(Un)Healthy Obsession

December 18, 2012

"You have a problem"

That's what one family member told me when they learned that I had arranged to spend a few days of our Parisian vacation in Belgium. Surely I could manage to make it through 7 days in the City of Lights without a beer.

I will assume that concern and not judgement were at the core of this accusation; but I am not a heavy drinker. I drink often (~1 beer/day) but rarely in excess. However, I think we are conditioned to identify addictive behavior and try to rein it in before it turns destructive.

After all, the line between a healthy hobby and unhealthy obsession seems awfully thin. When your fascination with a subject makes others uncomfortable, they switch to the more pejorative labels.

I think when important things like family, friends or health, are ignored for the pursuit of a hobby then we can safely question the merits of that pursuit. However, this is not always the case. Successful employees who focus intensely on their job are extolled for their work ethic. Those who labor at their hobby are called obsessed or crazy. Why the double-standard? A true amateurs labors not for money or fame but for the love of the craft. Isn't this an admirable form of obsession?

Filed under: [beer]

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