Thursday, 26 March 2009


About a year ago, I was sitting at home watching something of no consequence on television when a friend rang me out of the blue. I say out of the blue because, although we had been friends for a couple of years, I don't think I had ever had a chat on the phone with her. The fact that she was a little bored and just fancied a natter with someone she hadn't seen for a while was beside the point - we had progressed. And ultimately the call had value for me.

In the course of the conversation she asked me what I did for hobbies. I paused. Well, I go to the gym. Mmm, that's a start but she didn't see it as something someone did as a passion, as such. More a health angle. I didn't 100% agree with the assumption but accepted it enough in my case as I've often just been a functional gym person. Get in, get out. Okay, what else? I like to hang out with people. Again, that didn't do much for her - "we all do that", was the sense of her response. I paused again. Somehow I'd managed to fill my non-working waking ours with "stuff". A 30-something year-old man with no dependents, not too onerous work hours and a degree of disposable income, and the best that I could finally offer up was "I watch a bit of television"...

It's not a judgement call on how people use their spare time and I was never going to be the wakeboarding, sailing, hiking individual that this friend of mine was. But in my head I'd always thought of myself as a hobby kind of guy. There are lots of things I reckon I'd be good at and would enjoy. Then I realised that it had often taken me so long to initiate with gusto any of my grand plans that I had been too often left floundering directionless at the start line. Anyway, that conversation gnawed away in my subconscious for a few months until I fell upon a flyer for a kung fu class. Trying out kung fu had been on my mind for a good 3-4 years prior and it became very clear that it was an "if not now, when?" moment. Fast forward to now, and I'm still doing the classes 2-3 times a week. I'll talk about the kung fu itself at another juncture as it has given me some interesting insights. But at least now I can walk a bit more of my wishlist talk. I do believe I can properly call it a hobby.

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