Sometimes in this modern era of "do what you love...", I use hand sewing to bring me back to reality. Work is hard and it is not always love...and the money doesn't always follow. Sometimes, work is work. Sometimes work sucks, and sometimes it hurts. Sewing hurts. It hurts your hands, your back, your eyes, and you will end up with a headache if you are doing it right. That's what work is. You may be lucky enough to love what you do, but that's not really what it is all about.
Hand sewing keeps me in the moment. When I am working on a detailed piece, or even just throwing some stitches on a stuffed toy for my kid, I have to be calm in order to complete my task. I must have a clear space. I must set out my tools in an organized way so as not to tangle my thread or lose my needle. I must be able to envision what it is I am trying to create. I must pick the right stitch for the task, and go over it more than once in some cases. I must stay focused on what is in front of me at the moment, not what I am going to do next.
Sewing by hand adds a certain intimacy to a handmade item. I become deeply acquainted with the fabric, all of its strengths and weaknesses that would go unnoticed if I used a sewing machine. The sense of accomplishment is also greater. When I put on something that I made I know that I literally made every stitch that holds that garment together and how well it holds up over time is strictly my doing.
Learning a new stitch and putting it into practice for the first time. Repairing a well loved toy. Making something useful. These are things I enjoy. These are things that hand sewing gives me. The bonus is that it also clears my mind. Even if the thing I am making doesn't turn out how I want, I still walk away a little closer to myself, and that is worth all the back aches and pin pricks along the way.