"I can't imagine having a hobby." said Yolo. " I can't either." said Kate. "Everything I do I want to be essential." Alice Walker in Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart
"Hobby" is defined as something a person does for pleasure, not as his main business. It's an interesting word to consider. On the one hand, to do something that you love, that gives you such delight that you'd do it whether or not you got paid, is an engagement that is to be envied! How lucky we are to find such a pursuit! And yet, it is sometimes used as an epithet; at the very least it makes the person whose work has been described as a hobby feel defensive. We want to put space between our passion and that label.
I remember being at a women's event one evening where we were asked to introduce ourselves by telling one thing that we loved to do. It was before I'd discovered painting for myself and I think I lamely said that I loved to read. Further down the table another woman described some activity that she was involved in - some kind of creating. She said that time stopped for her; she lost track altogether. She forgot to eat. That caught my attention. I never forgot to eat! I'd never gotten so engrossed in what I was doing that I didn't miss food. I might not be able to stop what I was doing but it wasn't that I forgot about it, that my hunger didn't make itself very apparent.
On occasion, I now know what she was talking about. I can become totally absorbed in my work on a painting. Not always, but sometimes.
And yet, I fall into the definition of having a hobby. I do not earn my living with my painting. I couldn't even if I tried; I'm not at that level of accomplishment. But I take my work seriously. It is part of myself that I share with others, that sometimes speaks to others. It is totally essential to being who I am at this point in time. In that sense, it is my business.