"How we react to works of art depends on who we are, where we are standing and when we encounter them." -- Margaret MacMillan, "War: How Conflict Shaped Us"

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Do You Have a Hobby?

     When I think of a hobby I think of coin collecting or stamp collecting, sewing or knitting, model trains or woodworking. By that score I do not have a hobby.

     When I was a kid I collected coins. I started when a friend of my dad's gave me ten Indian head pennies for my birthday. I went on to get the coin books and fill them up as best I could. I bought some coins at the old Gimbels department store, and later signed up to receive proofs from the U. S. Treasury.

     Alas, during my high school years my interest in sports and girls surpassed my interest in coins. Today, my coin collection sits on the floor of my closet. My last acquisition was a roll of World War II steel pennies I bought at a fall festival about 15 years ago. Otherwise, I haven't looked at my coin collection in decades.

      All the retirement experts say we should have a hobby in retirement. A hobby can keep the mind active, provide hours of enjoyment, help with stress, even contribute to self-esteem and provide a sense of identity.

     My brother-in-law is a woodworker. He has a shop in the basement and has crafted many wooden toys for his grandchildren. Another brother-in-law is a gardener, with about two acres of corn, beans and other vegetables in his backyard. He and his wife give away loads of vegetables to friends and family (thank you, thank you!) and eat out of their freezer for much of the winter. 

     I have a few friends who have taken up art in retirement. One is painting. One is doing pottery. Another glasswork. So do you have a hobby? I guess we could consider blogging a hobby, couldn't we?

     My sister plays bridge twice a week. Is a card game like bridge considered a hobby? My other sister is trying to learn Italian. Is taking a class or learning a language a hobby? How about travel?

     Then there's golf. A lot of seniors play golf. Is that considered a hobby? Or fishing or sailing or tennis or any other sport? How about just . . . walking?

     I have one relative who's a movie buff. That might be considered a hobby. But I doubt scrolling through netflix or spending hours watching cable news qualifies as a bona fide hobby.

     What's the difference between just wasting time and a genuine hobby? I think the difference is that you DO something with a real hobby -- not just watch movies, but lead a class or join a cinema club. Not just read books, but take part in a book club or volunteer at the library.

     Studies show that time spent on hobbies can help lower blood pressure, improve our mood, keep things in perspective. They sometimes offer that much-desired state of "flow" -- when you're lost in an art project, a sport or other activity and achieve that feeling of being fully engaged, while worries fall away, self-consciousness disappears and time flies.

     Hobbies can also help us make friends, perhaps replacing some of those we lost when we left work or moved away from our old home. Hobbies also make us more interesting. We don't talk about work anymore. And eventually our friends get tired of hearing about our grandchildren and all their impressive accomplishments. But people are interested in what we're doing, especially if it seems important or even just a little bit offbeat.

     It's never too late to start a hobby. My friend actually produces pretty good paintings, even though he never picked up a paintbrush before he retired. My sister . . . well, she's hardly fluent in Italian. Not yet anyway. But her halting attempts at the language gave her the motivation to take a trip to Florence and Venice, before Covid. And now she's planning a post-Covid trip, this time to Rome and southern Italy.

     Buona fortuna e avere una pensione felice!

21 comments:

ApacheDug said...

Growing up I collected comics--I don't just mean grabbing the latest Batman at the newsstand, I pored over the classifieds, went to garage & yard sales, old bookstores--I had several thousand, all "bagged and boarded" and graded, Golden (1940s) and Silver Age books. I sold my entire collection in my early 20s, thought it was time to grow up. I regret it to this day, but I would never collect anything again. Well Tom, I know you don't consider watching movies a hobby, but I've watched, written reviews & graded almost 3000 films since 2008. I do consider it kind of a hobby. And I think you were right to include blogging, I think for many of us that's a valid thing. :^) Lately I've been giving some real thought to vegan cooking, we'll see!

koolady said...

Love garage sales estate sales!
Then I sell on Poshmark or Mercari
It’s fun and make a few xtra bucks!
I’m trying to declutter so I’m also selling my junk so my kids don’t have to

Tom said...

Well Doug, I mentioned before that I'd like to see your top ten TV shows of all time. Now I want to see your top ten movies of all time (or maybe top ten currently on netflix or amazon). I could use your expertise!

Arkansas Patti said...

My hobby use to be gardening but not so much with age piling on. Now I consider blogging my hobby. Not just writing since I only post once a week now but reading my followers more frequent posts. It is nice to have found virtual friends I don't have to dress up to visit with.

ApacheDug said...

Tom, I was flattered when you asked me about my own Top Ten, I have been giving that some thought; as for movies, that'd be nearly impossible. It'd be more like Top 100! Also, I liked what Patti shared here. I think blogging is more than just writing; there are some blogs I follow, yours and Patti's among others, where I enjoy the comments of your readers almost as much as I did the post! When Patti posts a new blog? I visit her page 3-4 times that day. :^)

Red said...

I would say that one of your hobbies is blogging. Writing and saying something significant is a good hobby but then I'm biased.

Rian said...

