Why having a hobby is important to your sanity

What do you do in your free time? This is something I never fail to ask people when I meet them for the first time. What they do for a living is interesting, but what they do for fun is more telling, I feel, than what they do for money. The things that people do purely for their pleasure - or the lack thereof - is usually tied in closely to what they're passionate about.

Some are taken aback whenever I ask the question above. They blink one or two times and even hang like trying to reconnect to a bad wifi signal! Some of them end up mumbling "I watch TV" or "I eat outside" without much conviction. It's like they never really thought about it before. They tend to end up saying that their job keeps them too busy to pursue any hobby, so they just aimlessly relax during weekends.

I've got nothing against a good ol' veg out session but I do have something against spending time just for the sake of spending it. Do you know what I mean? When you're so bored that you just want to spend the remaining x amount of hours before you can do your next thing? When your days seem so empty and your life in general so meaningless because there's nothing to do except wait for the next task at work, or see your friends, or go on a date?

Working and spending time with people you love are important, of course, but these involve pleasing others. I think it's equally (if not more) important to do something purely for yourself: a hobby. It could be anything from calligraphy to collecting shoes to drawing to cooking! As long as you have the need to learn as much as you can about it and to keep on being better at it for no other reason than you enjoy it, that's a hobby. 

I started blogging as a hobby. I was 19 then and just getting into makeup, so I decided to write about what I've learned about the process. More than seven years later, blogging is now a legitimate source of income for me, with advertisers, brand partners, and of course readers that I have to please. I still love beauty blogging after all this time. But now that I'm earning from it, it's not a hobby anymore. I don't do it just for myself at this point.

I fell in love with watercolor painting early 2014.  I devoured any information I can find on it, went far and wide for materials, and spent hours practicing what I've learned. I still do these. I don't really earn any money from it except from my workshops, but those are still for fun. Whatever I earn from my workshops actually just go to buying more art materials and books, haha!

Watercolor has literally and figuratively given color to my life. At some point I felt really tired about my blog and about my work as a social media and PR consultant, but painting has made the texture of my life richer, given it more depth. Because of it I'm not just a person trying to get through my life everyday. I've become someone who is endlessly inspired by the world around me and that, my friends, is priceless. Suddenly there is so much to learn and do.

If you're feeling mildly or even intensely dissatisfied with your life, I recommend picking up a hobby. Don't be shy. Don't be contemptuous about whatever it is you enjoy. It's never too early or never too late to find something you are (or could be) passionate about. Do it for your sanity.


PS - I advise against making someone else your hobby. You can't let one person be your main source of happiness, because you'll be sorely disappointed.