The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


November Column: Aria’s Approach

By Opinion Editor Aria Lakhmani

Not a “Waste of Time”

As I set down my brush pen, I looked at my notes from the The Iliad and suddenly thought: Why was I even calligraphing my notes if no one was going to see them? These notes were not going anywhere, save from one side of my desk to the other, so wasn’t adding those flourishes a waste of time?

Outside of school, we all have interests, ranging from sports to school affiliated clubs, that are result driven. Personally, I’m in our school’s chess club.  I had always thought that chess and calligraphy both fell in my hobbies category – both activities I love doing. Yet, not once during a chess club meeting have I ever questioned why I organize and come to meetings. So why was I even thinking about my reasons behind lettering? Unlike calligraphy, the club has a tangible impact on other people, and seeing these results propels me to keep ensuring that meetings run smoothly. But when I sit down to calligraph, especially when no one is seeing my notes, it isn’t for anyone else   it’s for me. 

With incredibly saturated schedules, it’s easy to question and possibly neglect these hobbies   ones that are solely for your own enjoyment. In a culture that promotes capitalization of almost everything, with dozens of articles detailing how to make hobbies into businesses or how to be “more productive” the idea that time is almost a currency has been instilled in us. When we participate in leisure activities that seem to have less tangible impact on others, we may feel like we’re wasting this currency. We may tell ourselves, “It’s a waste of time,” making it reasonable to cast aside these hobbies without a second thought. 

However, even carving out ten minutes of your day to do something for yourself can make a world of a difference for your wellbeing. I’ve noticed that those extra couple of minutes it takes to letter a heading rather than write it plainly help slow me down and process what I’m currently doing instead of operating on autopilot mode. Truly, it isn’t a “waste of time” even if the results aren’t tangible or related to others: internal peace of mind or happiness are just as important outcomes.

Yes, nobody (except for myself) really sees my notes, and yes, I could be doing something more “worthwhile” in the time that I spend calligraphing. But I’ll continue doing it despite that because it’s an activity that I’ve realized means a lot to my mental wellbeing because of how it forces me to slow down. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters. We must move past equating activities that don’t have external results to “wastes of time.” Let’s stop opting out of hobbies that are purely fun and allow ourselves to enjoy something once in a while. 

Cover graphic by Opinion Editor Aria Lakhmani

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