You know Tom, I enjoy doing creative things - yet, I guess I never really considered them a 'hobby'. I sketch, watercolor, write, quilt, crochet, knit, and throw/sculpt pottery (and I do collect rocks when on vacations). Guess the saying, "jack of all trades, master of none" fits me. I had to look up the definition of hobby - "an activity done in one's leisure time for pleasure". Well, I guess I do have hobbies!

Kay said...

Oh I definitely consider blogging my hobby. However, sometimes it's hard to maintain it because my other hobby is creating photobooks for our kids and grandkids. When I was younger, I liked to paint but gave it up once I realized I didn't think much of what I produced. Sigh..

Elle said...

Hobbies: quilting, gardening, reading, hiking (which I will get back to now that I've had knee replacement #2).

I also have shelved hobbies of knitting and cross-stitch with many supplies in the stash.

Retirement is definitely fabulous as I don't have to "fit" my hobbies into tiny pockets of time with a little energy attached. Wohoo!!!!

AWmom said...

My husband and i both have hobbies. I do embroidery and take classes.love to do crafts,for the social aspect I belong to a book club and a Bingo and riddle group. My hubby practices new things on his guitar,takes drawing and painting classes and does puzzles.He also collects coins but he focuses on quarters . Currently the national parks quarters. He also belongs to a mens club. Whatever you enjoy can turn into a hobby.

Linda Myers said...

I've been doing genealogy for 25 years. My dad was a military officer and both he and my mom had small families, so I never felt connected to relatives. Now I've found thousands of relatives.

I'm also a lifelong reader and learner. Right now I'm enrolled in several courses through Osher Lifelong Learning - learning about cookies, quarks and spirituality. Even on Zoom it's about connecting.

I was certified as a mediator in 2012 and I've volunteered in that way for over 100 mediations. I use the skill every day of my life. It's not exactly a hobby, but I never get paid and I do it because it's fascinating.

Barb said...

Blogging is writing and I consider writing a hobby. I consider both movies and books hobbies and have seen the AFI best of all time, as well.as the best in all genres and the movie with the best villas snd so in. Like Doug i.absolutely consider that a hobby. Rare is the movie on TCM I haven't seen and I once got a call at 2 am asking me for the cast of the original Cape Fear.i also have gands on hobbies including genealogy snd sewing and knitting and I also try to learn drawing.

Tabor said...

Sadly my mother threw out all of my stuff and collections when I left home! My hobby now is photography but I do feel a calling to do a drawing or something like that.

Tom said...

AWMom -- Clearly your husband is more affluent than I am ... while I collected some nickels, dimes and quarters, I always focused on pennies.
Tabor, yes, I've noticed the great photos on your blog! I do some photography, too, but am just not serious enough about it to call it a true hobby.

Wisewebwoman said...

Seriously Tom, I can't count my hobbies!! I gave up stamp collecting - but later in life.

I play piano when I get a chance, not having space for one anymore.

I design and knit my own knitting patterns, art pieces really with stories on them.

I hold writing workshops.

I'm an activist combatting senior poverty.

I'm a photographer and design my own cards.

I write.

I story tell.

And on.

I believe it's important to keep our brains exercised and our spirits fulfilled.

XO
WWW

Rebecca Olkowski said...

Blogging is my job and I'm doing it to create extra income (not as much as I'd like) but it's kind of a hobby too because I really enjoy it.

Meryl Baer said...

Writing is definitely a hobby I enjoy. I take continuing ed courses, ones where I have to do something besides just attend class and listen to a speaker or watch a movie. Three seasons I garden, and I love to travel. Investigating places to go and making arrangements is a time-consuming endeavor/hobby.

Jennifer said...

My FIL was a life-long collector of coins. The kind who would get rolls of coins from the bank in the 50s, 60s, and 70s and cull through them to find his gem. He recently asked his son to sell the coins. It's amazing how many coins he has and how old some of them are. Sadly, some of the oldest are not in the best shape, but for this collector it was more important for him to have a certain type of coin than worrying about the shape it was in.

Julie Garman said...

This is a very interesting question. As a brand new retiree and brand new blogger, I have been asking myself the same thing for a few years. And as my husband gets closer to retiring, I'm saying the same things to him that you've heard as well: you gotta have hobbies. So far he's chosen golf and gardening.

For me, my list of hobbies is miles long now: scrapbooking, history club, genealogy, my teapot collection, reading, playing computer games, watching movies/TV shows and reviewing them on IMDb and now blogging about my retirement. I think anything can be a hobby. It's all am matter of perspective.

I found your blog via one of those "top 100 blogs" lists and I'm really glad you did. I love your insights. Thank you for sharing!

gigi-hawaii said...

Your blogging and golfing are hobbies, Tom. Don't rule them out. As for me, I have many interests: Blogging, Cooking, Violin playing, Collecting art, Collecting plants, hosting parties, etc.

Barbara said...

Yes. I think blogging is a hobby because it makes me feel happy to connect with other people especially when they have similar interests. Gardening, even if it is limited to a patio or balcony, makes me happy. I like attending lectures on a variety of subjects. I knit, sew, play with my camera, walk, color with sharpies, tie-dye and, my favorite, enter contests online.