I live in Hyde Park, a small neighborhood in Boston where the roads are always clear and the people are around and about. I wake up to the dim sunrise in the early morning. I sit there admiring the soft sun coming up to the sky. The funny thing about Hyde Park is that since it’s so quiet, you can hear wildlife wake up with you. Like the cats meowing and the dogs barking, as well as squirrels peeking out of their trees. I can hear the birds chirping as I move my arm over to my phone. I always go through Snapchat first. I see all the things my “friends” are doing. Going out to a restaurant, cruising on a boat, going to a soccer game. I mean, that’s fine. Life isn’t about going all the time, I guess. I then move on to Instagram, the same thing as Snapchat. I scroll through the stories of my “friends” and “living life.” Going to a party, hiking in a forest, reciting a speech to a large crowd. I’ve woken up and in the first 20 minutes, I already felt like I’d wasted away half of my life span. Whatever. I then go on Twitter. Ah, Twitter is my favorite social media platform. Where I scroll through memes, nothing interesting. I get up to take a shower and begin to get ready for the day. After my shower, I get all dressed up and make my way to the MBTA bus stop. I always hate catching the MBTA in my area. The bus always either comes late or always comes early. It’s annoying. But anyway, I’m standing waiting for the bus alone. Two girls walk together and join me to wait for the bus. I was waiting for the bus, and the two women were chatting it up, laughing, and enjoying themselves. While waiting for the bus? I mean, not everyone is like me. Of course, they’re going to be chill about it, they are friends waiting for the bus. I’m alone waiting for the bus. Big difference. The bus arrives and I get on. Some days it’s filled to the brim, some days it isn’t. Today, it is full. Of course, it would be full. It’s a school day, and it’s school hours. Oh, what’s school hours? A phrase I made up to describe the average time everyone that’s going to school gets on the bus. Usually, it lasts from 7-9:00 AM. As I enter the bus, my heart starts racing. My body starts to heat up as I try to squeeze into the packed space. I felt like I’m going to die. I finally find a space where there is a little leg room and I stand there as the bus begins to its next stop. As I’m riding the bus, I notice how loud it was inside. The two ladies in front of me were having a conversation about the weather. The group of kids in the back of the bus was talking about a basketball game that happened between a rival school. The old ladies in the middle of the bus were all talking in Haitian creole. While I was doing nothing. All I could do was plug in my ears and listen to music. As people got off, I was able to sit down and relax. Finally, I arrive at my stop and walk down to school. As I enter through the door, it becomes very lively. Groups of kids walking to their classes. Teachers hanging out, talking about how their classes went. Students in the classrooms messing around. It’s a lively environment that I add nothing to. Many play sports or join academic clubs, but I’m there doing nothing. I go to school, do the work and get out. I like staying out and about after school, walking around the neighborhood. I would go to the library to see if I could get any work done and also chill there and play games. It was a sort of hangout place for me. I didn’t have anything to do, so I wasted all the time I had in the library. It becomes late and I make my way out of the library and come back home. I get home and immediately plot down in front of my laptop scrolling away. The bright and flashy colors are so dull to my eyes as I keep scrolling. I get tired and go to bed, then I repeat everything the next day. It’s a cycle. Every day I do the same things over and over again. I know, it sounds like purgatory. It feels like it. There is no substance in doing the same thing every day for long periods. Of course, these cycles break from time to time, but they always come if you don’t do anything to combat them. I noticed that in this cycle of mine one thing stands out: I have nothing to do. But then I realized I needed a hobby.
Everyone I know has some sort of hobby or activity they do to fill in those extra hours. Like eating out and hiking. I thought having a hobby would mean leaving your house and doing something. But soon I began to understand that hobbies didn’t always have to be outdoors. They could always be something you could do at home. Cooking, for example, that’s a hobby that people do at home. I was sitting on the couch in the living room of my house. It was a bright and sunny morning and I could smell the pancakes frying on the skillet. I was scrolling through YouTube on my smart tv and I was very bored. As I was going through the videos on the recommended bar, I stopped at an Oversimplified video. “The American Revolution – Oversimplified.” I thought I could use some of my time to learn something, so I clicked on the video, thinking I would drop it in 2 minutes. Little did I know this event would lead me to finding my special interest.
I was never a history fanatic before. I thought it was a very mid subject, nothing particularly interesting about it. But studying it soon became my hobby. Oversimplified helped me get into the subject in a fun way. The documentary maker made videos on specific wars/events in history and retold them in a way that was informative. His content paved a way for me. Instead of feeling like I was wasting away doing nothing alone, I found something to do. I wanted to know what happened, when, and how. I started reading more and involving myself in online communities that appreciate history. I felt like I was spending my time connecting. In a strange sense, I didn’t feel as alone as I did before. I now have something to put energy into, rather than focusing on irrelevant things that weigh me down. I have a hobby that can distract me from the hardships in my personal life, as well as giving me a library of knowledge. It’s a win-win.
Studying the subject of history has taught me so much about hobbies and ways I can use my time. I always thought I couldn’t do anything about the time I always wasted. I thought I would be in a repeating cycle forever. But it doesn’t always have that way. All I had to do was find something I’m interested in, and I’m set. It takes up half of my mind and keeps me busy for hours of the day. History isn’t the only thing I got interested in. I got interested in music and its history, books, movies/tv, crochet/art. History paved the way for other interests to form. It keeps me alive. We all need something like that to keep us going.