I’ve noticed, now that I’ve reached my late 40s, that people my age and older don’t have many hobbies.
When we’re kids, we have loads of hobbies. Our families (hopefully) encourage us to do anything that interests us – time and money permitting. In the teenage years, our interests usually change. There’s more homework. A part time job. After graduation, it’s work and/or college. Career. Marriage.
You might have your own kids, and your hobbies take a back seat to your children’s. It’s no wonder that some sports parents become obsessed with their kids’ performance and become horrible to the other team. They don’t have anything going on in their own lives so they have to live vicariously through their kids.
And once the nest is empty, what is there? If you’re lucky enough to retire, what is there? You turn on the TV and flip through the channels all day. You’ve lost touch with friends and can’t figure out how to make new ones.
When we write articles about legendary coaches or award-winning seasons, the athletes – now adults – say those were the best years of their lives. It’s because they really haven’t had that camaraderie since. Sports, especially contact sports, are for the young.
This is a little late to be a New Year’s resolution, but any time is a good time to pick up a new hobby, or to restart an old one. What was it you used to do with your free time? What made you happy?
What can you do to pass the time in a fun way? It doesn’t have to be constructive. It doesn’t have to be a side hustle. You don’t need to monetize it. Just do something with your hands, or your mind, that’s more than scrolling on your phone.
You’ll find that there are other people who enjoy these hobbies just as much. They will welcome you into the club, happy to have another person to geek out over whatever little niche you’re into.
How great would it be to come home after a hard day’s work and unwind by spending an hour in the garage on some project? At the end of it, you’ll have something you can be proud of. It would be cool to bake a cake, draw a picture, or write a poem and when it’s done, look at it and say “I made that!”
Keep an eye in the local paper about groups having meetings. Search social media for your interests. Make sure to include your location, such as “Ocean County” and “model trains,” for example. Look into the local college’s continuing education programs, or an art group’s upcoming classes. Mom and pop hobby stores will often have free classes or clubs, and there are always people excited to show you how to start. If you liked to sing, maybe the church needs another choir member.
Your hobby doesn’t even need to be shown to anyone. If you want to pick up that guitar again, grab some new strings and just bang around on it. No one ever has to hear it. You can make all the mistakes you want. It doesn’t matter.
The headline I used might be a bit over the top, but I don’t think I’m wrong. Hobbies can make you happy, and happiness is a lifesaver. Getting out and doing things, talking to people, is exercise for your body and your mind. It’ll save your life in a symbolic way; your life will be so much richer with a hobby. Don’t feel guilty about something that brings a smile to your face. You’re worth investing the time in it.