Why Millennials Should Have Non Tech Hobbies

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If someone asked you “What’s your hobby?” how would you respond? Would you say “watching TV,” like over half of the millennials surveyed by the Urban Land Institute? Would you name something wacky, like building sculptures out of knickknacks in your backyard?

There’s nothing wrong with watching TV, surfing the Internet or posting witty one-liners on Twitter. Tech-savviness is the defining feature of Gen Y, after all. Still, when you get down to it, non tech hobbies that don’t involve TV, shiny gadgets or the World Wide Web have a place in the Information Age too.

Non-Tech Hobbies Bring Out Your Creator Side

When you watch TV, read an online article or laugh at a funny video, you’re simply a consumer. Once you take your fill of instant gratification, you move on to the next thing.

When you paint a picture, chip away at a block of marble or knit a special sweater, you’re a creator. Because those things require relatively more effort on your part, you value them more. When you value something, you want to make it extra special and pour your creativity into it — a quality that employers seek in job applicants.

Non-Tech Hobbies Are Healthier

Millennial Magazine- non tech hobbies

Hobbies aren’t just a way to pass the time. They also allow you to calm your mind. If your non-tech hobby involves going outside (e.g. hiking, swimming), you have an awesome way to exercise your body as well.

Non-Tech Hobbies Grant You More Control Over Your Creation

Let’s say you created an original meme. You post it online, hoping that people will find it funny. They do — so much, in fact, that they build and build on it until you can barely recognize it as yours anymore!

That’s the thing about the Internet: Once you upload something for the world to see, it’s fair game for anyone who knows how to use the “Download” button. Meanwhile, a handcrafted vase can’t be easily replicated by someone from halfway across the world (unless they have a 3D printer, which is unlikely).

Non-Tech Hobbies Can Be Lucrative

Think that 19th century stamps are only good for museums? Think again. John Apfelbaum, of Apfelbaum Inc, has seen many people turn their trading into a profitable side-hustle: “Some collectors become so knowledgeable that they can find rare varieties that are unknown to others. Every stamp seller started as a collector and many are able to supplement their incomes or make their hobby into a full time lucrative profession.”

Don’t believe me? During a 2013 transaction, a single stamp was purchased anonymously for a jaw-dropping $9.5 million — the most expensive stamp sold for that year! So keep your collection safe and sound, as you never know how much it’ll be worth in the future.

Non-Tech Hobbies Make You More Interesting

Millennial Magazine- non tech hobbies

How many people can say they love to surf the Internet? Assuming that’s true for all online users, the number would be around three billion people. It’s not exactly what you’d call a “unique” hobby.

What about carving intricate sculptures out of pencil tips? Knowing what’s on your cat’s mind (which, as any cat owner will tell you, is about as easy as pulling teeth from a live whale)? Those are what you’d call conversation starters!

Non-Tech Hobbies Make You a Better Person

To paraphrase Paige Ballard from The Huffington Post, making things from scratch is a transformative process. When you visualize your final product, choose the materials you’ll use and take time out of your busy schedule to craft it, you feel a different kind of excitement than what you’d feel from simply clearing a video game level. You didn’t just read a GameFAQs guide from top to bottom: You poured your heart and soul into your creation, as cheesy as that might sound. Once you’re done, you can look back and say “This awesome thing came from my hands. Therefore, I’m awesome too.”

To be clear, this is not to suggest you should toss everything tech-related out of the house. Things like smartphones and apps are great, and will continue to be as long as people are willing to upgrade them. At the same time, keep in mind that what you create offline has just as much — if not more — value as the things you create online.

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Holly Whitman

Holly Whitman is a millennial writer and journalist based in the DC area. After relocating from the UK a couple of years ago, her new mission is to visit every state and complete half of her bucket list before turning 30. In her spare time, you can usually find her working on her novel, volunteering at a local women's shelter or, most likely, attempting to stop her dog Winston from jumping in puddles.

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  1. Avatar
    Max
    July 31, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Bravo!

    I am not a millenial, but what you wrote about in this article is the single biggest thing I find infuriating about millenials, and the children and teens who are coming up in the generations behind them. They are not creators or producers. They are CONSUMERS, and they are content to be so!

    I would like to put the word “hobby” aside for the moment, and simply ask of each man, woman, and child: “Are you are producer or are you a consumer?”

    If all you do is consume, then frankly, you are almost a non-person. What do you create? What do you contribute?
    Watching TV, dorking around on your phone or playing video games are all passive CONSUMER activities. Even posting to Facebook or other social media is not “producing” unless you have worked out the solution to some problem, created some plan for curing or building something, etc, and are sharing your creation with the world. If you are simply typing, “LOL! My cat does that too!” you are just a consumer, an audience member.

    There’s a reason that the word “content” became a buzz word of the internet. But break that down, and it means something truly horrifying. People who create “content” are the CONTRIBUTORS. They are the THINKERS, CREATORS, and the real MASTERS of the internet. They are the ones who write songs, make videos, write stories, show people who to fix a vacuum cleaner or fix their car. Everybody else is just a consumer, a sheep, a sucker who makes money for somebody else.

    Now that I have sufficiently p**ed off the entire Millenial readership, let me clarify.
    If you do not create and contribute anything, then what, exactly, do you mean to your surrounding humans? Don’t you even care? Do you just click “like” buttons, show up at parties to consume their food, take up space and laugh at other peoples’ jokes? Is your only relationship to other people the fact that you share the same TV shows, the same web sites, the same video clips? So in other words, your connection to the human race is only through what you consume?

    Pretty sad.

    Wouldn’t it be a heck of a lot more meaningful if what you did with other humans went more like this?
    “I make furniture”
    “I drew these pictures and published this photo book”
    “I volunteer every week at the ASPCA taking care of the animals”
    “I play the flute”
    “I work out and I lost 50 lbs, and I’m competing at the Crossfit event in a month”

    In other words… DO SOMETHING. MAKE SOMETHING. IMPROVE SOMETHING.
    Invest effort to make someone else’s life better.

    Be a producer… not a consumer.

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