WE ALL have habits and hobbies in life. Some of them we have outgrown for a while and suddenly, we just found ourselves returning to it. I guess these are hard habits and hobbies to break. Relatively, as we try to acquire ne habits and shed old ones, we also have habits and hobbies to get us by. Some have just stayed with us through the years, while we also try to develop new ones as time goes by.
Habits and hobbies define us, complete us, break us and can even destroy us. What is it in habits and hobbies? Are they intertwined, interrelated or interconnected? As defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary “a habit is an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary” while “a hobby is a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.”
What is there beyond our habits and hobbies? Habits pertain to behaviors which are often practiced in an unconscious manner. Sometimes we are not aware of our habits. Some people might even tell us of our annoying habits in which we are completely unaware. Then we start thinking about it. They might be difficult to get rid at first especially if you get so used to it. Eventually, we are all adaptive to change as we cultivate fresh habits for a better version of ourselves. But what about hobbies? If habits can be broken, can hobbies be assembled? How do we choose our hobbies? Do our habits influence our choice of hobbies?
So much of who we are today are the products of our habits and hobbies. I am a believer of George Bernard Shaw’s maxim “Happy is the man who is living his hobby.” I equate my hobbies with fun, excitement and pleasure. You might think I have adrenaline-pumping hobbies such as diving, mountain climbing or surfing. Yet, my greatest hobbies since I was a child which are ingrained in me are the “not so boring” reading and writing. I belong to the Gen X genus and I am the typical couch potato type. During my teenage years, I have this nasty habit of reading whenever and wherever I want to. I would sneak into my pocketbooks during classes, or convocations or a family gathering. I am even scolded by my mom for reading even during brownouts. She always warned that such habit of reading even with a very little amount of light could get me blind. I never heeded such warnings especially when I am about to finish a chapter or the entire book itself. In short, reading was my first hobby which was impossible to break.
I remembered my parents getting excited over me to learn some skills. I was made to study on how to play the piano. I struggled with the notes. My fingers were numbed and aching. I cannot get it right every time the teacher would enthused me to play. I even told myself maybe it was one of my mother’s frustration. I wanted to scream to her “You wanted to learn how to play piano, then it should be you who should tinker these keys!” That could have been an interesting hobby but it did not work out.
There was also this unforgettable event during my high school years. We were learning how to play basketball in our Physical Education class. I was so thrilled with the thought of having a new hobby aside from reading. But guess what? My female classmates who were smaller than me had a knack for the game. I can’t even dribble the ball without being afraid of losing it. They were really good while I stood in wonder on their amazing moves. Another hobby lost even in its making.
Playing card games was also a form of amusement for the whole family. I got hooked to varied games which were introduced by my parents. Weekends were never the same without a game of rummy or playing solitaire. I taught my younger siblings how to play cards and before we knew it, it was a regular family routine. However, when I married and had my own children, I was only until introducing the games I used to play. Playing cards was way out of my husband’s league. Hence, that hobby was shelved -- just a part of my memory.
There was also a time I was fascinated with sketching and drawing. Sketchpads were not as popular before. My notebooks and papers were witnesses to my trial and error sketches of girls in fashionable clothes, houses with manicured lawns and countryside views. My parents could have seen something in my drawings since they keep on buying the materials to sustain my hobby. My brothers also took on the hobby and their drawings were much better than mine – with a different genre. I dearly hold on to such hobby until my teenage days. It was only until I entered a trade drawing class in high school, that such fantastic hobby fell apart. We were made to submit one plate per day in our drawing class. I find this impossible with all the technicalities which include the isometric view, bird’s eye view and the unforgettable worm’s eye view. I thought drawing was a cool hobby but I was placed on hot seat in that class as I struggled to cope up with the voluminous plates. Technically, I have lost interest for the hobby with the overwhelming lessons and requirements I got from the Technical Drawing class.
Then came an invitation for writers for the school publication. I remembered the famous school paper adviser, Ma’am Bing Arnejo visiting our class one day. She came with a breath of fresh air. She hopped to different classes just to scout “newbies.” I have no idea on the different forms of journalistic writings but she got me. I was armed with the hope of getting accepted with the marks I got in my formal theme writing during my elementary years. I gave it a try. She accorded me a break. I even remembered my first article was a personality sketch on a campus figure. My hobby had evolved from reading to writing. My hobbies since then involved reading and writing.
Reading and writing -- these hobbies have eventually become part of my habits. However, with the rigors of work and family life brought about by this pandemic, I only got less time to read. Yet, with the old habits I have for this hobby, I am freely giving some tender time for a good sleep just for a good read. Reading fills me...reading makes me...reading completes me. Be it a book, a journal, a pamphlet, comics or anything which caught my fancy, I would read it. The other hobby which is writing, is quite close to my heart. Relatively, I would not be able to cultivate this hobby if not of my early exposure to condensed stories in the Reader’s Digest. My dad has a vast collection and I started skimming and scanning its pages when I was in my elementary years. Reading paved the way for my writing hobby. Writing inspires me...writing shapes me...writing frees my heart and soul...If I can be anywhere or whatever I want in reading, it is also in writing where I can talk with anyone and share my views and opinions to everyone. It liberates and gives me a chance to express my thoughts in an interesting rhythmic pattern. When I am bored, I look for words. When I am confused, I scribble my thoughts. When I am excited, I organized my mind. But when the mood to write hits me, every word just fell into place.
The texts and characters easily come to life when I read. I subconsciously feel and taste life when I write. These two hobbies have stuck with me -- through thick and thin -- through awkward and unguarded moments -- through triumphs and accolades -- through failures and lessons.
Do we have the same feeling? Do we share a common hobby? Do you have a hobby which becomes a habit for life? If one could only shop hobbies, I would buy more of these hobbies, probably a new version, if there are any. I might possibly get entangled with new past times -- but reading and writing -- these hobbies I can’t live without...such hobbies I couldn’t be without. I am my hobbies and my hobbies make me. My interests may evolve. I could even widen my span of discovering other interests for enjoyment and relaxation. Yet, reading and writing are here to stay. They are such hard hobbies to break.