Simplify your hobbies

     A few years back, I was helping one of my aunts and her family move in to their new house. One of the largest tasks in this process was unloading all of the husband’s tools for his hobby, which is wood working. This involved quite a bit of large, heavy machinery which we, to our surprise, successfully fit tightly in their garage by the end of the afternoon. During the arduous process of getting all of these machines out of the truck, my uncle leaned over to me and said “word of advice; get a light hobby.” I chuckled and we moved on to the next piece.

     Then and now, his spontaneous comment has stuck with me as one which rings true for many reasons in my life. Our hobbies are something chosen purely by ourselves; a decision of our making as to what sort of activities we wish to fill our unspoken for time with. Our hobbies can fill purposes in our personal lives such as stress relief, fulfilling curiosities, and pushing us to engage socially. They can act as a meditative activity after work. They can be the reason we look forward to the weekend with friends coming up.

     I have recently had the opportunity to retry an old hobby which I haven’t done in many years. This was a return to a table-top role playing game which requires a circle of long standing and committed players. It used to be one of my favorite hobbies, yet after a few moves, I lost the social links needed to continue it. Instead, I have found a replacement for it in a trading card game, which I have also been enjoying.

     As soon as I tried my hand at my old hobby, it became clear to me just how much I missed it. I used to get a huge amount of enjoyment out of the social interactions surrounding it, as well as practicing, and working to develop my own abilities. One of the best aspects I have only found in RPGs is the level of enjoyment I find for the same, low, financial commitment. In comparison to the trading card game, where cards can range from 10 cents to thousands of dollars each, the return to RPGs was astounding. To purchase the updated manuals, I spent the same amount of money as I would usually spend on my card game in a single month. And now with the new texts purchased, I can easily withhold from spending more money for a year or more on this hobby.

     Beyond the few hardcover books for the RPG, I own a small bag of accessories, a few sheets of paper, and a notepad.  Add a group of friends and I have an activity which has been a blast every weekend for the past few months. These items in their entirety can fit within my backpack with space to spare. They don’t take up a shed or a garage or even a full shelf on our bookcase. In fact, my collection for the trading card game takes up many times the amount of space compared to the RPG, and mine is a below average size collection for the card game. The entirety of my card collection and accessories for it takes up a small storage ottoman in our living room.

     Over the years, I have tried my hand at many hobbies. From various games to wood carving, watercolor painting to musical instruments. There always comes a question in my mind about how much physical stuff and clutter a hobby involves in relation to the enjoyment I find in pursuing it. The more this ratio skews towards enjoyment and less in the realm of materials and the maintenance of them, the happier I am with my pursuit of the hobby. RPGs, for me, have been a great example of my preferences in a hobby. What are your preferences in your hobbies? What hobbies have you tried and which have you found worthwhile continuing?

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