Alternate Title: Not everyone will experience your hobbies like you do and that’s okay
[This is for all those people that talk down on gamers who enjoy the easy/story mode. You made me grow up thinking that hard mode was the only respectable option. Spoiler: it’s not. And I wish I figured this out earlier, if only so that I dodged fewer gaming opportunities.]
So that I don’t paint myself as a victim and so that potentially everyone who reads this feels “called out,” I’m also doing this for all the times someone has claimed:
- TV isn’t any good (especially cartoons or reality shows)
- Certain music genres just suck (like pop, country, and rap)
- That “X” medium isn’t any good anymore
- That only “productive” hobbies are acceptable
It’s simple. We all like different things for different reasons. And how we experience those things is subjective.
I enjoy it because…
Is it because it lets you forget about the outside world? Or because it helps you to understand it better?
Do you like seeing yourself get better at something? And maybe develop a new skill? Or is being good at something from the start what you really like?
Do you like that you can release some pent-up energy or aggression? Or is there some immediate tranquility to be found by doing it?
It’s so easy to pretend that the world is black-and-white. And that certain activities only can be viewed in a certain light. But, that’s simply not true. Humans are more complicated than that. And how we perceive our hobbies and benefit from them is quite tied to who we are as individuals.
What’s the right way to experience a hobby?
If I had to come up with an answer to that title, without substantial reliable data… then I would estimate that 99.5% of hobbies don’t have a definite, objective way of experiencing them beyond bringing amusement and/or satisfaction to the person.
If you watch TV to “zone out” then that’s okay. Or if you do it because you like to experience new stories or glimpse into other perspectives, that’s also okay. If you like to analyze and critique the show, that too is okay. What’s not okay is to claim your experience is “right” or “better” than everyone else’s. Or to bully others for how they experience it.
If you’re a gamer that only plays mobile games, you count. If you only play certain genres or classes of characters, you still matter. I don’t care if you hate the popular franchises or only buy games from certain companies, if you play games then you’re a gamer. What mode you play on or what type of gameplay you enjoy can’t erase that. Just do the gaming community a favor and don’t bash people for how they like to game (particularly if they’re not being offensive).
When it comes to music (like many other things with a diverse crowd and long history), I think people can get especially nostalgic and cynical. But, “they don’t make music like this anymore,” or “today’s music is just trash” are such peculiar things to read and hear. [I’ll like to think people aren’t being 100% serious, but we live in a strange world.] Anyhow, there are tons of musicians on the Earth and it’s unlikely that the music you’re desiring is something that’s not being made elsewhere or hasn’t been done so recently. It might not be exactly what you want, but then again… you didn’t make it.
And of course, when it comes to hobbies, how “useful” or “practical” they are doesn’t dismiss them from being hobbies. I personally find it bizarre when someone skips, “I think that’s a waste of time, but that’s my opinion because I’m just not into that,” and goes straight for the “you’re wasting hours of your life doing that.” People are free to spend their time as they wish, especially if it’s not harming other people.
Looking past our version of things
[Reoccurring Thought: As humans, we can have unusually high expectations without realizing it.]
The thing about living only our own version of reality is that we need other people’s inputs to verify what other interpretations are like. It’s often our best chance to sway from “subjective” to “objective.” Unfortunately, this can form an echo chamber without us even realizing it.
I’m willing to give humanity the benefit of the doubt and say, “many times, people don’t realize how alienating and/or judgmental they’re being.” Life requires so much practice and active awareness to be consistently mindful. Sure, it seems simple on paper to say, “just don’t say anything negative.” But, how easy is that really?
For one, I’m sure we’ll all ignorant about a few things, at least. And so we’re unable to completely keep rude or inappropriate remarks off the table. So, I don’t find it that hard to imagine that whenever someone is hassling someone else for their hobbies or how they do it, that there’s a chance the aggressor genuinely thinks their way is the only objective option. I mean, for all I know, their PoV is the only one they’ve seen held by people they respect. And so they can honestly be stuck in a feedback loop that paints them as correct. [I’m not even including moments when the aggressor believes their “joke” is only teasing and should be acceptable.]
And yes, that doesn’t make the aggressor right or their actions acceptable. But, I think it does help one to remember that even the perpetrators I’m calling out in this post, aren’t that simple either. We’re all a part of the issue at the end of the day. Some of us just play larger and more obviously negative roles. Meanwhile, some others never get called out for their ignorance because society or even those around us leave it be or don’t see it as an issue too.