Anyone who has listened to a few episodes of the podcast knows that I can go ad nauseum about my hobbies. I do go over it briefly in defense of it during the episodes, but I thought it might be prudent to actually lay out some of the main reasons I feel so strongly about this. Let’s get right into it.
1. They’re Fun and Rewarding
If you ever thought about picking up a hobby, this is most likely the first reason why. People find hobbies fun because they pique a certain interest that each person has. Or, they fulfill a need that the person has that may be unique to them. Any task or endgame that this hobby has becomes the reward in and of itself. Why wouldn’t you want to do something fun and rewarding?
2. Knowledge Acquisition
Let’s be clear, your hobbies do not necessarily have to define you. However, many hobbies build up certain skills that are useful in both professional and personal settings. These skills can either involve knowledge, motor functions, or executive functions. What do I mean by that? Let’s look at an example.
Here is one of my oldest hobbies: cars. I love everything about them. They don’t need to be racecars, supercars, or rare vintage. I like all cars, regardless of make or country of origin. This opens me up to learn everything about them. This is the knowledge part. I can have a conversation with anyone about any make or model of a car. Obviously, I know more about some models than others, but I can at least go toe to toe in conversation with anyone about cars. This allows me to build a relationship with anyone who shares this enthusiasm.
This applies to anything. I’m sure it does not take that much imagination to see how a conversation can be driven through common passion or common competency. The more hobbies and knowledge you have, the easier it will be to connect with anyone that you talk to, whether it be romantically or friendly.
3. Skill Acquisitions
Following along the same example of cars, I also like working on them and modifying them. If I know the mechanics of the car, I can most likely work on it to repair or modify it. Working on a car is not only cathartic, but also enhances my motor functions since I’m doing something physical to access certain parts or do dis/re/assembly. Lastly, both working on and driving the car help with executive functions. With working on the car, you’re constantly working on time management and order of operations. It constantly works out your problem solving ability in the process. Driving the car, whether on a track or in a canyon, forces you to make quick decisions and adjustments. I would say that all of the skills attained in this process help to make you a better person.
If the skills gained are sufficient for a career change, you have that option. This is what happened to me. I was afforded to work at an automotive aftermarket company for 2 years after being in aviation for 3. The benefits from this single hobby have been both professionally and personally rewarding.
4. Making new friends or keeping in touch with friends
Once you’re done with the whole college thing and your time in the party scene is just about up, it becomes fairly difficult to meet new friends or keep in touch with the ones you have. As someone in my 30s, most of my friends are well on their way in both their careers or family building. I’m no exception. Not everyone has time to just hang out and get boba like the good ol’ days. Aside from through work, you rarely meet new people that you actually spend time with. This is where common hobbies come in. It’s a lot easier to prioritize outings that have interesting activities involved. Here are a few examples from my personal life.
I have friends that I keep in touch with through guns. There is material benefit to going to the range together as we improve our marksmanship. Depending on the group and the range, we can even run drills together to better protect our families should the emergency present itself.
I have friends that I keep in touch with through cars. Going to the car meet is just an opportunity to hang out and update each other on our lives. We eat together and enjoy each other’s company while discussing cars. This also expands my network for parts and services.
I have friends that I keep in touch with through board and card games. These 2 individuals in particular have been away from home for a while, 1 for grad school in Asia and 1 for military service. This common hobby just a great way to gather together, catch up, and have fun while they both adjust back to everyday civilian life here in the States.
In each of these hobbies, I get to meet more people. In these environments, you know that you share at least 1 thing in common with them, which makes befriending them much easier than a random person at a your friend’s kid’s birthday party or something like that.
5. Gives you something to do with/without your partner
Sometimes you just need some time apart, but you don’t have to go to the extremes of geographically separating yourselves apart. Focusing on a hobby, even at home, can still offer the benefits of spending time away from your partner. Good examples of this are video games, model building, RCs, art, reading, and playing/making music.
Let’s talk about why this is important. Time apart allows you to take a mental break from the relationship. It allows you to recenter yourself so that you can go back into relationship-mode refreshed and reminded why you’re in it in the first place. It also has the benefit of making you miss your partner. It’s kinda hard to miss someone who’s always there. Missing your partner is important because the mere realization is enough. You don’t miss something or someone that you don’t care about.
The things I mentioned are often seen as solitary activities, but they don’t have to be. I would say that most hobbies can be shared. Even with art and music, you can dedicate your work to your partner for them to enjoy. The point is that hobbies don’t have to be solitary, they can be converted into couples activities whenever both parties want.
So there you have it. These are some of the reasons why I think it’s important to have hobbies. You have anything that you’d like to add, comment below! Or, feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.