I wrote a post about labels this month, and my first way keep labels from working against you was to mix them up, because we’re individuals and our labels shouldn’t read them same as everyone else’s. The truth is I feel like a lot of people generify themselves so they can fit into a nice little package, whether they’re chasing a brand, an aesthetic, or simply want to be more liked.
I’ve noticed that a lot of my hobbies and loves let me fit into a neat little package, then when people get to know me they’re knocked off their feet by one of my more obscure fascinations or hobbies, not because they’re that rare, but because they never would have placed them with me. They only had a surface level reading of me and there’s always much more going on under the surface. We’re all like this, none of this new.
But what is a newer trend is collectivism, wanting to fit into to a certain group seamlessly and having all of our friends match us in hobbies and ideals. Okay, maybe that isn’t new either, but it’s growing and growing fast. I blame the internet for this, and I blame peoples insistence that you need to pick a side on everything from hobbies to politics to which TV show reigns supreme. You’ve heard of the sinking middle class, but what about the sinking middle ground? When we don’t have middle ground we tend to jump to one side as quickly as possible and leave all the stuff across the line to stay hidden or simply rot out of existence. It’s bad. That other stuff is just as important to who you are.
I hear people say “I lost interest in volleyball because I threw myself into art school and all that goes with it.” or “I lost interest in romance novels because I got my English degree and moved on to “high-brow” literature.”
It’s a common thing. Ask your friends why they dropped things they loved. Ask yourself why you stopped doing that hobby you loved three years ago. We all have our reasons, but I bet most of us didn’t spend a lot of time reviewing those reasons. If we were to, would we still think of them as legitimate enough to have dropped something we loved?