A huge, perhaps needless, anxiety of mine upon getting to know someone new is when they inevitably ask, "So, what do you do for fun?" It's a harmless, perfectly natural question to pose, but one that conjures up the kind of insecurities about "who you are" that should be reserved for teenagers as opposed to a working 20-something.
"Oh, you know, the usual. Reading, watching movies . . ." I usually say — hopefully with an air of off-handedness that conveys a but-enough-about-me kind of cool-girl mystery.
From there, the conversation usually moves on to some kind of discussion about what everyone is currently reading/watching, which typically then evolves into me talking about my job. And before long, boom, I am that person who is always talking about work.
No one wants to be that person. It's healthy to have other interests, things you cultivate outside of a 9-to-5 to help you unwind, recharge, or keep a different side of you engaged. It's part of your identity, and not to mention, what makes you an interesting human.
So I'm not quite sure where that leaves me, because in some bizarre stroke of luck (no actually, hard work, but that's another story), I'm blessed to be able to indulge in a lot of my personal interests for a career. My job requires me to read — books, other websites, and publications — to have a finger on the pulse. My job — sometimes unbelievably — requires me to watch the latest movies so we can best report on them for readers.
In an era where an increasing amount of millennials value job satisfaction over money, I know I'm not the only one who has this luxury. The personal and professional, for many, is increasingly blurred, bleeding into each other the same way the latest social media trend makes itself ubiquitous overnight — just look at the amount of side-hustle-turned-actual-job case studies. The regular, routine space filled by "traditional" hobbies — I like to garden! Make pottery! Collect stamps! — then give way to short-term passion projects, chosen to provide a particular outlet for us at a given point in time. Hand-knitting a scarf as a present to channel some creativity. Taking to hikes for an extra boost of fitness or simply to enjoy the Summer. Learning Italian because you'll soon be going to Europe.
Somewhere in the process of embarking on these mini projects, you may well find that you've discovered something that evolves into that hobby. Or, maybe you prefer to distance leisure and work altogether. Maybe you find that for the majority of the time, like me, your world is stimulated enough as is. Everyone finds worth in different places, after all.
Sure, in my case, watching The Bachelor may be required viewing (and granted, this does require a different mindset), but at the same time, there's plenty of entertainment out there to provide enough breathing room to switch on and off — enter: my never-ending Netflix watchlist. In which case, call me after I binge-watch the latest season of Black Mirror. There's no shame here anymore.