The struggle adults have with “hobbies”

My friends and I love TV. I know it’s not exactly a rarity or something people boast about, but we do. We are boasters. We quote shows to each other in the middle of the day. We send screencaps to one another on Pinterest and laugh about a show we just watched – sometimes minutes after watching it. When something happens in our lives that remind us of a certain moment in a series, we text one another to share the moment.

Sure, I have other hobbies like … well. No, I don’t have other hobbies.

I go shopping, I read books and then text my friend who has read it (because I only really like reading books recommended by a friend so that I don’t have to read a book alone – nothing worse than enjoying something and not being able to share it with anyone). Sometimes I go for walks … as a precursor to binge-watching television.

But then, what 20- and 30-somethings even have hobbies? What are hobbies to adults? British actress, writer and comedienne Miranda Hart went into detail about this issue in her book Is It Just Me? and I couldn’t have been more pleased that someone had finally spoken out about the ruse of “hobbies.” You have hobbies as a kid – but they’re not called hobbies. They’re just activities. They’re what you do. You climb trees (well, I didn’t – I was scared of getting stuck in one and being too paralyzed by fear to climb back down). You play make-believe. You colour as if there’s nothing else in the world you’d rather be doing.

(And as an aunt who has recently rediscovered the joy of colouring, let me tell you it’s worth picking up again.)

But as an adult you can’t say your hobbies are colouring and watching TV. You’d look like a moron. So you have to make stuff up or turn regular activities in your day into hobbies. I cook dinner for myself regularly and also bake things like scones and cookies when I have a craving. As a result, I’ve called myself a foodie because I know how to use food and utensils in a kitchen situation. It’s something you can say at a dinner party, should you have the misfortune of being invited to a small-talk-filled dinner party. A lot of people I know say their hobby is hiking. This is a great hobby. It involves very little commitment. I’ve said I’m a fan of hiking and the last time I went on a hike was a couple years ago with my family and we walked at the pace of my two-year-old niece for 45 minutes. That was our hike. The only problem with this hobby is that if you do share your fondness for walking on mulch paths with someone who is actually a hiker with gear and crampons and an encyclopedic memory of all hiking locales in a two hour radius, you are screwed.

“Have you ever tried Snowpeak Grind?” they’ll say.

“No, I haven’t gotten to that one yet,” you’ll reply, hoping that will let things lie.

“What about Bear River Mountain?”

“No, no, not that one either. Is it good?”

“Well, it’s not as good as Treachery Point. The incline on that one isn’t as much as say, Death Row Rise, but it’s got a far better viewpoint than Bear River. What about Purposeless Peak?”

“Oh, is that the one with the viewpoint where you can, you know, see … things …”

“No, that one doesn’t have a viewpoint.”

“Oh.”

“It’s a lot like Cobweb Climb, though. A lot of brush to work through. More moss, though, but not as much as Moss Hill.”

This kind of conversation will last until you have a reason to duck into the kitchen or the bathroom, whichever is less occupied. At which point you’ll consider a fake emergency call and then decide against it because no human actually gets emergency calls at dinner parties.

The closest I ever got to a fake emergency call was when I was trying to get out of a particularly awkward bra fitting, but I just couldn’t figure out how to act it out convincingly.

Which means I can’t even say “taking fake telephone calls” is my hobby.

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