The pressure of finding a hobby during quarantine

Now that the whole world is quarantining, (or at least the people that can afford a home), there’s a lot of pressure of finding a good hobby and being productive.

Hobbies are those activities that your parents forced you to do after school when you were a kid, like piano lessons (or viola, in my case), ballet classes, art classes, horse riding… Basically, anything that would prevent you from spending your evenings and weekends in front of the tv.

And because these activities were chosen for you, and they were probably more for your parents’ enjoyment than your own, it guaranteed you wouldn’t practice any of those hobbies as an adult. I haven’t touched my viola since I was 12.

A hobby is supposed to be “an activity that you do in your spare time for fun”. So when you’re an adult and have the freedom to choose to stay at home every weekend, at some point you start getting bored with your own routine, and you end up choosing a hobby, voluntarily.

Or you don’t because you actually enjoy doing nothing, but then you’ll find yourself trapped indoors indefinitely because of the sudden lockdown.

I’m one of those people that has tried different activities to keep my adulthood somewhat entertaining. Pre-lockdown, I started learning German and Portuguese, I got back into drawing and playing the guitar. But these things I thought I liked, I’m beginning to resent, because now I’m feeling forced to do them. Hobbies are no longer a choice, during quarantine, they’re all you have.

The social media obsession with being productive

Having to stay at home all day doesn’t mean you suddenly need to start being extra productive. You don’t need to learn a new skill or work out every day. But it’s hard not to feel bad when we’re being bombarded with ads for online courses, masterclasses and free training sessions, reminding us that you could be doing a free SEO course at the moment, instead of watching Tiger King. Why aren’t you doing that? Why aren’t you using the two free months of Skillshare?

Who decided that we had to leave quarantine being better than we were when it started?

My Instagram is full of people baking, uploading their daily yoga routine, talking about the novel they’re writing… Everyone is showing off how productive they are and all of the things they’re finally doing now that they have time. But if there’s an opportunity to be lazy and enjoy the freedom of doing nothing, it’s during a forced global lockdown.

I probably won’t finish my novel before this pandemic is over. And I’m sure all the people that post their daily writing progress on Twitter won’t either. I used to get FOMO (fear of missing out) when I’d watch old classmates and coworkers having the time of their life on social media, showing all the things they were doing and the exciting events they were going to. Now that I’m not the only one staying at home watching Netflix on a Friday night, I won’t let the feeling of not being as productive as my followers bother me.

P.S. I wrote this post on Medium in April 2020, back when people were still not allowed to go outside. Since I wrote this, I’ve taken up embroidery.

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