What do you do for fun?
What do you do for fun? What could you spend hours of your time discussing, pondering silently or foam at the mouth about? What would you spend your days doing, if you weren’t paid to do something different?
Swing golf clubs? Trade stocks? Whittle wooden spoons?
I was with my friend C, and his friend A, who was hosting us for a few nights in Charleston, South Carolina. At this bar, in between mouthfuls of hamburger dripping with fat, was car talk.
The conversation had been an in-depth, nerd out over the Mazda Miata (Mx-5), apparently a very fast car. It was loud, exuberant and facinating. These guys knew what they were talking about. But my eyes must have glazed over at some point.
A turned to me to get my attention, and asked earnestly, “If you’re not into driving cars, what do you for fun?”
I shrugged, and gestured to my half drunk glass beer, which got a laugh, confirming the ‘drunk australian’ stereotype.
But it was a deflection. I’ve known for as long as I knew what a car did, that I didn’t really care about them.
But this time, reminding myself that I’m not a ‘car guy’ wasn’t liberating, as it has sometime felt in the past.
It depressed me. I wondered, is there really anything that I could speak at length about, with real conviction and excitement?
I have friends who could talk at length about fuel injection, moog synthesizers, geology, Iowa’s role in the U.S election, Steph Curry’s 2015/16 season. You name it.
It dawned on me that for whatever reason, I can’t.
I spend my time on the surface, and rarely dig to truly understand any subject.
I’ve ridden thousands of miles on a bike, and couldn’t name half the parts on the bike, or what they do, or why they look the way they do.
I’ve worked in health and fitness for a few years, and couldn’t explain much more than basic nutrition, and what consitutes a ‘stupid’ diet. Pro tip: most of them.
I read dozens of books this year, but I have no favourite authors, could not recite any favourite passages, quotes, or even properly summarize the key themes of most books that I read.
I was introduced to many classic films at a young age, have spent dozens of hours wandering around the best museums and art galleries of the world, and even studied art history through electives at University. I could hardly name a handful of important artists, why they are important, or even subjectivelly what I like about their work.
In other words I don’t have passion for art, although I ‘know’ it, and appreciate it.
But where does that leave me?
I’m okay with not being mechanical, or a methodical, process thinker. That’s my genetics, that’s the way I’m wired, that’s totally fine. I’m competent in enough areas in my life to have a decent baseline of confidence, and to keep growing as a person.
But an overarching listlessnes, and inability to truly know and explain stuff, freaks me out. I can best describe the feeling as ‘disconnection’.
Today, I could list hundreds of things that make me happy, and that I’m interested in, that motivate me and inspire me, or that I’d like to improve at, or I would be sad if they were taken from me.
I envy the specialist. The pilot who is fucking good at flying planes.They could tell you everything you ever wanted to know about planes, how they work, why they fly certain ways, and they could fly anything they wanted. They might not have any other passions, but at least they have that.
I can’t say I have that for anything in my life. Yet.