display | more...

Am I the only one?

I read Cryptonomicon, and spent the next six months knee-deep in amateur cryptography. I spent a ton of money on books related to the subject, downloaded huge quantities of cryptographic algorithms, and even wrote my own (moderately okay) instant messaging encryption program.

Then, as suddenly as it had come on, the interest withered and died.

Next it was yo-yo's. About eight weeks, a couple of broken fingernails, four sets of strings, five yo-yo's, and two yo-yo trick books later, and I'm done again.

A short while ago, I started cartooning. I've got a concept, a character, some plot points, and a couple dozen sketches-- even two fairly complete strips. But I know that my interest will wane. It's inevitable.

I am cursed with a propensity for disposable hobbies. I hold season tickets to the Short Attention Span Theatre. I am obsessive about my compulsions. I am just like my father.

It is not unusual to fluctuate from hobby to hobby before finding one that is worthy of a lot of continued devotion.
At times one even returns to old hobbies that he has abandoned.

But first of all, one should remember what a hobby is: something supposed to be fun. It is not a punishment that some evil god imposed on us. It is not a way to look cool. It should not be a form of suffering, but rather something one looks forward to.
There is no obligation to excel in a hobby - otherwise you might as well be a pro, right ?

There is entertainment even in variety for variety's sake. And then there are circumstances. I like hiking in the mountains, at a certain point in my life I did it quite a bit. Circumstances today prevent me from hiking. Should I make it a holy objective, and crucify myself on the cross of inconvenience for the sake of consistence ? No. I do that enough at work.
I will simply wait for better circumstances.

Your sense of guilt is certainly cultural. Let me guess, you come from an Anglo-Saxon culture, right ?

I tend toward a different type of disposable hobby than Bantik's. I vaguely focus on a subject for a long period of time, sometimes years. My hobbies are disposable in the sense that I treat them as though they were worthy of being thrown out, rather than using them up and actually throwing them out. I don't explore things, even things that are interesting to me, in the depth they deserve. I'm only recently realizing that I've been living this way, but I think I've been doing it my whole life.

I decided sometime around the beginning of high school that I wanted to play the guitar. I took lessons during most of high school. I've earned some respect among my college buddies for my guitar skillz. However, my playing is sloppy. I've got talent, and I think that may be what let me get by without practicing all that much. Consequently, I can't recall the details of a lot of the things I was taught--scales, speed exercises, notation, chord voicings, etc. Since the guitar was my hobby I should also have paid more attention to all the types of guitar and what guitarists know about them. I can tell a Telecaster from a Strat from a Les Paul, but I couldn't tell you what makes their sounds different or how they're made or how to care for them besides changing the strings and not bashing things with them. I don't know what I should about the great guitarists. I was probably pursuing another disposable hobby when I should have been practicing.

That was a typical hobby for me. My approach to hobbies is an extension of how I approach life: passively. As a result, I'm not an expert or master at anything. It wastes a most of my potential, and believe me I've got a lot.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.