They’re often seen as the sign of a creative mind and an active lifestyle, and apparently – and most importantly – they’re one of the first things your tinder matches will ask you about, yet for many people, hobbies are a thing of the past.
It’s hard to know if we should miss them. After all, what is a hobby? This generation might say that simple things like reality TV and Soap Operas are their pastime, but a genuine hobby enthusiast from an earlier generation might call this a preposterous statement and drop their limited edition miniature locomotive steam engine, or ancient coin collection, in horror. While at the other end of the spectrum, if you tell someone who lives for personal fitness or football that they ‘have a nice hobby there,’ they’re likely to find the comment dismissive and condescending. It’s much more than a hobby, they’ll say; it’s a way of life.
So what is a modern hobby? Perhaps we don’t have any. Perhaps all the things we consider hobbies are outdated, and the pastimes we have replaced them with don’t quite fall into that category. Certainly old fashioned pastimes seem to carry more esteem than playing smartphone games. And what about exercise, film, reading, or food and drink? Aren’t they all just part of life, and if you do a bit of all of them, are any of them a bonafide hobby?
Perhaps we’re a generation of ever changing trends as opposed to lifelong passions.
Not to say that there aren’t still opportunities remaining to take up new and strange hobbies. If you looking for ideas, the World Conker Championships took place in Northamptonshire last autumn. Go along to that and it could certainly be called – amongst other things – a hobby. Yet crowds at such an event are unlikely, and it certainly wouldn’t be expected to weasel its way into the regular routine of many people.
We prefer nowadays to be caught up in smaller things, with greater intensity, for shorter periods of time. Last month many people put their world on hold to spend time watching the live stream of a puddle on the internet. Does #puddlewatch count as a hobby? Certainly it passed time that could otherwise have been devoted to a hobby. Likewise the same time next week will be spent doing something else, none of which will be described as a passion, but will provide suitable entertainment.
Perhaps we’re a generation of ever changing trends as opposed to lifelong passions. Maybe we would be better off finding passions and devoting our free time almost exclusively to them, rather than on fleeting fancies, but likewise, perhaps not. In previous times, when there was less entertainment to hand, people had to choose a hobby, and invest a bit of money in it, but now we do not. Either way, the most important thing is what hobbies are most certainly not, which is work. Whether hobbies or something else; bird watching or puddle watch, the most important thing is that we’re finding time in the day to do whatever pleases us.