In the midst of chaos, let me help you remember simpler times. Do you remember the day right after summer break when you would show off your sticker collection? Or those mandated music classes in school when you would nag your friend to sing the tunes of your favourite song in front of the whole class? Those were the days. Our maturing is not the only reason for the loss, no. The hustle culture that we are a part of is also to blame.
‘Hustle culture’ which refers to society encouraging people to work more than the designated normal hours, has become a sense of pride for the present generation. With more and more people finessing their skills and entering the job market, having just one profession isn’t the norm anymore. Many take on side hustles to earn more money, gain more skills or just because they feel like they have the time to do so.
The Great Depression of 2008 is to be blamed for the meteoric rise in this mentality as people started to believe that they had to spend long hours in order to achieve financial independence. The sudden push towards digitisation because of COVID-19 propelled the usage of the term. We all had started to relish new hobbies but soon, started making social media pages to monetise them. Even though there is inherently nothing wrong in doing so, it does take away from the basic meaning behind it.
A study was conducted by Deloitte Survey of 801 respondents from India where 500 were from Generation Z and 301 were millennials. That report stated that 62% of Gen-Zs and 51% of millenials living in India had a side job. Apart from the apparent implications on physical health, the obvious work-life imbalance ends up affecting sanity as well.
The capitalist mentality of hustling and wanting to retire early is making people burn out very frequently and it leads to various degrees of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. In order to get out of that, one is suggested to find a hobby out of work.
But these side hustles are mainly done by capitalising on passion, forming a vicious cycle. Nowadays, most people juggling more than one job face burn-out. In order to save themselves from that, they figure out a hobby but then force themselves to be better at it so that it can be capitalised upon. Otherwise, the hobby without capitalisation and perfection just becomes invalid in their thought process.
Hobbies can be very simple. It can range from collecting stamps to just singing your heart out loud. They provide us with a fun activity to do that does not stress us out because we don’t have to think about our productivity here. It increases our knowledge as well as our patience level. We get to meet people with a common passion, which opens us up to new experiences. Hobbies help us become more confident and act as a catalyst in our journey toward self-love. It does not require a rocket scientist to join the dots and realise how said activities can help us battle mental health issues.
When we capitalise on hobbies, we start to treat them the same as every other day job. It would bring us the same amount of joy and stress; if not less, compared to our primary work. We would start expecting profits out of the things that were just meant to help us feel at peace.
Apart from the creative process, we would have to think about the marketing and the feedback aspect of the pastime. Most importantly, this also puts added pressure on us to be good at that particular craft. Gone are those days when you could enjoy something just for the sake of it.
It is okay if you’re not Lata Mangeshkar. Singing can still be your hobby. It is okay if you are not Picasso. Art can still be your hobby. Do not let capitalism get to you and tell you what you need to do with your hobby. It is okay if you’re bad at your pastime. What is important is how that activity makes you feel at peace. So, do not be afraid to be bad at your hobby. And while you are at it, be unapologetic about it.
Ayanabha Banerjee is an aspiring journalist and a writer, currently pursuing master’s in Development Communication from AJK-MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia.