Riding The Horse – Part Two – Lifting The Lid

The Business Of The Hobby Explained

The need for a hobby is felt by many in the community – they are the lucky ones amongst us. Those who have no need are generally in that position through overwork, impecuniosity, or cultural pressure.

If you have literally no time left out of a day that sees you scrabble for food, shelter, security, or health, you are a poor, unfortunate creature. If you have enough of the basic needs but cannot stop yourself grinding for more, you are a rich, unfortunate creature. If you are prohibited from seeking any pleasure outside of the grind, you are a slave. The fortunate thing about these three observations is that the poor may become rich, the rich may become wise, and the slave may become free.

In all three cases a hobby can alleviate many of the pains of life. The first person may feel harried by need – the second by greed – and the third by oppression. If these states are not addressed by fortune, the person needs an ally, and the hobby can be just that. Hobbies can be secret or public, cheap or expensive, long lasting or transient. They can be taken up with the minimum of equipment or pursued with every accessory and machine that science can make. They are truly flexible things.

Benefits of a hobby? Well, the hobbyist can always retire into the sanctum of their pursuit and place the distressing world at a distance. Their sanctum may be a place, a group, or just a series of thoughts. Hobbies are portable things, and the mind of the hobbyist can carry them into business meetings, waiting rooms, and dungeons with equal facility. It costs you nothing but attention to open the internal hobby library door, sit down at the mental desk, and review the plans for your next project. Caution – do not do it while driving.

A hobby can make you a calmer person – and in some cases a more considered one. This may be possible even in the more bellicose pursuits like martial arts. A person in control of themselves is more likely to be able to control the situation that they are in. If you have confronted problems in your hobby – and surmounted them – you are much more likely to be able to do the same with other troubles.

A hobby can lead to increased self-esteem. While self-esteem taken to the extreme makes for Idi Amin, lower levels of it are good. When you succeed in your hobby – even by a small amount – you feel better in yourself. Others may not care whether your model airplane flew and landed perfectly, but you’ll be admiring your skill for years to come…and rightly so.

A hobby can make you more observant. Very much more so…ask any scratch-builder and you’ll find that they look at everything…everywhere. Shapes and materials that escape others come under keen appraisal for use in their model building. That means they look at the whole world more sharply – a good thing. Their minds speed up.

But you get no crops without manure. There are down sides to hobbies that we will discuss in the next essay.

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Three

Three.

That’s about all the hobbies one person can handle at any one time. Keeping in mind the formula that says a half hour per day ( 3.5 hrs per week ) you have to figure that the tri-hobbyist will be carving 10.5 hours out of what might be a working or family week. This amounts to 546 hours per year and that’s a lot of time.

Also you have to account for the expenditure. Taking a simply complex hobby as an example – model airplane building – you could figure about $ 20 a week on the average for a steady adult – $ 30 for the wild-eyed enthusiast. $ 1000 to $ 1500 per year plus the storage space needed. Of course there are far dearer hobbies and far deeper purses to support them, but even a small expenditure adds up, year by year.

Multiply that by three hobbies and see where you are. You are carefully hiding the bank statements and credit card demands from the spouse and looking to see if you could sell one of the pets or children to support next year’s hobby conference…that’s where you are. Embezzlers who pilfer company funds to support a gambling habit look good beside you…

When you choose your hobbies ( As opposed to the occasions when they choose you. ) you can either pick ones that seem to flow into each other and combine your efforts or you can go for three disparate things. I cannot say which approach is best. You may get a force-multiplication effect for your money if all three things are related, but then you need to look at it to see if they are indeed three separate things.

If you spend your time and money in three separate directions you’ll necessarily have a  smaller footprint on each strand but it may be a clearer one – and the differences in the activities may refresh you more. We cannot drink one thing for every meal – we must needs rotate between cider, beer, and wine. Which can be a hobby.

Note that the cheapest hobby so far – if you disregard the price of the computer – has been internet writing. So far I have not paid the WordPress people anything – though that may change if I reorganise my columns into one with divisions.

I used to glory in not paying Adobe any more money for the image editing programs but have come to realise that a little yearly expense does bring a world of benefits.

 

Making The Most Of Hangar Time

The week in the armchair has been productive. The leg heals, the mobility increases slightly, and there is no lowering horizon – save a growing list of things that I want to get done once I can stand. I think there is going to have to be some prioritization in the jobs list for a while.

If this sounds a little Pollyanna-ish you must forgive me. I won’t make myself better by worrying about what I might have troubles with – I’ll do far better to do what can be done and be pleased with that. To this end I watched pointedly useful YouTube shows all the week.

I also reorganised on paper what the rest of the year might look like. Sitzenzeit is good for that…if you can be honest with your plans and get a balance between wanna-do and canna-do. I suspect that there are a lot of times in the past when a week spent in the hangar would have led to some better flights of fancy afterwards.

One thing that hangar time forces you to do is to ask what it is you actually want to do in the future. If there are activities and ambitions that have been rather marginal in the past…but you’ve stuck to them from a sense of inertia…you have an opportunity to decently step away from them. You can streamline the wing load by unhooking the unwanted ordnance – without the necessity to drop it dramatically on someone.

The other thing that happens is you find out how many times that you go out on the road to the shops to spend money or some reason. When you can’t walk , you can’t drive, and you can’t go out and spend money. It is a bit of a shock to realise that this has not lowered your standard of living for the week. Or perhaps you are brought to the realisation that the book, bed, armchair, and convenient toilet are as high a standard as you really need – and the designer platinum-coated egg whisker that is being offered for a fabulous discount may not be for you.

I have not yet given in to the temptation of on-line shopping. I may advocate it or others, but I realise the danger of it for the bored or unfulfilled. I can wait.

I Have A Little List…

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So did the MIDWAY but that didn’t stop her from launching aircraft…

No, seriously, I do have a little list – in fact I have two little lists. I have just opened two documents in Pages here on the computer; the bucket list and the fuckit list*. I can’t think why I have not done it before.

The B list is the things I wish to do. The F list, the things I never wish to do. The idea was suggested by a Leunig cartoon passed on to me by a friend. It is humour but so truthful as to strike like a lightning bolt.

I know the B list idea is an old one – people have been mentioning the phrase for years now. The F list is new, though I suspect I had it in my subconscious for a long time. It is just now that I can start to write both down. And it is the recording of the items that brings the most revelations to me. You see, it finally requires me to be honest with myself about me.

The documents are filling up – and occasionally I transfer something from one to the other…I’ll detail a little more of the process in further posts. In the interests of maintaining social decorum I promise not to be political or religious, but I can’t help it if I am occasionally sexy.

  • And that is the last time I shall use that expletive. I was never trained in the operation of the word and I am uncomfortable with it. I know other words.