January 25, 2011

Obsessions, Hobbies and Priorities


I think we throw the word obsessive around a little too loosely.  Have you ever thought that, as well?  I am as guilty as the next person; if you will look in the sidebar, one of the very first things you see is the definition of this blog,

"This blog is the place where the different facets of my life collide; my faith, my hobbies and my obsessions..."

Do I have obsessions...really?

I have never thought too much about the word until confronted with the concern that I am obsessive with some aspects of my life - so much so that my life priorities are out of line.  Honestly, I never even considered that some may consider constructing and wearing a Jedi costume to charity events obsessive behavior.  Fun, maybe.  Geeky, yes.  But obsessive?  I don't think so, but since it was brought up, I want to respectfully consider the possibility.

I also enjoy reading up on the fictional "Jedi philosophy" and drawing parallels and contrasts to a life of faith.  Would that be obsessive behavior?  Are my priorities really that out of whack?

obsession, n.,  a compulsion: an irrational motive for performing trivial or repetitive actions, even against your will, or an unhealthy and compulsive preoccupation with something or someone.

OK, so I do not have an irrational motive or compulsive drive to be a Star Wars geek.  I like it quite a lot, but am not urged unwittingly to watch the movies, dress as a Jedi or read Star Wars fiction against my will. The word unhealthy caught my eye in the definition, as well.  I have to ask myself,  am I unhealthy in my thinking about Star Wars and all it entails?

I must honestly say that I don't think that I am any more interested in Star Wars than someone who is into rebuilding classic cars or the person who is an avid golfer.  I think of quilters that spend hours at a cutting table and quilting machine, or a musician who spends day after day perfecting their skill on their chosen instrument.  What about the person who likes to study and spends late night hours pouring over ancient texts or scholarly tomes, or the artist who loses themselves for hours and hours deep in creative endeavor?  Any hobby or activity takes time to do well, but are these things considered obsessions?  I'm thinking we are using the word obsession in a tongue-in-cheek type of way and not according to the 'official' definition above.

I believe that those things I have mentioned above would fall into the category we like to call hobbies.  Most people have at least one hobby, sometimes several.  My husband enjoys hunting and fishing as a hobby, and when he can't be outside doing either one of those things due to time constraints or seasonal regulations, he watches hunting and fishing shows on television.  I have many, many good friends that enjoy crafting or woodworking - again, hobbies.  Are they being told that they are obsessive?  Well, I suppose if they excluded everything else in their lives in favor of their pastime, I would imagine they would be considered obsessive.  Especially, if they couldn't help themselves.  Fortunately, this is not the case for me and my Star Wars hobby.

I think it may be a matter of priorities.  What is most important in your life and how do you prioritize those things?  For most of us, myself included, our hobbies take a backseat to more important things such as faith and family.  Hobbies are the dessert of life, you could say; after you have eaten your meal, including your veggies, you can have dessert.  When we have extra time, we get to 'play' with our hobbies.  I like that and think it is a needed release and often times a necessary escape from our daily stress and trials.  As long as we are responsible with our lives, we deserve a little down time.  Life can be so hard; hobbies definitely provide a much needed sanity break.

So, do I need to remove the word obsession from my blog definition?  I do not believe that I am obsessed according to the definition we read above - I think I'll leave it with the tongue firmly stuck in cheek.  However, perhaps there is one thing that I would have to admit as an 'obsession' (in the best sense of the word) - that would be my faith.  I am absolutely, positively, constantly and willingly driven to live out my faith in everything I do, whether it be attending synagogue services, posing for a photo as a Jedi, carving a rubber stamp for a friend or sitting next to a loved one in the hospital.  My faith is not a hobby for me in any way.  I am commanded to love others and show the light of Messiah in my every word and action, and I am certainly obsessed about doing that.  It is my sincere hope that fact is obvious to all who come in contact with me, regardless of venue.


"What counts can't always be counted; 
what can be counted doesn't always count." 
~Albert Einstein

3 comments:

Mama Cache said...

Your faith, pervasively expressed in your relationships and your hobbies, is evident. Clear as glass, my friend.

Ari C'rona said...

Well said, my friend. I completely agree with your assessment of the situation. Thanks! :o)

JediKai said...

I also quite agree. Of course, I very much resemble your own situation. ;) I think you have it right when you compare hobbies to the dessert of life. Participation in our Star Wars groups is also somewhat less self serving than some hobbies as our groups look for every opportunity for charitable works. You also have your priorities in the right place. I don't much care for Freud's view of mental and emotional disorders, but he really had it spot on when he considered whether a condition was a disorder by the standard of whether it interfered with "love and work". Love was defined loosely as both intimate attachments and the love (agape) of friends and others. If it interferes with love and work, than it may well be obsessive.