The question is often asked at parties and social occasions. Rarely, does one answer with a list of their favorite hobbies. Often, the answer is about one’s work. This is fine: most of us put lots of time and effort into our work, quite a bit more than we put into our hobbies. However, folks generally like their hobbies more than their work, and I find it curious that we focus on the less enjoyable part of our lives, at the neglect of the enjoyable, when answering the question, “what do you do?”
I recently lead a climb up the Upper Exum Ridge, on the Grand Teton, in Wyoming, USA: this activity started me thinking about this question, “what do you do?” Climbing the Grand Teton was challenging, difficult, and rewarding. But it was not fun or enjoyable in any standard sense of those words. There were moments that I enjoyed immensely, but there were many more moments of struggle, discomfort, and fear. Perhaps my memory of the experience is skewed, but those enjoyable moments somehow make the whole difficult experience worthwhile. I will do a climb like this again, despite knowing it will be physically, mentally, and emotionally uncomfortable. Why?
What you do ought to leave a generally positive, worthwhile feeling. Maybe you wouldn’t do that activity again, but somehow, it was worth the time taken to experience it. Does your paid work do this for you? Do your hobbies do this for you?