Can Hobbies Enrich Your Personal and Professional Life?

I once asked a friend, who had retired from his decades-long career, what his hobbies were. He said he had no hobbies. I asked him how he spent his time. He said traveling to visit with grandchildren is the activity he always looks forward to. Travel is a hobby loved by people of all ages. Grandparenting doesn’t appear in lists of hobbies, but it is a serious endeavor and, in the broadest sense, spending time with grandchildren easily qualifies as a bona fide hobby.  Jill Savage, founder of Hearts at Home and author of 14 books, put it this way.

Grandparenting allows us a second chance to influence the life of a child. It’s an encore of sorts, where we become part of the supporting cast. A little bit of intentionality partnered with a realistic perspective can forge a special relationship between you and your grandchildren for years to come.[i]

Many people have one enjoyable hobby consuming much of their time.  For example, more than a few friends of mine consider golf to be their primary if not their only hobby. Most of them say the game frustrates them to no end but, nevertheless, they love it and spend an amazing amount of time at it. People engage in other similarly engaging hobbies such as gardening, reading, sewing, writing, and many more.

Hobbies, dozens of them, have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Some, such as various collector hobbies, disappeared due to lost interest. Still others, like aviation, electronics, home automation, and motorcycles have endured for decades and continue to hold my interest. I don’t rule out some new hobbies will emerge as technology continues to expand into new areas of our lives. Some may find my plethora of hobbies an attention disorder of some kind but, to me, they have enriched my personal and professional life for more than 70 years and continue to do so.

In addition to the pleasure and potential relaxation from a hobby, there can be an educational component which benefits a profession or another hobby. For example, as part of the motorcycling hobby, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, a national not-for-profit organization sponsored by the U.S. manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, offers a highly recommended course which covers the basics of operating a motorcycle and safety-oriented mental strategies. Learning to be defensive and always maintain situational awareness can make you a better and safer automobile driver, boat sailor, or airplane pilot.

Many of my hobbies have been centered on technology. It started with toys and blocks, which were much more than toys and blocks to me. They had practical purposes. The earliest I can recall building things was with Lincoln Logs, after which came Erector Sets. Both founding companies went into bankruptcy, but after multiple ownership changes, the products are still available. There were no Lego construction sets when I was a child. If there had been, I would surely have been an enthusiastic LEGO builder, which I am now. Chemistry sets, junior scientist kits, and ham radio piqued my interest. In my adult years, the trend continued with GPS, digital cameras, personal digital assistants, personal computers, home automation, 3-D printing, virtual reality goggles, airplanes, motorcycles, electric cars, and Pokémon. In the case of ham radio, it became dormant for me at 16 but then roared back to life at 75. When a new technology comes on the scene, it is likely to arouse my curiosity, and I want to be one of the first to get my hands on it. Some refer to people like me as “heat seekers”.

A seventh book, Hobby Attitude: How Hobbies Can Make Our Personal and Professional Lives Better is underway. In some ways, Hobby Attitude will be a general reference book about a range of hobbies. I hope the book poses some potential benefits for the personal and professional lives of the readers. I have taken a very personal approach to writing about hobbies. Hobby Attitude will be somewhat of an autobiography. I decided to take the personal approach based on my experience writing the six books in the It’s All About Attitude series. In each book I made reference to personal experiences whether it was about personal healthcare encounters or how I created my smart home. Feedback from readers has been consistent; they like personal examples and can relate to them. Although Hobby Attitude will not be a pure autobiography, it will include a high proportion of personal examples. It is the best way I can fully describe the passion which hobbies can present. I hope you will go on the journey with me and read about hobbies and how they have enriched my life. I hope you will enjoy reading Hobby Attitude and it will whet your appetite to learn more about hobbies and explore those of interest. Now I have to get busy and finish writing the book.

[i] Jill Savage, “A Grand Influence: How to Bond with Your Grandkids,”  Focus On The Family (2019), https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/a-grand-influence-how-to-bond-with-your-grandkids/