We are firmly entrenched in winter here in the Midwest. That means lots of time indoors.
As much as I’ve enjoyed learning to hunt and as much as I enjoy learning more about being an outdoorsman, when the temperature drops below freezing I am done. I’ll walk to the garage to start the car in the morning, but beyond that I am staying in.
I’m sitting in my living room, looking at a desk and bookshelf over in the corner and I’m developing an itch. They have been sitting neglected for the better part of a year, but they are calling to me now. It’s been too long. We need to get re-acquainted.
Four years ago, I discovered the wonderful hobby of stamp collecting. There was a box in the back of a storage closet that had belonged to my wife’s grandfather. It had been described as “stamp stuff” and had sat untouched since she was in grade school.
One day, while watching Pawn Stars, I got a sudden urge to find out what was in that box. What I discovered blew me away.
Seven binders full of stamps from all over the world, meticulously cataloged and sorted by country. I had no idea what I was looking at. The collection came with a set of catalogs which helped me understand how the collection was put together. During the next two weeks, I spent every free minute with my nose in these books. I joined a online forum and very quickly realized there was more to learn than I could ever fit into my lifetime.
Okay, why the hell am I telling you this story?
One of the often overlooked aspects of being a kick ass awesome man is having a hobby.
Okay, before we go any further, no matter what Scarlett Johansson says, watching porn is not a hobby.
There are numerous benefits to engaging in a hobby;
First is the enjoyment factor. Life is stressful enough. Devoting time to something that brings you satisfaction provides a much needed distraction to the hustle and bustle of life.
Why does every sentence sound like I’m talking about porn?
Second is the process of learning. There is value in knowledge. It doesn’t always have to be useful, like learning how to build a campfire from steel wool, a flint rock, and a fart. There isn’t a single part of stamp collecting that translates over into the rest of my world and yet I find great joy in the process of learning even the most minute details of this hobby.
Third is the relational aspect. Granted, there aren’t many stamp collectors in my area, but the internet allows me to meet and converse with other collectors from all over the world. Developing my outdoor skills helps to build my friendship with my deer camp buddies.
If you are not a natural extrovert, getting involved in a hobby can be a great way to make friends and get yourself involved in an activity where you feel comfortable participating.
Fourth, it’s a great way to meet women.
Wait, I’m a stamp collector. Scratch that.
Fifth is the small possibility that your hobbies can be profitable. Depending on what sparks your interest, you can potentially develop your skills to the point that you become marketable. That probably shouldn’t be your primary motivation, but don’t overlook it.
I’ve enjoyed selling stamps as much as I enjoy collecting them. Learning the complicated details of what makes some valuable and others worthless is a fun and challenging process.
Sixth and most importantly, it gives you someplace to go when your wife starts to sound like Charlie Brown’s school teacher after you’ve been cooped up together all winter.
Just kidding baby. My wife knows the Charlie Brown teacher voice is my secret fetish.
But seriously, finding time for yourself is a necessary part of your relationship. Both husbands and wives need to maintain some autonomy in your life or you risk becoming enmeshed.
The Art of Manliness has an excellent write up on 45 manly hobbies to consider.
The New York Times has a nice nerdy article about hobbies and heightened states of concentration and flow states or something. Basically, it says hobbies make you smarter and helps you perform better at work.
An important part of being Big Dick is being good at stuff. If not to impress your wife, then for your own satisfaction. Start you new year off right by finding a hobby. Or perhaps you want to jump back in to an old one. I wish you the best of luck.
By the way ladies, I am still taking applications for being my stalker. I mean, if you are looking for a hobby and just can’t think of anything. No pressure.