Will lockdown make me take up a hobby my six-year-old has recently outgrown? | Romesh Ranganathan
I’ve decided I need to stop reading the news, and a friend suggests a radical alternative…
Illustration: Gym Class/The Guardian‘The first treat was discovering that, as an adult, I could buy myself an amazing set of colouring pencils.’Illustration: Gym Class/The GuardianFri 22 Jan 2021 14.00 GMTAs we work our way through Lockdown 3: The Lockening, it’s time to accept that the pandemic doesn’t respect the adage “New Year, New Me”. In fact, 2021 is as much of a dick as his mate 2020. Meanwhile, I find myself conducting my own cull of acquaintances who think the virus is a hoax, or that wearing face masks is an infringement of their civil rights, or that lockdowns are a means by which the government controls us. This ignores the fact that we are already enslaved by the school-work-pay-taxes-die cycle, and that what we think of as freedom is a construct designed to give the illusion that we have a higher purpose than eating, defecating and sleeping.
I’ve found myself increasingly voicing sentiments such as the one above, and so decided I need to stop reading the news and maybe get a hobby. It’s amazing how easily you can send yourself into a downward spiral. My wife and I have started watchingSuccession
(as we trawl through every show we haven’t yet seen), and ended up playing a game: every time it goes to an ad break, the first person to say “succession” out loud as the title appears on screen is the winner. (Apparently other couples talk to each other and make love. But horses for courses.) So far, so harmless. Until the other night, when my wife beat me on four consecutive occasions, before going to sleep while I lay awake for three hours convinced I had some sort of brain condition. headtopics.com
This is how I found myself looking at adult colouring books. They were recommended to me by a friend, and I was initially incredibly cynical. First, you have to overcome the fact that you are taking up a hobby that your six-year-old has recently outgrown. Second, we have been conditioned to believe that you shouldn’t waste time doing anything for no good reason. In December, social media was filled with memes saying things along the lines of, “If you’re not using this time to create, then when the hell will you?” and, “If you didn’t hustle in 2020, then the hustle ain’t in you.”
This is so disrespectful to people who have had difficulty processing the fallout from this pandemic. It is enough to deal with that and nothing else. In my view, there is nothing wrong with just trying to get through each day as best you can without starting an online bakery.
Read moreIt is this kind of thinking that makes you feel that sitting quietly, colouring in a mystical lion while listening to a crime podcast, might be a waste of the finite time that we have on the planet. Nevertheless, that is what I now find myself doing.
The first treat was discovering that, as an adult, I could afford to buy myself a really amazing set of colouring pencils. Once you’re colouring, there is a meditative quality to the whole thing; you are completely immersed in the activity and there is absolutely no jeopardy or stress, unless you are particularly traumatised by going outside of the lines. headtopics.com
There is also the added bonus that my wife isn’t doing it, and so there are no night terrors about her jungle scene looking much better than mine, and what that might mean for my brain synapses. The kids find it utterly baffling; but that only adds to the appeal.Read more: Guardian Weekend »
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