Recently, a story came out about some woman who decided that her goal for 2012 was to take up 52 new hobbies. Frankly, when I first heard this, my immediate thought was that her true goal was to get some publicity for herself, and to get fodder for a book. And indeed, she's getting air time on the morning news shows, and lots of interviews, and it turns out that she plans to write a book. Surprise, surprise.
Obviously, I'm not impressed. Actually, I'm less than impressed, I'm dubious. At least she's not suggesting that she mastered each of these hobbies.. but I'm still having trouble believing that she even gave them a fair chance.
I checked out Wikipedia, and found hobby defined as "a regular activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure, typically done during one's leisure time", and also "hobbies are practiced ...for interest and enjoyment, rather than financial reward". Right there, this woman has a couple problems. First, these activities she took part in, weren't done regularly. Next, she didn't undertake them for pleasure, she undertook them for the challenge -- and not even the challenge of the activity, she did it for the challenge of being able to do at least 52 things in 52 weeks. That leaves the issue of leisure time. Libby Segal - currently the associate producer of a reality show - plans to use her adventures, not only as fodder for a book, but also as the basis for a new reality show. So not only was this not really a leisure activity, but financial reward was clearly part of her motivation.
So now everything fits into place.
Don't get me wrong, I like hobbies... I have hobbies. My current hobbies include ballroom dancing, camping, canoeing, fishing (freshwater and saltwater), flytying, sewing and writing. Let's see, that's 8. Although, in all fairness, it's probably been over 6 months since I last tied a fly, we only go camping a few times a year and the canoeing and freshwater fishing both happen at the same time as camping, and other then mending, I only pull out the sewing machine a couple of times a year. I used to golf, but don't have time for that anymore, just as I no longer have time to play the cello, play chess, or bowl. As it happens, I'd like to take up fencing, and I'd like to breed angelfish, and I'd like to travel -- although I'm not sure if traveling counts as a hobby or not.
And I suppose I'm arguing semantics here. After all, if - rather than announcing she had taken up these hobbies - she had declared that she was going to explore hobbies to see which ones she might be interested in following up on, I don't think I'd have a problem.. frankly, I might not even have noticed. But especially for hobbyists who have devoted significant periods of time to master their hobbies... hobbies like tap dancing, and hang gliding, and chess, and rock climbing, and ventriloquism... I am offended on their behalf, that this woman spends an hour or two, and concludes that's sufficient to qualify as 'taking up a hobby'.
Hmmm.. just re-read this post... and I can see that I'm being a bit of a curmudgeon. Really --- what do I care about Ms. Segal's motivations for giving surfing, or pole dancing a try? And it's not as if I watch reality shows anyway.
You know what? Do what you want. If you enjoy it.. do it some more.
Right now, I'm going to make a cup of tea. It's something that I do regularly, for pleasure, in my leisure time.... It's a hobby.