We live in the age of The Side-Hustle. And it’s absolutely exhausting.
What is a side-hustle? It’s basically anything besides your main job that brings in some extra income and/or gain. It could be running an Etsy shop, monetizing a blog, driving for Lyft on the weekends, anything that you spend your precious extra hours outside of your regular job doing in return for a form of external gain.
And the side-hustle makes a lot of sense, particularly for millennials and Gen-Z-ers that have grown up in a destroyed capitalist economy. Things cost more. We comparatively make less. And there’s a constant need to show that you’re “living your best life” on social media through the items you buy and the experiences you have. So, of course, we turned our few non-working hours into, well, work.
And the side-hustle is a necessity for many of us. Hell, writing these articles is my side-hustle as I balance it with writing and school (I also absolutely love it, but that’s beside the point). But a side-hustle can also be a detriment to your overall well-being.
The “rise-and-grind” mentality that’s so rampant today makes it hard to resist turning everything into a money producing endeavor. I read something recently that said millennials have far fewer hobbies than previous generations. And I believe this to be true for a multitude of reasons:
- Our capitalist programming leads us to think any time not spent working, producing, or doing something otherwise fiscally productive is a waste of time and makes you lazy
- Many of us work insane hours, not only at a job location, but also the domestic labor of having a family
- Many of us are really broke and don’t have the disposable income to spend on the materials necessary for a lot of hobbies
- Our hobbies inevitably turn into our side-hustles
It seems like any time we discover something we are remotely good at or enjoy doing, we feel the urge to turn it into a business. It’s this nagging feeling that, if you’re doing a hobby just for the enjoyment of doing it, you’re wasting your time and an opportunity to profit. But that completely defeats the point of having a hobby.
Hobbies are incredibly therapeutic. They grant “me-time” and well-deserved introspective focus. They can be excellent escapism, a great way to channel nervous or compulsive energies, a source of intrinsic satisfaction, and an excellent outlet for emotional expression. But we lose that when we give in to the urge to profit off this creative release. By transitioning a hobby to the creation of something for others to consume, we lose that element of self-care that so many of us desperately need.
One thing I have found particularly interesting since the call for social-distancing in response to COVID-19 is how many people are using this as a rallying cry for more at-home productivity. Parents are all of a sudden expected to become teachers. Creatives are called to write plays or novels. Academics are expected to whip out their theses. Everyone is encouraged to start that blog/Instagram/YouTube channel/Etsy shop etc. etc. that they’ve been putting off.
Because we are all afraid to just chill. Don’t get me wrong, you do whatever you need to do to get through these scary times. If any of those things call to you, go for it!
BUT, if you need to just relax? If you need to binge-watch TV or sit and read or bake a ridiculous amount of cookies or plop your kids in front of an iPad to keep your panic from manifesting in more harmful ways? DO. IT.
A pandemic isn’t some prime-time to be a productive machine. It’s a time to take care of yourself. It’s a time to do whatever you need to do to say physically and emotionally well. It’s a time to cut yourself some fucking slack.
And you know what? It’s okay to resist the side-hustle any other time in your life too. Not every hobby or crafty endeavor has to be shared with the world and bring you money or social media notoriety. Some things can be just for you.
Give yourself permission to do something for no other reason than the simple joy of doing it.