Hobbies, how to make room in your home for them and why should you, part 1

Hobbies are by their very nature private as they are all about individual pleasure, even if they are a sport that you may be performing alongside others. There is no solidarity or sense of duty associated with the idea of “hobby”; there is no romantic bonding that you can experience; in fact, there is no bonding whatsoever that affects your basic enjoyment. All that, if it exists and if you happen to share your hobbies with a friend or partner, is separate and secondary to your unique relationship with your own hobby. If there is anything in there that does not belong, you take it out because the whole point of a hobby is its unique existence for you.

For those who have one, making it part of the home is essential. From race trophies to homemade artwork or collections, hobbies, like everything else personal, should occupy a part of our home. A shelf, a room, a whole floor or maybe, just a folder on the computer screen full of travel memories to share with friends or your travel partner.

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Suppose you ensure that your hobbies are visually present in your home. In that case, their positive effects can go beyond the “experience” and include the extended pleasure derived from their ongoing presence in your life.

All hobbies are experiential. There are no objects that we call ‘hobby,’ yet each has objects that are associated with it. Reading has its books, travel has memorabilia and photographs, sports have gear, and watching tv has, well, the tv. Very few have no objects. If taking walks alone is your thing, this is maybe one that is reduced to experience only. Still, photographs and “botanica” collections can belong to it if you choose to. Having these in your home creates a sense of self that no other objects in our home possess. They are unlike simple purchases or inheritance. Your connection with the things almost transcends spatial boundaries and seeps through your skin. A healing path to relaxation.

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For anything to qualify as a hobby must be meaningful and enjoyable to you. Because they are purposeful activities by nature, research shows that they are great de-stressors. Many are highly affordable since they can be as simple as taking walks, collecting shells, or looking at an outings album that does not have to be restricted to exotic far-away destinations. Consider including these associative objects in your home, and be careful where you place them.

Since antiquity, homes have had two main parts to them: the private and the public. How we use each has changed over time, but both parts have consistently existed. Hobby-memorabilia displays can occupy both, depending on the nature of the hobby. The more secretive or unlawful, the more hidden. The more prestigious and praise-worthy, the more visible.

Most hobbies we can think of tend to be made known by being displayed in the public areas of the home, where they can be revealed and showcased to guests. Readers like their bookshelves. Painters and craft-makers have their craft rooms. Racers, sports fans and players have their trophies, photographs and memorabilia displayed in offices, recreational rooms or hallways. Art collectors have the astute yet anguishing task of choosing the perfect spot for the right piece.

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Very few hobbies, when they are present in homes, are in private spaces. In fact, many of those are the shadier, psychotic ones that we hope do not exist. We all think of hobbies as positive, but unfortunately, the opposite also exists; hobbies that are horrific, immoral and violent. They are ‘disease’ rather than “hobby”. They are rarely discussed since the subject makes most people uneasy, and by not dwelling on such issues, one hopes they do not exist. Yet they do. For some serial killers, killing is the hobby, and the hidden room with trophies, their temple. It is the kind of room that no guests want to know about. It is the kind of home that we all hope does not exist. 

The negative hobbies have probably the most substantial presence in a home; a space like that is a sanctuary. It provides an intense re-lived experience over and over again, a pleasure that is sick and horrible yet, for that one person, it feels completely different.

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There is no sharing in that. And as horrible as it may sound, the need for isolation of negative hobbies makes them the ultimate hobby experience. It is as personal as it can get, as intense as it can get. But at that intensity and subject matter, there are no personal benefits. They can’t be. We would never be prepared to accept that, even if there are. But is there something there to learn from? I believe there is.

The lesson from the dark side is not a dark one itself. It reminds me of a great quote that expresses the intensity associated with the sheer pleasure of indulging in that which you love:

‘Get obsessed, totally obsessed. There is no use liking what you do. Get obsessed with it.’

Mario Testino

This article first appeared in My 2 cents on design
how to curate a better lifestyle through design
part of  SELF-CARE \\ a DOCHIA FOCUS monthly lifestyle series

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