Metro-East Living

Why do we need hobbies? Columnist examines the wisdom of doing nothing.

Terry Mackin
Terry Mackin Provided

I’ve always been envious of a guy with a hobby.

Guys who hunt, fish, woodwork, paint, draw, sing, build, mold, restore, or create.

Fall always seems like a great season for hobbyists. Cool mornings. Harvest moons. Kids back in school.

Guys with hobbies have it figured out. They have a plan and purpose for free time. You know what a guy with a hobby wants for Christmas or birthday gifts? Hobby stuff. Tools. Gear. Books. Simple.

Retirement? No questions, concerns or doubt. He has a hobby. He will be fine.

Then there are guys like me without a hobby. Hobbyless. Free-time floaters.

You know us. Guys with limited attention spans who can’t focus on a subject or activity long enough to consider it a hobby. Guys who have dabbled at hobbies over the years. Just long enough to invest in new tools, gear, gadgets. But interest fades as quick as it enters. All those new tools and gadgets are in storage if anybody want them.

Friends and loved ones have tried to start hobbies for us because, well, we need a hobby, right?

But we have ignored or fought off their attempts. We enjoy listening to guys tell stories about their hobbies and adventures. But do we want to join them? Naw. Not really.

I’ve come to the conclusion that not every man wants — or needs — a hobby.

Some guys are fine doing nothing, really.

And we’re pretty good at it, too.

Maybe that’s our hobby. Doing nothing.

I like to write. But I’ve never considered it a hobby. I like listening to music, too, but it’s not a hobby. Everyone listens to music. I like all genres although jazz gets a little annoying after a few minutes. Are they all playing the same song?

I love sports, too. But watching sports is more pastime than hobby. I can watch golf on TV for five or six hours straight. Back when I cared about the NFL, I could watch two days straight of the NFL Draft on TV. I used to be able to watch entire baseball games on TV but either the game has become slower or my attention span has decreased, or both. I have to get up and walk around between innings.

I like to play golf. But more for the camaraderie than the competition itself. Again, it’s a pastime. I enjoy riding my bike, too. It’s about all what I can do that doesn’t hurt my knees or feet.

Hunting and fishing seem like fun as long as the fish are biting and prey is visible. It’s the empty space in-between catches that concerns me. I’d daydream. I’m good at daydreaming. But that can’t be a hobby, either.

Camping? Sorry. I need a hot shower in the morning. I’m not a fan of insects, either. They’re annoying.

Most good hobbies involve working with your hands. My thick, ham hands are not made for intricate carvings or delicate painting. My paws are pretty good at grabbing a hand full of chips from the bag or Vanilla Wafers from the box. That’s not a hobby, either.

A lot of guys are into sports fantasy leagues. I’ve never been interested. Pressed for time. Besides, I like watching the team and game,not just individual players.

I’m open to suggestions but I’m not looking hard for a hobby. I prefer one that’s cheap, fun, does not require mechanical skills, or use of that side of my brain that covers numbers, fractions, measurements or fine details, whichever side of my head that is.

In the meantime, don’t worry about me. I’m fine without a hobby. I’m content doing nothing, really. I’m pretty good at it, too.

Terry Mackin: terry.mackin@amwater.com
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