I admit that I can get hung up on semantics and it definitely happens when I hear the word hobby applied to my running or writing. I'm sure for some people that is exactly what running or writing is for them, but for me it wipes out the importance it plays in my life. So, of course, I did a little digging into what constitutes a hobby.
Hobbies are defined as: an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure. Can't get fluffier than that. Some synonyms are: an enthusiasm, amusement, relaxation, entertainment. I could feel the strength of my case building, so I went further and looked at examples of hobbies: collecting themed items and objects, crossword puzzles, decorating a planner (okay, I actually do that), wreath making, paint by number, magic. One more comprehensive site did include physical actitivities like hiking and, yes, running. But over and over again the theme was pleasure and leisure and relaxation--type one fun, surface fun, obvious fun. Organizing is a hobby for me--I like to put things in order for pleasure in my leisure time--it's fun. Running and writing? If you call them my hobby you aren't paying attention to me.
And I think that last sentence is probably what I'm bristling about--it's about being seen. It's about being taken seriously. I've spent a good chunk of my life out of view and I definitely played a role in that--I didn't believe I could take up space. But I was also afraid that if you could see me you wouldn't approve of me. But I'm not there anymore. You don't change that overnight, but you can change it. And running and writing have done that for me. I have lost myself in running and writing, and I think that is the hallmark of a hobby. But I found myself there too. And that's the difference. That's the game changer. That's what separates hobby from something much more sacred.
Funny enough, I learned something quite unexpected from writing this, and it's that I have no business judging what other people do. To be fair, I already knew that, and I don't think I do, in general. But it was a good reminder that people need to be seen and taken seriously. If someone loses themself and finds themself in decorating planners, then thank god they found a pathway to their soul. It's not for me to say how anyone gets there, I'm just glad they do.
We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there too. Running and writing? Not my hobbies, thank you.