"Are you playing tennis for a sports scholarship?"
"Then why are you wasting your time on the courts?"
Whether we're in middle school, university, or the workforce, people seem to categorize everything we do -- every hobby, every "vacation," every extra minute we have -- as either useful or useless. Studying is productive, Netflix is procrastination. Unless what we do boosts our college applications or work resumes, we're "wasting our time."
But guess what?
No one can rate how you spend your time. No one can score your weekend a 2/10 for spending all of Saturday on the couch. Nothing is useless if it puts a smile on your face.
I spent five hours every day of my high school summers on the tennis courts, not because I was preparing for a tournament or wanted a sports scholarship, but because I loved the sport.
I learned to write English calligraphy not because I wanted to add it to my college application or become some sort of calligraphy master, but because I found it beautiful.
I am the tennis rackets atop my dresser, the calligraphy pens and India ink on my desk, the origami hanging from the ceiling, the art lining my walls. At the same time, I am the code on my laptop, the textbooks stacked beside me, the lectures I attend.
We spend decades of our lives educating ourselves and preparing for our future careers. But that doesn't mean your major or your career is all that matters. You're not just a biology major, not just a writer, not just an engineer, not just an artist, not just a student. You're so much more.
Look inside yourself and appreciate all the hobbies that, too, define who you are. Need a reason to do what you love?
Why play tennis?
Because I want to.
Because it's who I am.