If you were educated thinking that the most important thing for your future were your grades and the university you went to, then you, much like me and many others, didn’t cultivate your hobbies.

Maybe you took dance classes but quit because studying for your grades was the priority. Maybe you played the piano for many years, but as soon as you started working, you forgot about it.

Because who has the energy to come home after work and keep working on improving his skills in something that doesn’t put food on the table, right?

 However, after 1 year living in Japan and seeing so many elders (and when I say “elders” I mean people close to being 100 years old) having an amazingly active life, I wonder what will happen to the millennials who will probably live up to 100 years old, and many of whom exclusively studied and worked throughout their lives but didn’t cultivate their hobbies?

Japanese elders hike, drive bicycles, teach and practice martial arts, calligraphy, pottery, and some still work.

The fact that some of them are still working in very boring jobs makes me wonder why they do it: To feel useful? To avoid staying at home? Or because their pension is so small that it is not enough to pay the bills?

Which brings me to my Japanese pottery teacher, who is 83 years old, he is vigorous and healthy, and he has an amazing pottery studio. Moreover, instead of avoiding the PIA of having an international student who does not speak Japanese while he does not speak English, he took the challenge of accepting me as his student.

My pottery teacher’s studio in Osaka, Japan.

I don’t know if making pottery during his life has been my teacher’s job or hobby. I don’t know if he still teaches because he loves it or because he needs the money.

What I do know is that teaching pottery beyond his retirement age not only gives him an extra income, it gives him purpose and a sense of accomplishment.

 Given that many millennials face their future with uncertainty and pessimism, that in a not-so-far future we are expecting to live beyond 100 years old while pensions may not be the kind of retirement many dreamed of, cultivating a hobby could be a Plan B.

It’s never too late to start, even in a country where you don’t speak the language. Since I’ve been living and working in Japan, I have more hobbies than ever before: Japanese classes on Fridays, pottery on Saturdays, and contemporary dance classes on Sundays.

And I just sold my first pottery piece! 🙂


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