We all want to do what we love. For some people that is their career. Their job. For many, however, it is what they do outside of work that brings them the most happiness and enjoyment.
I am no exception to this rule.
I enjoy my job but I do not love it. I need to do other things to keep happy and that is where my hobbies come into it. Over the past seven years or so I have developed my hobbies from infrequent instances to more regular activities.
One of the first hobbies I started was photography. I got my first DSLR camera when I was 21 (about six years ago) but even before that was well known for being the designated photographer when my social group went out of an evening. Once I even had to return to my hall of residence during the first year of university to empty the memory card and recharge my camera. Back then I enjoyed looking at photos of nights out and the various activities we engaged in. It was also prestigious in a way, as I was certainly tagged in more photos on Facebook then just about everyone I knew. Now, however, it has a much deeper meaning to me.
Not only is there more skill involved with taking a good picture but the work doesn’t end with the taking of the picture anymore. Using computer programs to get the most out of your picture is the norm now and can result in some fantastic pictures. Seeing the finished product after all the hard work, all the bad attempts, is deeply satisfying to me. Not only that but the pictures I now produce are literally art pieces in other people’s homes. All people I know, admittedly, but still. They have large canvas prints given to them at Christmas of my pictures, or maybe they have a bespoke calendar I made filled with images from across my portfolio. My photos now adorn the walls above fireplaces, above sofas in lounges, and are placed prominently in kitchens. The feeling of accomplishment is strong every time I see them. It does bring me happiness.
The link between happiness and hobbies has been argued to be slightly mired. Because of how happiness is, it can be hard to prove what actually causes it. Indeed it is different for every person. Even when looking at hobbies we can see how true this is. Some people enjoy putting puzzles together and upon finishing the puzzle they are filled with happiness. Other people might find the act of putting a puzzle together to be a deeply boring activity. Despite this, I am a strong believer that having a hobby or two is a key ingredient of happiness.
I think it is also important to diversify your hobbies. Although, depending on the hobby, one might never become a master at it without devoting a lot of time to it, not allowing for other pastimes. An example of this from my own life is me trying to learn French, or to play the piano.
Both are activities I enjoy and dip in and out of from time to time. Unfortunately, as I do not commit time regularly to either hobby progression is slow. Sometimes I even seem to get worse if I leave it for too long. There is certainly something to be said for focusing on one or two hobbies in order to achieve mastery – and I’ll talk more about this in another post.
Regardless, hobbies allow an escape from other facets of life and, in doing so, can provide happiness to the individual. Of course, to achieve “true” happiness one must also face the issues in one’s life. But having a hobby to focus on from time to time certainly provides a little escapism, as well as a strong feeling of accomplishment upon reaching a particular goal or producing an item (be it a picture, a chair, or a symphony). I know I would not be as happy as I was now without my hobbies and the positive feelings that come with them. It is really amazing.
What hobbies do you have that brings you happiness? Do you have any hobbies you have stopped but wish you hadn’t? I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for reading,