BENGALURU: It is Sunday afternoon, and three quarters of my family is holed up watching the cricket match. I have been invited to join in, but I decline, offering the excuse that I have plenty of things to get ‘done’.
I amble back to my bedroom and lie down, thinking of all the things that need doing. Cleaning my cupboard. Cleaning the children’s cupboard. No. I think something is creating a home in the Lego box in their room. Best not to disturb the new tenants. Start a new writing project I’ve been toying with? Oh look, the best Father’s Day ads, as offered by Facebook.
I like to blame my phone for sucking up all my ‘free’ time. I keep telling myself, that there are so many things that I could be doing if I wasn’t on Facebook. But the truth is, I don’t really have much to do. Outside of work, yelling at my kids and pretending to not think about what’s living in that damn Lego box that is.
As a child, I collected stamps, learned to play the classical flute and to sing. I even had a brief, unfortunate tryst with netball, that was put paid to by the fact that I stopped growing (in height, not girth). It also didn’t help that I would duck when the ball was headed my way.
How many of you reading this still pursue the hobbies of your childhood? Or, have you picked up new ones as an adult which you enjoy? In my head exists a Pinterest-worthy Utopia in which I pursue the best hobbies there are. Virtuous, wholesome hobbies.
I bake. I grow my own beets. I play the guitar like Slash. In my defence, I have attempted to bake and grow my own beets. I had to dump the results of the former in the compost bin, something so toxic that it killed the beets before they even had a chance. The only thing I can do is play guitar like Slash. Without a real guitar. But trust me, I sound amazing.
So why did I bother pursuing these things as a child? My mom made me I guess. And what do I have to show for it as an adult? NOTHING.
This makes me wonder, should we be spending our money and our children’s childhoods on activities that are perhaps only done to ‘occupy’ them productively, look good on college application forms and that we can brag to other adults about? Should I just do everyone a favour and stop the piano lessons and tennis coaching now? It’s not like there’s a guaranteed ROI on this thing.
Of course, I’m sure a bunch of you are now going to write to me extolling the virtues of hobbies, and how when you’re feeling blue you like to compose music and brew your own artisanal beer (what commune did YOU grow up on?).
How your children are blooming under the ameliorating effects of playing the mandolin and doing advanced sudoku. Well, bully for you. Find myself a new hobby. I am open to suggestions. And any offers of help to find out what’s in that Lego box. Damn.