The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell provides a wealth of great advice. One of my favorite quotes relates to an interest in trivial pursuits:
“One of the major sources of unhappiness, fatigue, and nervous strain is inability to be interested in anything that is not of practical importance in one’s life.”
In short, our happiness often depends on a love of the trivial. Can you find enjoyment in Brazilian beach volleyball? Burmese water puppetry? Greek independent cinema? Many people cannot because they can only focus on things of “practical importance”—such as home and work. This sounds good on the surface, but what happens when there is a disturbance at home or work? If your entire world revolves around these things, a disturbance in this area can send your life tumbling like a house of cards.
Most people have an interest in trivial pursuits as young people. They enjoy collecting baseball cards, playing video games, etc. But as time goes on, something happens—life. The brutal nature of existence wears them down, and they soon lose passion for the previous pursuits. They cut off their interests one by one. Slowly, they only have an interest in their work and their mate. Eventually, they don’t even have an interest in those things.
I want you to reaffirm those trivial things from your past…those hobbies that have long since died. They weren’t mindless trifles to be done away with when the “real world” came a calling. They were important fires, matches that lit the carefree part of your soul. They taught you that life was something carefree to be enjoyed—they taught you to whistle, skip, and grin. They taught you to be alive.
We need our irrelevant hobbies.