Back in 9th grade, a close friend gifted me a guitar on my birthday because she knew I wanted to learn playing the instrument. Today, over a decade later, that guitar is catching dust in the storeroom of my house, wrapped up and forgotten in an old, battered sheet. A few of the strings are broken too.

Similarly, when my old canvas finally collapsed, I didn’t get another one. I stopped painting and the colours dried out gradually. My passion for art faded away with time. 

Now, all my previous work lies stacked up on a shelf in the same room, with my other childhood joys.

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Many of my friends put a hold on their hobbies as well, as we grew up, ruffled by new distractions and opportunities. We lost our imagination somewhere along the way. Gone are the days when I’d find myself locked up in my study, keenly focused on finishing a DIY project.

Those hobbies were so much more than time pass; they were a form of self-expression. The talents we had as children had immense potential to flourish into polished skills. Who knows, we could’ve made careers out of them. But we threw it all away. We killed the inspirations of innocent youth and became, well, adults.

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Back in the day, listening to a great song used to motivate us to pick up a notepad and write a little rhyme of our own. Looking at beautiful flowers evoked an interest in gardening. A game of cricket in the park has become a luxury, thanks to our busy schedules. The amateur jam sessions in the garage are long over. What kind of noise are we making now?

We were so easily enthused by these wonderful things. We wanted to do it all. And if we really think about it, that was the peak of possibilities. Then we started worrying about adulthood. Growing responsibilities occupied our entire mind space. We forgot how to do something fun and productive simply for leisure.

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But now, we just don’t have the time or motivation to go back to those beloved activities. Partying is so much easier than picking up from where we left. Rediscovering our good, old habits seems like a daunting task. Damn, I do miss those driven days of indulgence and creation, hopes and wonder.

But then I heard a story that made me feel warm inside. So, this friend’s sister used to be crazy about shiny stuff when we were kids. She’d take wires and foil, and make rings and necklaces out of them. Her room was full of odd pieces of all kinds. Her collection of tidbits was her most precious possession.

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Then, she moved to London. She was in the corporate circle for 4 years before she realised something was missing. She made a bold decision, quit her job and went to studied jewellery design. Today, she’s doing really well. But more importantly, she’s finally happy.

So, you never know. Sometimes, we leave our true calling or fascinations behind to take on new roles that probably don’t fit us too well. Even if they do, we stop doing the stuff that once made us gleeful, anyway. We get lazy, and we stop caring.

I feel such a tinge of guilt and regret every time I stumble across a journal from a 16-year-old me. I had a bunch of those. Every page is brimming with ideas and colour, the dreams of a growing girl. Heck, even maintaining that journal was a hobby!

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I’m now bringing it all back. Whenever I'm free, I steal time to read a book or doodle around. One might say there isn't enough time. There never is, really. You've got to make it for the things you care about. In the middle of daily drudgeries and stress, I definitely don’t mind being carefree and excited again. Life goes on, but it should be kept as lively as possible.

Hobbies are for adults as much as they are for kids. My grandfather used to collect stamps from all over the world. Today, I keep that fat album in my safe because I know how much he loved it, and how much work he put in to put it together. And how can I forget our grandmothers’ mad knitting skills!

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So yeah, on a parting note, I’d like to say this: Dance till you drop, build drones, make soap, sing your heart out, solve a puzzle, read a book; do whatever you liked to do, just make sure you’re doing it. Nurture your mind as well as you can. It feels so good. There’s no better way to take a break from your monotonous routine.

The point of a hobby is to enjoy one’s self. Why the hell should we give up on that?