Life Outside My Cube

My life, a work in progress.

Riding the Hobby Horse

I was discussing the idea of hobbies last night with friends. We were from a variety of ages and backgrounds, so it was a lively time. We came to a couple conclusions. Always start with a definition. There exist many, but here is mine:

Hobbies are activities you enjoy outside of your regular responsibilities, on which you spend consistent significant time and money, in which you become proficient, and about which you become a perceived expert.

This would exclude ordinary enjoyable activities that might take time and money but probably not significant time, like going out to eat or watching movies (I’m sure there are exceptions). And how does one become a “proficient” television watcher? About sports – if you pursue them to the point at which you are considered an expert, perhaps they would be considered a hobby. But not for the majority of us.

This definition normally points one toward craft-type activities (e.g. woodworking, handwork, “hobby farming” or making maple syrup) or discovery-based activities (e.g. bird watching, reading about architecture, or spelunking). For these examples, the last clause in my definition seems to help me distinguish between an enjoyable activity and a hobby. I can readily imagine someone as an expert resource for theoretical and practical information about caving or fly fishing, but not about going to amusement parks.

So with that definition, I wanted to evaluate whether hobby horses are worthwhile riding, how much, and why. I’ll let on what we came up with in the next post.

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