Our Hobbies Shouldn’t Just Be For “Free Time”

I sat down on my bed last Tuesday wanting to pull my hair out. With three papers due on Monday, a test on Thursday, and a new article to write that was due on Sunday, the stress monster had me in a choke hold. “Something’s gotta give,” I thought, “there’s no way I can write my article this week.”

I had it all planned out. I would shoot the staff an email and explain to them my predicament. I would tell them how I was up to my eyeballs in course work and that I needed a break. I needed space to breathe. I needed to organize the thoughts that were doing somersaults and cartwheels all over my brain like it was some sort of gymnastics center.

I thought that I would pass up doing what I love this week until I started doing it.

I’ve never been able to fully explain to someone what writing does for me. Ever since I could pick up a pencil and form coherent sentences, writing has always provided me with a sense of peace and enlightenment that nothing else can. Formulating pretty metaphors and stringing words together just…makes clear, perfect sense in my jumbled mind.

So, in all my stressed out, mind boggled glory, I opened a blank document on my computer. I cracked my knuckles. I wrote. And this is what I realized.

We all have our hobbies that we enjoy doing when life isn’t too crazy. I like to write, others like to cook, and some really motivated people that I admire immensely like to work out. We all have our beautifully unique things that are most commonly done during whatever free time life allows us.

“Free time.” Huh. There’s the kicker.

As I get older, though, the words “free time” have become very deceiving. Any time I spend sitting on my couch eating a bag of potato chips could always be devoted to something else. That’s not really my “free time,” it’s just me choosing to be completely unproductive.

With school, with family, with friends, with pets, with all of life’s totally unpredictable tendencies, does anyone really have “free time?” Is there ever a time where every single part of a person’s life is resolved, complete, and no longer in need of improvement? If there is, let me in on your secret. I would love to chat. I think most of us, however, would agree that this simply isn’t possible. We are constantly busy, we are constantly moving, and we are constantly working our butts off to be a better version of ourselves. Human beings are pretty awesome in that respect.

So, if we are always busy people who are always living extraordinarily busy lives, when do we explore our hobbies and interests? How do we find time for these fascinatingly unique talents and passions when we are constantly booked and overwhelmed?

You make time. You make it during your busiest week of your busiest day at your busiest hour.

Yup, that’s right. I said it. Instead of pushing your hobby, whatever it is, off to the side for another day when you are “not as busy,” do it right then and there. Take a break, take a breather, and allow yourself to partake in something you love. You will thank me, I promise.

When I sat down to voice my frustrations about my insanely hectic week through writing, I didn’t expect to write the article that I swore to myself I just couldn’t write this week. I didn’t expect to feel exponentially better after partaking in my hobby. I certainly didn’t expect for me to return to my school work with a smile on my face, knowing that I had just learned a very valuable lesson.

I do it all the time and you probably do, too. I catch myself thinking, “You know, I love to write, but I’ll do it next week when I have the time.” When next week comes, though, there is always something new that life has rudely chosen to throw my way. My time to write never comes and, subsequently, I never do it. After feeling so uplifted and rejuvenated just by typing a few frustrated words about my week, I realized that hobbies aren’t something that should be done in our “free time.” They should be done all the time.

This week, I challenge you to pay attention to your hobby, even if you are terribly, excruciatingly busy. I challenge you to make doing what you love a priority, even if it’s only for 30 minutes or so. Hobbies shouldn’t be something that we do when there is nothing else going on around us. Hobbies should be the activities we do to relieve stress, refresh our overwhelmed minds, and give us the inspiration we need to keep chugging along. Love your hobby, embrace your hobby, and, please, give your hobby some much needed attention this week. It will reflect positively on everything else that you do and successfully release you from the stress monster’s choke hold.

Casey Hale

Contributor, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Major: Secondary Education: English Her heart belongs to: Bold lipsticks, experimental sushi, black clothing, inspiring words, pleasantly awkward people, every Taylor Swift song in the world, and floral patterned anything. Take her away to: Any random town where she can walk around and act like a complete tourist.

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