I’m Troubled Because I Never Find Any Hobbies to Be Enjoyable

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female teacher in my 30s. I’ve been busy with work, childcare and housework. My job is challenging and enjoyable. I’m blessed with two children — ages 4 and 5 — and happy raising them. However, I’m troubled because I don’t find any hobbies to be enjoyable.

I believe that having some hobbies is good for both child-rearing and work, and I’m trying to start with things that interest me. However, whenever I try my hand at something, I find none of them to be enjoyable, and I feel stressed because I feel as if I’m being overwhelmed.

I was under pressure to meet a deadline of correspondence courses, and I hastily returned books and DVDs that I checked out from the library on the due date without ever watching or reading them.

I was satisfied with the fact that I started something, but I never enjoy the hobby itself. I’m worried that I will become a boring person if I don’t do anything. How can I enjoy hobbies?

J, Hiroshima Prefecture

Dear Ms. J:

I admire your energy to pursue your hobbies while you are doing fine as a teacher and raising your children. However, it seems to me that you are spinning your wheels.

There are people who enjoy a wide variety of hobbies, and I feel timid when seeing them. People work because of the needs of society or others. On the other hand, hobbies are done for their own sake. Going without a hobby could imply that you don’t value yourself, and such an idea perhaps makes you feel a sense of emptiness.

However, finding something you love to do is not easy, and I think you know this well enough through your own continuous process of trying to find an enjoyable hobby.

The thing you need for now is to have time for doing nothing. Go to a quiet place with no agenda, no tasks, nothing at all. This can be for only a short period of time. It’s important to accumulate these seemingly wasted moments. Rest your body and mind that are exhausted from work and child-rearing, and take care of yourself.

In time, your eyes, ears and heart will sense and grasp something. You may find yourself saying, “My hobbies are my daily life and work.”

Masami Ohinata, university president