Are hobbies in danger of becoming extinct? As our days have become filled with nonstop clicks, scrolls, and streaming services, have we forgotten the simple joys of constructive leisure time? We usually associate hobbies with hands-on activities; in other words, creating something, whether it’s a blanket or a symphony, a jigsaw puzzle or a cake. Sure, we watch television and YouTube videos, spend hours on Instagram and TikTok, but what are we getting from these experiences? It’s the difference between eating a doughnut and a salad; one will give you a temporary jolt while the other will fuel your body. Back in 2015, writer Dan Scotti posited that while most millennials have “interests [and] even passions…rarely will they ever manifest into hobbies.” Technology, as innovative and life-saving as it is, does a superb job of distracting us from cultivating our passions. It doesn’t help that life is competitive, and the competition seems to begin earlier and earlier. We talk so much about encouraging play among young children, but at the same time, we also fixate on academic achievement. Finding a balance between the two is difficult to achieve but an important goal to work towards. Dennis Prager wrote the following in a 2018 edition of Investor’s Business Daily, and it’s something to keep in mind: Parents need to cultivate hobbies or, if you will, passions in their child. The only passion most middle-class and upper-class parents cultivate in their children is getting good grades so that they can get into a prestigious college. But that is misguided. If the most important passion you cultivate in your child is getting good grades, what will your child’s most important passion be after leaving school — in other words, for the next 70 years of his or her life?
As we usher in a new year, a new decade, and a new month that specifically celebrates hobbies, I think it’s time we all take stock of the things in our lives that bring us joy and how we can find more ways to unwind, relax, and allow inspiration to be our guide. I’ve been taking a hard look at my own lack of hobbies. Watching recent shows like Making It and The Great British Baking Show reminded me of how thrilling it is to make something with your own two hands. Not only do hobbies help us to leave our mark on the world, but they also connect us to our families and to our heritage. It was only this past November that The New York Times reported on “endangered crafts,” explaining how indigenous crafts, such as Hispanic embroideries and Amish quilting, are on the brink of extinction. Something as simple as learning a family recipe or taking up silversmithing (another endangered art form) preserves traditions that are vital to the fabric of our culture.
The Library is the perfect place to start scouting your next hobby! We have our Innovation Station, which is our de facto local headquarters for all things “making,” and the perfect place to learn 3D printing, paper crafting, and more. We have books on all kinds of hobbies, like crochet, baking, cooking, woodworking, carpentry, stamp collecting, and more. A simple search of our catalog will lead you in the right direction, and our librarians are always here to lend a hand, especially if you need help interloaning a book we might not own. Our magazine collection is ABUNDANT, with topics ranging from bird watching to boating and everything in between. Even better, thanks to RBdigital Magazines, a database accessible with your Levittown Public Library card, you can browse our titles virtually, with access to digital-only publications. Speaking of databases, we have a great variety that will fuel your passions. For example, those trying to make their thumbs a little greener can check out Gardening, Landscape, & Horticulture.
Lastly, there’s one hobby we can all agree on: reading! A new year means twelve months of new releases to anticipate. Looking to spice up your 2020 reads? Try one of these reading challenges. You never know what new favorite you’ll discover when you decide to “read harder.”
Let’s make 2020 the year we love hobbies again! What are your favorite hobbies? Which hobbies would you love to pick up this year? Comment below! We would love to hear from you!
Currently Reading: The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker