In Praise of…Hobbies | Connecting with Culture
One person’s hobby is another person’s torment. Spending a Friday evening staring at cars certainly isn’t my idea of a good time. However, gatherings like this happen all over the country, often attracting hundreds of car owners and enthusiastic spectators.
Hobbies are flourishing. A recent study on behalf of American Express claims that 11 million adults in the UK plan to take up a new hobby. ‘Calming’ pursuits such as drawing, painting, and sculpture are the most popular – perhaps an understandable response to the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Whether archery or zumba, hobbies have certain things in common. Perhaps most significantly, a hobby is something we do simply for the pleasure that it brings. Hobbies give us the opportunity to gain knowledge or master a skill, and to build friendships and community. They bring welcome relief from the targets, deadlines, competitiveness, and pressures to produce and perform that can besiege our everyday lives. Look into the faces of the pianist, foodie, or car enthusiast and see simple pleasure and pride. Perhaps their faces reflect the face of their Creator: delighting in that which is good.
It is well worth taking the time to discover the hobbies of the people around us, whether at work or elsewhere. Be prepared to be amazed. Mike from accounts turns out to be a yoga instructor. Holly from sales blogs about being a parent. Sandeep is the go-to person for great recipes.
If we’re not careful, our impressions of the people around us become one-dimensional. This is a particular risk in the workplace, where people are largely defined by their role and position. Discovering their hobbies opens up their world to us. We see something of their God-given talents, and we understand what energises them. We are reminded that each one is uniquely and marvellously made by a loving Creator, who knows them inside and out.
As for ourselves, the pursuit of a hobby we love will give us a fleeting but undeniably real experience of God’s creative pleasure. And then, as we talk with friends and colleagues about their hobbies, let’s be open about what brings us a sense of fulfilment, peace, and hope, and about who we believe holds all of these things together.
Nick is an HR Consultant