The Midult’s guide to...
We read books but we are not members of a book club, because that’s just school, isn’t it?
‘What are your hobbies?’ Perfectly reasonable question, you might think. or, let’s soft en it a bit :‘ What do you like to do in your spare time?’ Now…
answer. Go on, answer. Maybe you’re in a job interview. Maybe you’ re on a date. Maybe you’re having a really dire, brass-tacks dinner-party conversation that you need to be over. Like, now. Because other wise you’re going togo rogue. you’ re just that bored and resentful.
once upon a 20th century, there was that section at the bottom of a CV where people would put things like, ‘I enjoy going to t he cinema,’ or ‘listening to jazz ’, or‘ travel ’. Call us cynical, but aren’t those things really just Netflix, the radio in the car and the odd holiday? aren’t they just life? Do we need to curate our hobbies like we do our Instagram feeds to give the world an idealised view of how we ‘use’ our time? Do we need to show that we are ‘what did I achieve today? ’ people who ceaselessly gather our rosebuds and carpe that diem? are hobbies about pleasure or about proving something? If t hey a re about pleasure, t hen what about baths? Many, many baths? and lying in a darkened room? Do these count?
No one actually asks, ‘What are your hobbies?’ in real life. But even, ‘What do you enjoy ?’ sets off alarm bells because it’s the kind of( desperate) conversation that in spires value judgements and categorisation. See? We’ve just judged you for even asking us. But that’s just because we’re scared. We get mean when we’re scared.
We understand that we may be the odd ones out here. We do not have hobbies. We do not ski or mountain climb or sky dive. We don’t do pottery or embroidery or painting. We rarely go to galleries, are not attempting to learn a foreign language, and are suspicious of the theatre with all its middle-class, self-satisfied fire risk. We cook to feed people rather than to self-improve. We exercise to feel better rather than to see the world while hiking.
We read books but we are not members of a book club, because that’s just school, isn’t it? We don’t play an instrument and we’d rather not even talk about DIY. occasionally we ride bikes, but by no stretch of the imagination are we ‘into cycling’. Similarly, we walk to places now and again without classing ourselves as ‘keen’ walkers. Meditation? We feel so violently against it that we should probably do it. But we don’t. and the likelihood is that we won’t. until we need a spiritual rehabilitation, and then we will. But we won’t talk about it. Because we’ll be in the middle of a nervous breakdown.
We like our friends. We like to chat. and to think–when we have the energy, when our brains are not boiling over. We like telly–but that doesn’t count, does it? Shame. this lack of hobbies make us feel as though we’re letting ourselves down somehow. But, in an ideal world, life is the hobby, isn’t it? With all the colour soft he rainbow? Without knitting. or mountain climbing. Is that allowed? themidult.com