A good hobby10 May 2016 | Philosophy
A good hobby draws me closer to God or closer to people.
It benefits my own character or sharpens my skill.
It builds contentment and satisfaction instead of demanding more.
It leaves me calm and either tired or energetic, not lethargic or frustrated.
Now to put it to the test.
Writing when tempered with “it will not become a best selling novel or famous blog,” it can draw me closer to God. It can sharpen my skill, and leaves me calm and energetic. It tends to leave me malcontent because I rest so heavily on the praise of my peers. However, I think with proper perspective, this has a lot of potential.
Coding on the side can also draw me closer to God and build my skill, but more often leads me to focus on profitability. Coding can be very frustrating when done in small chunks, so I’m often left frustrated and unfulfilled. When I had a lot of extra time, I gained a lot of satisfaction from software projects, but in this season, I don’t have that kind of time. So I stopped doing software projects at home.
Homebrew stands out as an excellent hobby because it requires little upkeep. The time alone draws me to God as it sharpens my skill. The result is usually satisfying and often leaves me calm and energetic.
Gaming comes in many forms. Most recently, I play online games with friends from work. It builds those relationships, sharpens a gaming skill (though not an amazing skill to sharpen). It usually leaves me calm and satisfied. However. When I play alone, I often feel like I’m not accomplishing anything, so sometimes feel frustrated and unsatisfied.
Reading come and goes with me. I spend a lot of time listening to audiobooks and podcasts during my commute–which I put into the same category. A good book fiction or not will draw me closer to God because it challenges my mind and opens up our conversations with new topics. Most books build my character–and my skill of listening to fast audio has greatly improved. Reading leaves me satisfied unless it was a particularly bad book. They almost always leave me calm.
Gardening, for many people, is a necessity for offsetting food cost. Because that is not the case for me, I count it as a hobby. It draws me closer to God and my wife, even though we often clash when working in the garden together. Working through our strong opinions on where the garlic should grow builds character and skill. In the end, we have a beautiful yard and garden that leaves me contented, calm, and tired.
Winery work is something that many people don’t have the opportunity to do. One of my occasional hobbies is to work at a local winery as a server or warehouse worker. Either way, I have an amazing view of the Snake River valley with a sample of some excellent wine nearby. This draws me to praise God and build relationships with people. Serving will always build character, and wine making and tasting skills come with the package. I always leave with a sense of work well done, calm, and tiredness.
Ultimate frisbee has returned now that it’s warm out. My league is free, non-competitive, and with people I know and respect. It builds relationships, skill, satisfaction, and leaves me better than when I arrive.
Yoga is new to me, but so far it has far outstripped all exercise programs I’ve tried before. I push myself too hard in most gym activities, but yoga offers me exercise, stretching, and relaxation all at once. It draws me to God, to introspection, to skill and health, it adds contentment and leaves me calm and tired but not exhausted.
Robotics falls into a similar category as coding at home. When I had the time, it was very enjoyable, though it had the extra benefits of time-bound and with friends. It also came with the drawbacks of high recurring cost and frustration due to the amount of time and energy required. It sharpened my skill but demanded more, and it often left me frustrated. So I stopped robotics.
You may notice I have a lot of hobbies, and I do. But these are the hobbies I do though out the year, not all at once or all in one week. I’m also re-evaluating my hobbies and motivations because so many things peak my interest and my imagination runs wild with the possibilities of new careers, fame, and renown.
I’m making a conscious effort to prune the extras and become more content where I am than ever before. Take a look at your hobbies, modify the maxim to make it your own, and weed out the things that leave you frustrated, alone, and further from God and the people you love.