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The two kinds of hobbies

I was thinking recently about the days when I used to go rabbit hunting with a good group of family and friends. From the time I started middle school to well after I graduated college, I’d go trudging through the woods at least once or twice a season, usually more. I haven’t been in a few years now, but I still miss it sometimes.

To be honest, the actual “hunting” itself was my least favorite part of it. I never even carried my gun with me half the time. It was more fun just getting to walk through the woods, enjoying the nature around me, seeing the orange clothes of my fellow hunters through the brown tree trunks and green pine needles, and getting to stumble across creeks and rotted logs like hidden treasures.

And a day of rabbit hunting also meant I got to spend time with several cousins I didn’t always get to see very often. Even though we were supposed to spread out in the woods while hunting, we’d usually gravitate towards each other anyway to catch up on life and joke around too throughout the day.

But perhaps the part we all found most entertaining was that my uncle liked to carry around a camera and film the dogs, the chase, and us as well. Afterwards, he’d edit the footage and stick it up on Youtube. I recently rewatched several of those videos, and it put a big smile on my face to hear everyone’s laughter again and see how young we all used to look. We’ve grown up so much since then.

It also got me thinking about hobbies. We all have things we like to do for fun. For some people, hunting is something they dedicate a lot of time to. For others, like my uncle, capturing moments on film is a fun way to pass the time. And it’s not unusual for people to have multiple hobbies they focus on.

Hobbies can be such an integral part of who we are. This is a bit morbid, but I often see hobbies listed in obituaries that are sent to this paper. For those people, their favorite activities were so enjoyable and such an important part of their lives that they warranted a mention alongside other significant details about themselves.

I personally have a handful of things I consider my hobbies. Writing is probably the one I devote the most time to (yes, even though I write all the time at work too). But I also like to read, draw, play the piano, and collect a ton of useless information about Japanese musicians in my head. I’ve tried other hobbies too, like crocheting, but none of them have quite caught on yet like the others.

I don’t think there’s any specific definition about what a hobby can be. I personally like artsy ones where I’m creating something. Another person’s hobby may simply be devoting time to collecting something they really like. Sports can be another kind of hobby, whether that’s actually participating in one or just devoting some time to being a dedicated fan of a team. Some hobbies can be educational, such as focusing on researching topics like history or science. Even something as simple as birdwatching counts as a hobby.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that you can divide hobbies into two categories: active and passive.

Active hobbies can be artsy things or sports or anything that gets your brain or body moving. Conversely, passive ones can be accomplished with less effort, like reading a book, binge-watching your favorite TV show, or birdwatching.

I’ve also discovered over the years that it’s a good idea to strike a balance between the two kinds of hobbies. They’re supposed to be fun activities, right? But too much of one or the other isn’t fun or relaxing at all. Focusing too much on an active hobby can lead to exhaustion and burnout if you don’t give yourself time to rest in between. Focusing too much on a passive hobby can lead to boredom after a while because of a lack of stimulation.

At least, this has been my personal experience in life so far. I’m most happy when I find a balance between the two. Hobbies are supposed to be a source of stress-relief, not a stress itself.

So whatever your hobbies are, I hope they bring lots of joy and good memories to you, and maybe also the people around you too.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7206.