Updated: Nov 11, 2022
I've been at home a whole week because of COVID-19.
That means—as you know—not being able to see anybody and/or leave the house at any time—which are, in fact, the basic rules for any type of quarantine.
Some people asked me whether I felt alone and bored. The truth is that I didn't.
The virus really knocked me down. I had all the symptoms: high fever, sore throat, cold, muscle pain, cough. The pain in my throat was the worst. Now, even though I no longer have the symptoms, I still feel somewhat weak and that it might take time to get back to my standards of form.
So the virus definitely kept me busy, and fighting it drained me, so there was really nothing else I could do at first.
As I got better, I was glad I could focus on other activities—watching videos alone was not satisfactory and indeed seemed to worsen my condition sometimes. I find it is bad for my health when I'm sick.
Other activities—my preferred hobbies—tend to calm me much more and give me a sense of fulfilment and inner peace.
Reading, writing and playing the guitar are definitely at the top of the list. I did try to pick up my instrument a few times and play it but that too was quite challenging to do at first. Writing also required being in front of a monitor—unless I went old-style—and needed a good chunk of my energies in order to work. So it was just reading at the beginning.
Eventually, when I got better, I also played and wrote—as I am doing now.
Every time I find myself having the chance to read all the books I have in my library, practice my favourite songs unrushed, think about topics and perhaps stories that I might enjoy writing, I am so incredibly happy. Being able to focus on these few simple things that I love makes me feel so relaxed and it transports me into a much better dimension. Afterwards, after having played, or read, or written for hours, I feel I am a different person. I invariably feel I have turned into the person I am really supposed to be: satisfied, fulfilled, at ease with himself.
And then sadness immediately rushes back.
The sadness of knowing this is a volatile moment and that all the time and space I'd like to have for my hobbies is a mere illusion left to the musings of my imagination and to those few hours that weekends or holidays offer you throughout the year.
This is precisely the point, then. Hobbies are defined as such because they do not take up most of our time—they are secondary, as it were.
I have tried, in my life, to turn some of my hobbies into my main profession and I believe I am still working on that.
Be it gardening, playing a musical instrument or riding a bicycle, a hobby is a passion one has: an activity one feels drawn towards—maybe one practiced it as a child and has kept an undying love for it, or else one might have discovered it along the way, falling equally in love, though at a different time of one's life.
It doesn't really matter, as long as our hobbies make us feel good and alive.
When one is able to turn one's hobby, one's passion into a career—I have always wondered—one has achieved true happiness. That might not necessarily be true, as anything, once it has become your main mean of sustenance, will pose certain challenges that are to be faced and overcome.
Of course, doing something you like for a living is always great.
Some professions are really tough though, both in terms of the abilities required and the level of competition involved. In the arts—my hobbies tend to belong to that realm—for example, talent alone is not enough. Many artists, who strive to stay true to their craft, do not lead a wealthy lifestyle at all. Making a living out of the arts can be truly challenging and yet focusing solely on one's profession is the only way to get excellent at it.
I guess, for now, I will be content with my affection for the hobbies that I love and I will thank them for having been my companions all this while. If, one day, one of them turns out to open up a way for me, I will fight for that chance with all my heart. Until then, I can safely say my hobbies have kept me sane and delighted.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Madiha Foundation.