In search for joy not a hobby

Written on September 19, 2023

In a couple of weeks I turn 40.

And because of this, I had some level of introspection this year.

Not the kind that leads me to buy a sports car.

But one that had me wonder, now that I’ve reached what may be my half-life (if I’m lucky to live till 80) what do I want to do or focus on for the next half of my life?

A little over a decade now, I’ve had the great privilege to be a husband and a father. An identity that’s bought me much joy and still does.

But in the process of giving and being for my family, I felt that I had suppressed some of who I am.

Some out of necessity but most likely out of choice.

A question that I had always struggled with when I met anyone new was, “What are your hobbies?”.

For some reason, this question with the imminent fact that with each new day I draw closer to reaching my half-life left me with a sense of crisis, an urgency to uncover a part of me which I felt I had lost or never discovered.

What do I do for fun?

Well I read…but occasionally.

I write (on my blog)…but again occasionally.

Perhaps like extra curricular activities my kids are involved in, I needed time and space of my own to do something…

I should pay for a class too and go do that every week…

8-months in and without much success in finding a hobby, let alone a consistent interest, I was about to just call it quits and just roll into my 40s.

But recently, a colleague of mine who had been on sabbatical was sharing with me his time away from work and what he did.

He shared that he did some traveling and things around the house.

But one of the highlights he had shared was clocking in 1000+ miles on his Onewheel.

Now this was intriguing to me! Not only because of the fact that he rode so many miles, but it sounded like a hobby.

When I had inquired about the Onewheel, he had shared that the day he got back he was telling other colleagues about riding the Onewheel and they exclaimed it being a cool hobby and that made him cringe.

I asked why and he said, he didn’t do it because it was a hobby – thus almost turning it into a chore – but he did it because it was fun.

Because it brought him joy.

He lives in a metropolitan with many paths to and from his home. He had shared that riding the Onewheel afforded him to travel and discover new places that he had never considered even though it was to familiar places. But because of the mode of transportation he would try going off-beaten paths and make new discoveries.

While listening to the joy he had in his excursions, I couldn’t help but smile and nod.

I realized that this was what I was looking for. I wasn’t looking for a hobby, but I was in search of moments of joy in my life.

My colleague’s story reminded me of life in San Francisco in my early 20s. I too wandered all over the city and loved every moment of it. I also discovered photography while living there and went on many hours-long excursions just capturing things that caught my eye.

Was photography my hobby? I’d say it was more of a way of capturing moments that brought me joy in my walks around the city of San Francisco.

So now that I know what I’m looking for are more moments of joy in my life, I feel at more ease turning 40.

It means in this next phase of my life I want to be more intentional with incorporating joy in my daily life.

Searching for daily joy feels more liberating than searching for a hobby.

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