I’ve noticed an interesting paradox. Some people don’t really have much of an interest in hobbies or goals, they just seem to have lots of free time and aren’t much concerned to do anything with it. To these people someone will eventually come along to tell them, “Get a life!” And then there’s another group of people, who have perhaps one or two hobbies/goals they devote almost all their time and energy into. To these people someone will eventually tells them the same thing, “Get a life!”
Well, I just figure the first group is probably still in the “I’m gonna survey the scene and make my plan later” mode. I guess as long as that doesn’t end up being the lifelong plan, I suppose choosing your path with some forethought is to be commended. As to the second group, I figure it’s only because they spend their time doing something that doesn’t interest everyone that they’ll get the “Get a life” comment. If someone wants to devote their time to saving the rainforest, well.. let ’em. It doesn’t mean I have to or that it’s my job to talk them out of it. If I want to devote my time to building a business and writing screenplays, then “so let it be written… so shall it be done.”
Which brings me to the topic at hand.. having a life. One of the common frustrations I’ve heard during many talks with women has been the complaint that the guy they love would be so much more ‘attractive’ if they had a goal or solid interest of their own that they persued. At first they were attracted to their personality (or a cute butt) thinking that surely someone with all that personality had big plans for themselves. But by the time the emotional investment had been made, they realized the only consistent goal their man had in life was to finish all the beer they got on Friday before the weekend was over. Or some didn’t even have aspirations that high going for them. They said they believed their man was capable of so much, if only he’d apply himself.
Now, the funny thing is that not all these women wanted their man to go out and make a successful career or have his own business venture. Several said they just wished he had his own hobby or interest other than being in a relationship. One woman complained that her, now ex-husband, would only show up to play on his softball league if she went to the practices and games with him. It really infuriated her that he didn’t have the hobby as an interest of his own apart from her. And justifiably so.
As great as it can be to be near each other while in love, it’s nice to know you each have your own pursuits and interests enjoyed independently of whether your mate participates in them or not. It could be a bowling league, helping out with a certain charity, a quilting club, whatever. But we like to know that our mate not only has talents and abilities, but that they like to apply them in some manner that allows them to see growth and skill improve over time.
Now here is a ‘generalization’ that, of course does not apply to all men or all women, but is none the less an observation I’ve seen enough to make note of it. Most women involved in a relationship tend to encourage and very much want their mate to be active in some pursuit, goal or hobby independent of her. Most men, -not- involved in a relationship tend to find women who are into a pursuit or hobby such as say college, running, career training, etcetera to be all the more attractive as a person. However, once involved in a relationship it’s surprising how many men suddenly find their girlfriend’s/wife’s outside hobbies and interests as some kind of a threat. Especially if it means she will be more visible to the public in some way or raises her social or economic level above his.
Rather than stand beside her and cheer her on, I’ve met too many women who said that as soon as they were in a relationship their boyfriend wasn’t very supportive of them finishing college, pursuing co-ed sporting events or hobbies that their men just didn’t find interesting for themselves. To the defense of other men, I must add, other women told me how great it was that their boyfriend/husband gave them not only the freedom but the encouragement to enjoy and excel in their outside interests.
I’ve wondered why it is I rarely hear a woman saying, “I wish my boyfriend didn’t play softball on Wednesdays.” or “I don’t like the idea of him wanting to finish his degree.” I don’t wonder why men would say things like, “I don’t trust those guys in your bicycle club.” or, “Are you sure you want to spend money on a nursing program?” The reason I don’t have to wonder is because, in my opinion, men find it very easy to think of a relationship in a possessive tense. Not all men of course, because some men are simply more secure than others. The men I’ve known who really did trust their women to pursue academics, sports or public service have been men who knew without a shadow of a doubt that they had the love of their lady securely settled. They were not only willing to trust her while he wasn’t around, they took joy in her accomplishments even if it raised her income or ‘image’ a notch or two above his own.
Getting back to the “single and looking” state of things, as I mentioned earlier we tend to find people who are ‘about something’ to be more attractive. It’s almost a sign we look for that this person has a healthy outlook towards the future and is not just sitting about waiting for a relationship to fall in their lap. Conversely when we happen upon someone who, even after further investigation, doesn’t seem to have direction or purpose we tend to find them less attractive. Sometimes we think we can ignite some ‘spark’ into them to pursue something, but unless they have that desire themselves it usually turns into one person nagging the other along to keep them active in outside pursuits.
There is an old Roman proverb, “Nothing worthwhile comes without great effort.”. Perhaps you are the type of person who enjoys lightly exploring many different fields and subjects. That’s a good thing. But eventually I believe it’s a good and healthy thing to sit down and decide, “Exactly what are my passions in life?”. Is it to sing or perform in some way? To study or build a business or career? Is it to be an excellent Father or Mother? Do I enjoy helping out others or being active in sports or the arts?
Once we have one or two of these questions answered I believe it’s one of the best favors we can do for both ourselves and our prospective mate to begin focusing our talents and abilities in setting goals to excel in the areas that interest us most. Who knows? It may just very well be the turning point in what you decide to do as a career or lifestyle. But one thing is certain, as was put so well in a recent film, “All men die, but not all men truly live.” We have only so many days to walk about the dust of the earth, it would be a great loss to have squandered them aimlessly.
Henry Velez is a writer, traveler and vlogger currently living in the Philippines. He has written extensively on social issues, relationships and travel.