In my 50+ years I’ve had a range of interests. Some fleeting, some have remained for years, some have come and gone. It used to disturb me a little - why couldn’t I be interested in something and stick with it? Why would my interest wax and wane? These days I don’t worry about it - I just go with the flow and follow what interests me.
A number of years ago I came across two descriptions for people like me: “power hobbyist”, and “a collector of hobbies”. I really like both descriptions - I have a collection of hobbies (even though I hate the word “hobby”) and I would call myself a power hobbyist.
I have observed some patterns to my hobby-collecting over the years:
- Something will get my attention. This may be a passing reference to an activity in a book or on TV.
- I’ll find and sign up to a forum or two about the subject (or mailing list in days gone by).
- I’ll usually buy a book or two about it (after researching which are regarded as the best books or authors on the aforementioned forum or mailing list).
- I’ll acquire some basic gear to participate in my new-found hobby. This can be as cheap as a few bucks, or as expensive as hundreds!
- When involved in a hobby I will usually seek to classify/categorise/systematise what I know through some spreadsheet/database/recording system.
- I’ll acquire some reasonable level of proficiency in the hobby or interest. (Well, usually, but not always).
- I’ll keep doing it until my interest wanes. At this point I no longer fight it nor try to remain interested when my attention has clearly moved on.
- Usually I’ll come back to a topic or hobby at a future time (so little is wasted).
Over 40+ of my 50+ years my interests have included, but not been limited to:
- simple/sustainable living
- fountain pens
Some of these were purely for enjoyment, others were for more pragmatic or practical reasons, and some clearly led to others. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.
In the majority of those areas I did acquire some reasonable level of skill and ability. The exceptions are painting, beekeeping, woodworking, cycling and playing the harmonica (obviously not all at the same time - though that could explain part of the problem).
Another pattern or feature I have noticed is that I enjoy learning new things - acquiring knowledge. The same hase generally been the case for my employment - the most satisfaction I get is in learning the new job, not in the doing of the job.
What’s next on the hobby horizon? I don’t know, nor will I know until I arrive.