Why you don’t have to monetise your joy

Hello Everyone! What’s new? How’s it going?

Now I should honestly hang my head in shame because I’ve been gone for two months. But I’m back and was recently inspired by an article on the trap of turning your hobby into a hustle. And it made me think why so many of us (myself included) are making our hobbies a source of income and not just something we enjoy.

So while I had been taking a hiatus from writing (I know another one!) I stumbled upon this excellent article in Man Repeller which is incidentally my favourite lifestyle and fashion website!

And Molly Conway, the writer, explored the modern trap of making our hobbies a sources of income and not something we just enjoy doing. She recalled an incident where her friend, who makes clothes, felt guilty for not making money from it. That is creating an Etsy or Depop account to sell her designs. And Molly said something in response to her friend that resonated with me:

“You don’t have to monetize your joy.”

And it felt so good to see that especially in a time where everyone is obsessed with ‘securing the bag’. For those that don’t know, it’s an expression used to describe the act of taking/obtaining advantage of the situation and keep something of value.

hbo money GIF by Vinyl

Of course there is nothing wrong with this, I mean if I’m good at something and I can make money out of it as well, why not! This current economy isn’t the best, especially not for us young people.

Commentators in the Guardian described the economic situation perfectly for us millennials, “we have people with degrees doing Mickey Mouse jobs and young people who will have no occupational pension and no house to sell to see them through old age.”  Not to mention the crippling debts from university degrees that don’t seem to be that helpful anyway. And most of these issues were forming long before we were born or able take part in important decisions.

It’s funny how those who have had a hand in ruining our futures claim otherwise, suggesting that young people nowadays are spending their money frivolously.

Actually it’s far from. I really love this write up by Arielle O’shea on the hype about millennials spending and how most of it is a myth (cc the idea we could all buy our own homes if we stop buying avocado toast). The reality is we actually spend less than other generations in several categories that could be considered frivolous, including clothing, entertainment and alcohol.

But back to the matter, wouldn’t this all be solved if I made money from something I’m naturally good at? Well, in a nutshell yes. As the old saying goes “if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”.  And I guess to some extent that’s true. The idea of being immersed in something that gives you constant joy and fills your pockets, is clearly a win-win.

But Molly made a great distinction that I don’t think people consider enough, the fact that the thing you love to do which gives you so much joy, is also tapped into all your other emotions too. It can bring on anxiety, stress and the inability to separate the work from your life. That deep attachment you have to it is the very thing that makes it become a burden.

obsessed aidy bryant GIF by Saturday Night Live

My mother who loves to sew and makes some bomb-ass creations would get so many questions on them. Eventually she became a part-time tailor sewing traditional clothing for special occasions. But over time she began to hate it; the long hours, the mess and constant re-fittings – was no longer appealing. One day she got so annoyed with everything that she gave up sewing to focus on something else. It was no longer a source of creative expression, but essentially a new job – that stole all the joy from it.

And that can sometimes become super toxic. We deal with enough ish daily, finding something that makes you happy is a rarity and should be cherished, if not absolutely protected. And hobbies often do just that. In fact, according to the Guardian, new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology says that valuing your time more than the pursuit of money leads to feelings of greater wellbeing. And by valuing your time, they mean spending it wisely on hobbies, exercising or being with your family.

Not only that, they help you become more rounded as a person and may just give your brain an extra lift to make you smarter, happier, and more productive. Hobbies, like it did for my mum, is often a way to express yourself fully – whether that be through writing, painting, yoga-ing or something as fun as cocktail making.

beverley mitchell 90s GIF by Pop TV

It doesn’t have to be a side hustle or have any real purpose. The other day I signed up to a random pottery class I’d always wanted to do. I had people asking me why, was it part of something bigger?

Nope, but I do know it’d be a laugh, teach me a new skill and become a great source of joy simply because I want it to be and nothing more.



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