I have toyed with the idea of changing career in midlife. I am nowhere near it mentally and have no particular area of work in mind. But I am happy that I have started working on a hobby that I have been thinking of for many years. It is the art of making bonsai. Circa 2003, I went for a plant exhibition in Imphal where I was mesmerized by miniature trees planted in pots. The trees were familiar except that they looked old and small. I didn’t know they are called bonsai. As life continued in a hostel, then in the nation’s capital city, I had no opportunity to try my hand at making bonsai. But after life stabilized here in Kohima, I am happy that I can pursue this hobby at last. I have read the theory, watched the videos, and have acquired the tools including the indispensable concave cutter through online shopping.
Life can be full of tensions. It can become monotonous. It can become dull. Sometimes, you need to get away. Sometimes, you need to unwind. Sometimes, you need to refresh. So, whatever your life’s main work is, you need the meaningful pursuit of a hobby. Plants work for me. I have kept indoor plants in my hostel room. I remember keeping a small container where I planted about 10 varieties. One was a Gul Mohor tree which goes to sleep every night, and a creeper which went round the container several times. There was also a bean plant which I measured with a scale every day for growth. Trip to the jungle is a perfect getaway for me. Writing is another hobby which also becomes a grinding responsibility, depending on the circumstance. Neither movies nor music work that well for me. Find out what works for you and pursue it.
Many people are caught in the wrong job. There are doctors who should have been musicians, government officers who should have been church ministers, and so on. Some are driven by want of power, fame, or wealth, while some are forced by circumstances. While one should be sympathetic to those who are forced to work for survival, it is a challenge that we dare to give up our job and pursue what we should be doing instead. If you are sure that you are in the wrong place, motivation, health and productivity will go down. Is it your hobby which should have been your life’s profession?
While hobbies can turn into primary profession, keeping a hobby as a hobby is worth pursuing and developing. Cultivating a hobby is good for mental health. It has the capacity to keep you young, creative and active, and not give up on life just yet. Hobbies like bonsai making and trekking are also very good for physical health. To promote physical activity in order to control weight and chronic diseases, starting a kitchen garden is encouraged. In urban places, vertical gardens are possible. The added advantage is that kitchen garden produces healthy organic food.
Hobby can save money and can be a source of supplementary income. Those who are interested in DIY (Do-it-yourself) crafts can re-use household items and save money. It is wise to use what you love to do to earn some extra bucks. I could manage some extra amount for charity and also pocket money from writing. One day, who knows if I will leave my job for the pursuit of a hobby! Planting flowers may fetch a good amount during wedding season. Options are many: making cakes for birthday parties, carpentry, stamp or vintage coin collection, event management, etc, etc.
If each of us meaningfully pursues a hobby, chances are that we can bring healing to some of our society’s discontentment.