I think I have created a problem within myself that I definitely need correcting. I need a hobby. This is a pretty recent problem for me.

Last year, I finished my second novel and therefore turned a hobby into a bit of a career because that was the only thing I was working on. During that time, I gave myself the excuse of dropping some hobbies I had created: surfing and boxing to be the primary ones.  I still have the board and I still have the boxing equipment. Having those things, however, does not create activity.

But why should I have a hobby? Why should anyone, in this busy American society, have a hobby? Well, Psychology Today gave a few reasons to have a hobby. They are as follows:

* Time Structure

* Therapeutic

* Create New Social Connections

* Stress-Coping Mechanism

* Makes You More Interesting

Making You More Interesting

Let’s focus on the last one. Everyone wants to be considered interesting. We want to be the center of the conversation at least for a minute. It’s natural. We don’t want to be considered as the person who doesn’t do anything except work or watch TV.

I have a friend who is a controller for a successful business. He’s a great guy who has a great personality, and chances are he’s not wanting to be remembered as someone who gave his entire life and all of his energies to his 9-to-5. He bikes and does so almost professionally, competing all over the country (even the world, if memory serves). I have another friend who has invested so heavily in fitness that he’s turned it into more than a hobby. He’s been on American Ninja Warrior several times and has turned the hobby into a lifestyle—though he still views it as a hobby.

Conversations they have are interesting because they aren’t about numbers, taxes, sales, production, profits, and other things that the common person with any type of intellect could not give two craps about. They are about persistence, perseverance, getting better at something, competition, winning and losing, heartache and triumph, seeing the world, and everything else that the common person with any type of intellect does give more than two craps about.

A hobby makes you interesting. And it keeps you busy. It gives you drive.

My grandfather’s cousin, who is in his 80’s, collects and works on old outboard motors and is part of an outboard motor society (who knew there was such a society?). It is an interest and a hobby that has helped him stay busy and have something above and beyond the regular run-of-the-mill stuff to do.

The Difference Between a Habit and a Hobby

By definition, a hobby is: an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.

Obviously a hobby becomes a habit. That’s how you remain consistent with it. A habit, however, doesn’t necessarily become a hobby. Drinking coffee isn’t a hobby. You may take the time to meet friends for coffee on a consistent basis, but that doesn’t indicate a hobby. It doesn’t really require any physical or mental exertion.

Netflix is not a hobby. Not even Netflix and chill can be considered a hobby, despite the physical exertion. Movies and TV shows are ways to help create conversation because entertainment is an interest most people have. But binge watching doesn’t stimulate your brain, if anything, it allows it to vegetate. Don’t get me wrong. Vegetative states when you’ve had a long week or month, or haven’t taken any time to relax and unwind in a long time isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes it’s pretty necessary. Most guys don’t go out for a spa weekend, or at least they shouldn’t. We sit at home and watch shows and play video games.

That, however, shouldn’t become a habit, even if we continue with the long weeks. A hobby will take those long weeks and create an actual de-stresser (just made that word up).  Gardening, fishing, building, painting, golfing, music, etc. These are therapeutic because it forces the mind and body to be active, but for something that is enjoyable.

Internet Addiction: Not a Hobby

People are treating the Internet as if it was a hobby. Sure, we may get our news online with our phones or laptops. Or we may conduct some research for some random topic. But way more often than not, the purpose of the Internet for most Americans falls somewhere in between social media and nothing important.

It has become such a problem that there is actually a term called “Internet Addiction.” There are psychiatrists and psychologists that help people resist the Internet in order for them to lead normal lives again. Our lives will never go back to how they were pre-Internet, and that’s all right. But the countless hours spent online can be summed up pretty accurately as a mere waste of our lives. Think of the hours just last week you spent online. What exactly did you get out of it that benefitted you? If you answered that you did benefit from it, then congratulations. But my money is on the idea that you didn’t.

Social media, however, has provided us with a potential hobby. Instagram. A neat little way to practice photography. Of course, this is a stretch, but it is a thing. Most people utilize that little photo lens to take close-up shots of their faces, but there are some people who actually aim for good photos.

Find Yourself a Hobby

Take this year and find yourself a hobby. Take a moment to think about something that interests you. It doesn’t matter if it’s weird or even difficult. There is no better time like the present to try a new hobby. I promise you will have less stress in your life. You will be more focused in life. You will feel better about yourself and the potential of ever hitting retirement. And more than anything, people won’t find you as such a bore. That’s always nice.