Why Hobbies ?

I’ve been giving some thought to the question of hobbies. What are they, why do them, what hobbies are interesting, how much time should we spend on them and other aspects.

One thing that strikes me is that hobbies seem to be a niche pastime these days. With so much social media, TV, and gaming going on, the traditional hobby seems to be less at the forefront and seems to be considered a thing for ‘geeks’. On the other hand, those ‘geeks’ are some of the better off people in the world these days so maybe hobbies are for everyone and hobbies are mainstream activities.  The other aspect that I’ve been thinking about is retirement… its a long way off but it occurred to me that once you stop working as hard, you need things to fill your time. Indeed, even though we consider our selves to have less free time these days, the facts do not support that. In fact we actually have more leisure time than previous generations. In my opinion we are not as good as devoting time to entertaining ourselves and this is a skill that needs practice like any other.  So I was thinking about that and realised that as a kid I used to have plenty of ‘activities’ but now I have less and that it may take me a long time to get good at entertaining myself again.Of course, not everyone has the luxury of time to chase their dreams so I feel privileged to be able to explore this.

That thought leads me to the essence of my definition of a hobby. That it should be an activity related to active self entertainment. To that end while of course TV watching could be construed as a hobby, I don’t view it as one. I think a hobby has to have an element of participation to count as something that is fulfilling. To me a hobby should be something that engages the mind and/or body and often both. It has to be productive and by that I mean it has to have outcomes but that does not mean it is like work. As an example I think an activity like sailing is a great hobby. The sailor is active physically, has to think about what is happening, has to engage fully and it takes a commitment of time. I would that say that going on a sailboat and sitting there while someone else does all the work is not a hobby. Similarly I don’t think you need to be so engaged that you must be an avid racer to consider it a hobby. Its as much a hobby because you have to tinker with the diesel engine to get it going as it is because you learn about the wind or to navigate. As you can tell, boating will be one of my themes.  And I think you’ll see a connection between work and leisure.

So this will be a diverse and varied discourse, with many themes, some of which are not related. I’ll cover my interests as well as the social, physiological and economic aspects.  I hope that you will find it interesting. And of course I am doing this blog partly as my exploration of doing hobbies.