Oxford Languages defines hobbies as “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” This can include a wide range of activities (physical hobbies) from art to sports to reading to something bizarrely specific like competitive duck herding. Yeah, you read that right. In essence, hobbies are supposed to be fun, so what’s wrong with having all digital hobbies?
It seems harmless, but in a time where we’re all sitting behind a computer or have our eyes glued to a phone nearly all day, adding another digital activity can be too much. I know you’ve heard it all before: as a child, there was always an older adult wagging their finger at you to stop staring at your screen and go outside.
The thing is, they aren’t entirely wrong.
There’s nothing wrong with listening to music, playing video games, or scrolling through Instagram for the umpteenth time that day. But, to balance that out, it’s essential to have physical hobbies.
There are hobbies for everyone, no matter what. If you like to be outside or rather stay indoors, there’s something out there for you. I admit I’ve been sacrificing my physical hobbies to watch Youtube or scroll through social media just a little bit longer. However, I love to write and draw, which I can do either online or in real life on paper.
There’s something unique and satisfying about creating things into existence. You filled that plain piece of paper with your own unique art or words. That’s something amazing to be proud of. You created it. If not a creative activity, maybe you’re involved in a sport- how rewarding! You get to exercise and push yourself towards a goal of improving yourself and winning the number one spot.
That’s something scrolling through social media can’t replicate.
Am I here to tell you how bad digital technology is? Of course not, but maybe you too can realize your experiences with real, tactile hobbies you can really get involved in. The feeling of drawing something you enjoy or finishing reading that one book that’s been sitting covered in dust on your bookshelf. Little things like that make life more vivid and force you to live in the moment as yourself. Online, you can be as anonymous and as passive as you wish. But in real life, you have to be active.
There are other benefits as well if you aren’t such a believer in living-in-the-moment. It helps your mental health and your physical health. Imagine living a life without hobbies, and you’ll quickly realize their importance. It enables you to relax, destress and can give you much-needed social interaction with friends and family. Whatever hobbies you choose, it’s also important to make sure it’s something you love to do.
In addition to improving your health, it’s an excellent way to gain knowledge of something you were never taught or bothered to learn. How neat is it to say you know how to paint a canvas or know the exact dimensions of a soccer field! It’s a great conversation starter, as well as a lovely tidbit about you as a person. It adds to your personality. Have you ever met someone and thought, yeah, that’s definitely an artist? Just by their clothes or mannerisms alone, your hobbies showcase you as a person.
If you struggle to find a new hobby, consider looking up lists online or even looking up the most unique hobbies. You can easily find a cheap hobby at home or look into classes outside of your comfort zone. There are many different options, so don’t think you can say your hobby is listening to music anymore, okay? Everyone listens to music!
The point is, digital hobbies aren’t a bad thing but often lead you to be passive and uninvolved in what you’re doing.
It’s fun to scroll endlessly and see what people are up to, but going on social media isn’t adding much to your own person if you think about it. So instead, think about yourself and what you get out of things. What would you rather say you’re doing: checking Twitter for the ninth time that morning or writing an epic story? Or painting your first landscape? Or playing in your first advanced game?
There’s more to life than passively seeing what others are up to.