? Is that it? Is that my hobby? I fucking hope not, that sounds lame as hell.
If you claim “fitness” as your hobby, I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re a fucking nerd. I know, I know. You thought that by getting swole and telling everyone about your “Crossfit PR,” you had society fooled. But you don’t. You’re still a nerd, you’re just a fit nerd. People whose main hobby is working out are just using it to fill a hole in their lives. Yeah, I’m talking to you, people at XSport Fitness at 11pm on a Saturday. We all know that if you had anything better to do you wouldn’t be grunting out deadlifts in a desolate weight room while everyone else is headed to the bars.
Which brings me to my last activity. Drinking. Is…is that my hobby? I mean, I do it regularly (more often than my parents would like, that’s for sure). I do it in a lot of different places (my apartment, the bar next to my apartment, the target next to my apartment, the alley behind my apartment), and I undoubtedly enjoy it. But is it a hobby? I don’t think so. It definitely doesn’t better me, and because of that, I wouldn’t be able to use it as an answer to that all-too-common question.
“What do you do for fun?” Oh, I get drunk, fellow coworker. That’s what I do for fun. That’s also what you do for fun. Hell, that’s what everyone does for fun. No one has real hobbies. Do you expect me to believe there are people out there that get home from work and immediately head out to the garage to work on an old ’69 Challenger they’ve been painstakingly restoring for nine years? Or that they meticulously craft ships in bottles, spending months on each project before carefully placing it upon a shelf in their study that holds dozens of bottled ships?
Get the fuck out of here. This is real life, not a movie. People don’t meet up with their friends every morning before work and play bridge, they don’t spend their Saturdays gardening, and they sure as shit don’t settle down with a good book to read every evening. I refuse to believe it.
And yet, every time our “hobbies” are questioned, we all feel the need to lie. To pretend we have full, enriching lives. To pretend we don’t all go home, toss a frozen pizza in the oven and put a movie we’ve seen a hundred times on the TV, only to ignore it and browse Twitter on our phones. We say things like “I have a book club on Thursdays,” which means “I drink with my girlfriends’ on the one Thursday a month we all have free.” We say “I like to spend my free time in nature,” which means “I spent two grand at REI and bought a bunch of camping equipment that collects dust in my basement while I limit my outdoor time to walking down the street to pick up my Chinese food instead of having it delivered.”
Hell, I do it too. Whenever I’m asked about my hobbies, I spout off some gibberish about “Spending time with friends, playing sports, and traveling.” Traveling? Can you believe that? Do you know how fucking rich you have to be to count traveling as your hobby? And I say that, out loud, to people. And they humor me, because they know they’re lying about “volunteering in food kitchens.” It’s a cycle of lying and embellishing, and I, for one, am sick of it.
The next time someone asks me what my hobbies are, I’m going to give it to them straight. I have none. I’m 26-years-old, and I spend most of my free time at the gym, the bar or the couch. I’m not ashamed. And neither should you be..