Why Don’t Millennials Have Hobbies?

Are you a millennial (i.e. 25-40)? Do you have any hobbies?

Before you answer the question, here is an interesting piece I read recently on The Walrus

ON A MUNDANE SATURDAY NIGHT during lockdown last year, I was tapping through Instagram Stories to pass the time. Like so many millennials, I turn to the app mostly to send my friends memes and screenshots that sum up universal truths about our late-twenties lifestyle. A tweet—made into an Instagram post—by Canadian author Jonny Sun caught my attention. It read:

I’m an ADULT
which means I don’t have any HOBBIES
If I have any FREE TIME AT ALL
I will go LIE DOWN

I came to a stark realization: I don’t have any hobbies—and nobody else I knew seemed to either. It had been nearly a decade since I played the piano. Aside from the dodgeball league I joined impromptu at the height of unemployment one year, I never fostered the time and commitment toward a joyful activity when I wasn’t on the clock.

(here’s an interesting bit later on in the piece)

WHEN I ASKED Robert Stebbins, a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Calgary who specializes in leisure studies, about whether any of my pandemic pursuits added up to a hobby, he told me that he’s been contemplating questions on the subject for the better part of fifty years. “Leisure, in a common-sense version of it, is fundamentally not work,” he told me over the phone. “It doesn’t define anything. It defines what it’s not.”

So, then, what is it?

“Few people in sociology seem to find this a remarkable or regrettable deficiency in the field,” Stebbins tells me. “Serious leisure,” a term he coined, is the systematic pursuit of an activity—like rock climbing or singing—that usually requires a “special skill.” In other words, we need to put serious effort into a hobby in order to reap its rewards over time. Just like we dedicate our time and energy toward a career, committing ourselves to a “serious leisure” activity is one of the keys to achieving a fulfilling life, he says.

Read more at The Walrus. One of only a couple of magazines to which I subscribe. I highly recommend it.