A familiar childhood question. It was a question I liked to be asked because I had many hobbies.
I have always believed that interests other than academic contribute to making a person complete. It is good for both the physical and mental well being of an individual. However, as one grows up, somewhere along the way, one stops having interests. Men become overly involved with their careers; women either bend backwards juggling home and career, or become full-time careerwomen or housewives/mothers. In any case, they find that they have no time to think about themselves and what they like to do. Often, more than men, it is women who lose touch with the interests they were passionate about at one time. Dust gathers on the guitar; paints dry up; embroidery threads become a tangled mess.
Many busy years later, they wake up to emptiness. The children have left home, and they have nothing to do. They stand before a blank wall, having forgotten what they liked to do and what they used to dream about.
It is so important to hang on to one's dreams and passions. There are several things a person with free time can do. Whether it is social service or entertainment, or the learning of a new skill...there are many possibilities. One must only bother to look in the pages of a newspaper, or a local magazine. Theatre and dance workshops, photography, travel and cycling groups, nature and heritage walks, philosophical and spiritual lectures, music programmes...the list is endless. If nothing works, one can teach a group of neighbourhood children, volunteer at a school or join an NGO doing valuable social work. The important thing is to get involved.
It is also therapeutic to have a small group of like-minded friends with whom one have unguarded conversations. And for this, one must work at having friends and keeping them, despite pressures from family and career. This is an investment one should make for that day when one wakes up with a blank canvas before them.
Comic strip: http://nedroid.com/2010/03/hobbies/