Picking Up a New Hobby

Picking Up a New Hobby

I’ve been trying to stay away from anything that is directly, do this while social distancing for Covid-19, but I ran across something interesting that I think has something that can be unpacked for more than just the upcoming weeks and months. It came about because of Twitter, basically the only useful thing on Twitter in the past week, about John Rhys Davies from the Lord of the Rings features. He was talking about how for a while he’d try and pick up a new hobby on each movie he worked on, or continue a previous hobby.

So, how does this pertain to us now, or if you break a leg or are stuck in a location for a while for some reason or another?

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For some people, it’s going to be great, they can pick up the million hobbies that have been sitting around waiting for them to have time to get to. But if you truly are stuck, or an extrovert, you need something beyond the normal to pick up because you’ll go stir crazy or you’ll pick up a bad habit. Again from John Rhys Davies, he commented how on some films, people hobbies would be, a drink in the evening, late morning, mimosa in the morning, day off, drink by the pool. And it’s easier to slip into those more destructive habits than it is to get into a new hobby.

We should be taking this opportunity to return to hobbies that we maybe can’t get to because of social obligations or to pick up a new hobby if your current hobbies are mainly social. For me, I thrive off of social interaction, and in person social interaction in particular. I have a solo gaming channel, and that helps me be able to play more board games and play them solo, but it still isn’t the same as playing with someone in person. I just like the option to talk too much. The channel gives some outlet for that, but not really enough. And currently, I just had two nights of gaming in a row, and three in a week have to be cancelled because of being responsible and social distancing. So I’m already, without having social distancing going on too long, hit the point where I’m wanting social interaction because my base level is gone already. This is something that maybe not a ton of nerds are going to have going on, but there’s also still going to be a number of us out there that will struggle. Kristen put it well, as she’s an introvert, social distancing for an extrovert is like her having to interact with 50 people face to face every day, not just a passing “Hi” but having to spend a moment in conversation and actually interact with them.

Image Credit: DrawFour Designs

But that’s a little bit of a tangent, but kind of sets the base for why I’m talking about picking up new hobbies. While a hobby isn’t going to solve the lack of social interaction, it can certainly help abate it as you can focus in on something new or something challenging. There are a number of things to consider when picking up a new hobby that I’m going to give a run down of quickly.

How Do I Pick?
Yeah, there are a lot of hobbies out there, even removing the ones that can be done in a group, the recommendation is pick up something that’s adjacent to a hobby that you already have. For example, picking up solo gaming a while back for me was an extension of the board gaming hobby. Board gaming was kind of an extension of RPG’s. Now, I’m picking up painting minis because that’s an extension of both board gaming and RPG’s. If you love knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching, and haven’t done your own patterns, do them. If you love cooking, try and create recipes. If you love video games, start learning some coding.

How Much Do You Jump In?
There’s part of me that wants to jump into any hobby feet first, but I don’t think that’s responsible. Using the John Rhys Davies idea, it was a hobby for filming a movie. Or with social distancing or a broken leg, it’s a limited amount of time. So, when things get back to normal you might find that you don’t have enough time to really devote to that hobby still, so is it worth it to invest heavily into something that you won’t keep up long term? I’d argue that it doesn’t make a ton of sense. For painting minis, what I’m going to start doing, I bought a kit that has paints and a few other tools for it, and a cheap game with a bunch of minis, so that I can practice on something I care less about. Will that be all I get for it, who knows, but it was a fairly cheap start. I didn’t go out and buy five brushes and twenty paints and a massive minis game, plus other things like a light with a magnifying glass on it to see the finer details. That can come later if I find that I have time and that I do love it.

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What If You Don’t Love It?
That’s what the first two things are for. But it’s very possible that you won’t love it. Or you won’t even like it, but that’s why you don’t invest too much into it. That’s why you pick something that if you don’t continue it, you won’t feel bad about not continuing it. Not every hobby is for everyone, I might find out that I don’t like painting minis, but now I know without investing too much money into it. And I’ll still have the game I got for it, so the only money I’d really be out is for paints. But if I love it, I have tons of games that I can paint. If not, I can probably find someone to pass on the paints to.

So, while you’re social distancing, or in the future, while you’re stuck at home, what hobbies could you pick up or pick back up? Is there something that you’ve been meaning to try that you haven’t gotten around to? Is this the time to try it? Let me know your ideas in the comments below.

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