I’m sure there’s a better definition, but I consider a hobby something you enjoy doing when you’re not at work and something you can enjoy by yourself. A hobby is also something you want to do, not something you have to do or obligated to do. Of course, if you really get your kicks out of washing the dishes, then so be it. Nonetheless, I think it’s very important to have hobbies, preferably more than one. I’m guessing if someone asked you what your hobbies are, you’d ramble off maybe one or two things – the big things – but I’m guessing you probably have more hobbies than you think. This year, I hope to pick up a few new little hobbies and continue to work on hobbies I’ve left behind or just don’t do much anymore.
I play video games a lot, and sure, that’s a hobby but I’m not including that because it’s too easy and frankly, sometimes just feels like a bodily function – it just happens. Computers are also no longer a hobby. They were at one point in my life, but since then I’ve turned computers into my job and thus it is disqualified from being a hobby. A hobby cannot be the same thing as you job, it’s just not possible. It throws off the balance and purpose of a hobby.
A new spin for old cars
One hobby I’ve pursued for several years now is collecting Hot Wheels. This is all fine and dandy but is relegated to pretty much just buying something off the shelf. Overall, a pretty mundane event. I took it a step further a bit last year as I started to build up a derby track for racing Hot Wheels. Not only is the track and racing something I really want to push through this year (once the weather improves), I’ve started to dive more into customizing Hot Wheels. Sound dumb? Sure, but think of as just building a model like you did when you were a kid, just much, much smaller.
I’ve taken to painting the cars, and this time it’s way beyond just slapping on a coat of paint as I did when I was a kid. No, this time it’s all about taking the car apart, stripping off the factory paint, grinding, sanding, repainting, and so on until you get a new car. As is the trend for my new short list of hobbies, it’s all manual work. Even if the result is rather unexciting, the act of taking the cars apart with tools, painting, etc. is a lot of fun – and a lot cheaper than dealing with real cars. Believe me, a single can of paint goes a long way when your car is smaller than a dollar bill. My first two tries at customizing turned out pretty well. One was inspired from the “Ricky Bobby” movie, and the other from one of my TV favorites, the A-Team. The nice thing about this hobby is it’s relatively quick. You can dismantle, strip, and paint a car in an afternoon, so it’s the perfect weekend project when you’re bored of everything else, and you can back to it between chores.
I’ve discovered Perler beads
Another totally new hobby I’m dipping my toes into is Perler beads. You know, those little round pieces of plastic you put on a grid and then iron over to make them stick together. I didn’t know they had a name either, so don’t feel bad. Lucky, Jenny “got paid to do Perler beads for eight years,” so she was an old pro and got me a huge bucket for Christmas. Perler beads are wonderful, easy, and cheap. I stumbled across a site recently where people share their video game inspired Perler bead projects, or bead sprites. Being the consummate 8-bit gamer that I am, I had to try it. The Perler beads are perfect pixel replacements and the 8- and 16-bit graphics mean you’ll only be dealing with a few colors. The few examples I found had me sold and I quickly made my first bead sprite – Mega Man! I can see Perler beads being a small addiction that will yield many coasters and magnets. But hey, at least they’re cheap.
I think I pledge every year to do a painting, but this year I found some obscure motivation. I was watching the The Black Hole recently and noticed a painting in the background I had never noticed before. It’s a sci-fi painting of the spaceship from the film. The prop is no doubt a production drawing but it looked great as a painting and it was enough to plan to get out my paints again. I also think I’m going to dabble in origami. Paper folding is always fun and I’m dying to relearn how to make the little frog I was able to make blindfolded in 3rd grade.
In an age where most entertainment and hobbies put in front of the TV or the computer, it’s great to be able to do things that are “low-fi” that can really entertain you. Not to mention, you can see some sort of result when you’re done. Video games are great but in the end you just have bragging rights. With any luck and persistence, these few new hobbies will result in something I can hold, touch, and show off with a smile. I also am looking forward to the fact that these hobbies are very light weight and don’t require a great amount of investment, either in time or money.