How I Lost My Hobbies

Woodworking tools

Kristie recently asked me a question that threw me for a loop: what are my hobbies?

It seems like an easy enough question. And at first, I gave the same answer you would give when you join some group and have to stand up and say something about yourself. You know: “I enjoy exercise, woodworking, long walks on the beach, etc.”

But if any of you know my wife, you know she has an amazing bull$%#t detector, and that answer didn’t fly. Mainly because I haven’t been spending a lot of time doing those things… and I think she was curious if I genuinely knew the answer.

And when I thought about it… I had to admit that haven’t been taking a lot of time for hobbies and that maybe, I didn’t have a legitimate answer to her question.

It started me thinking (which is a dangerous pastime, I know): why don’t I have any hobbies right now??

Again, I went to the standard answer: busy with work, busy with this site, busy with the boys, busy, busy, busy. I think most of you can relate to that answer. But this time, I couldn’t even fool myself because there is always time somewhere in the day. So I had to think of a different answer.

Eventually, after thinking about it, I have a real honest answer. And I want to share it with you for two reasons:

  1. If any of you are like me, maybe it will help
  2. If I say it to you, then I create accountability and now can change.

So here it goes: I have no hobbies because I’ve been treating too many things as obligations.


What does that mean?!

If you’ve followed these posts for a while, then you’ll know I am bad at procrastination. It’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life and have much found one way to get around it: deadlines.

The friend of any procrastinator is a deadline. It forces you to stop waiting around and get work done.

And I think I might have taken the process too much to heart and transformed too many things in my life into obligations. It kind of works, on a superficial level:

  • I HAVE to clean my car… so I actually clean it.
  • I HAVE to do laundry… so now I actually do it.
  • I HAVE to type a blog post… so now you read this long-winded personal post.

Again, it seems to work. But I think I’ve found part of the problem:

  • I HAVE to play with Luke… so I play with him.
  • I HAVE to ride bikes with Emmett… so I ride bikes.
  • I HAVE to go rock hounding with Kristie… and we go.
  • I HAVE to go to the gym… that one hasn’t worked yet.

If you look at those, I have transformed happy, fun events into obligations. I might accomplish them but it results in nobody being happy or having fun. And I also feel like I have no free time (because how can you have free time if you have so many obligations)?

I think I accidentally created a bad situation (I guess I HAVE to fix it!)



I don’t know the exact solution, but I think it involves removing the idea of HAVE TO/SHOULD and only using those words with things that are true, legitimate, HAVE TOs (like taxes and catching up on Sherlock on Netflix). Instead, it would be better to see things as I GET to do certain things:

  • I GET to play with Luke
  • I GET to ride bikes with Emmett
  • I GET to go rockhounding with Kristie

I think this is a good step, but there is also a problem I see with this:

  • I GET to do laundry… said no one ever

So I think this is a great first step but not a final solution.


Any Advice?

This is as far as I got. I hope that I can reduce my obligations and feelings of being burden (that is self-imposed) and then that will mentally free me to enjoy more time with my family and bring back hobbies (like woodworking, the gym, and explore some new ideas too). But I feel this is a work in progress and still isn’t the best answer yet.

So if anyone has advice, I’d love to hear about it. Drop me a line here or on Facebook and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • I wish I had an answer….on occasion I would whine to you in your USAFA clinic about how I had no time to work out…I liked to swim and lift weights. That seemed to evaporate with the birth of our second child. Some of my former hobbies included making beer and music. I’ve managed to hand onto music, but can’t seem to devote nearly the time. I fantasize about playing in public again, but not at my current level of play. As for the beer-making……it may happen….the time I spend with my kids is worth what I no longer do….for their sake as well as mine, I wish I could make the swimming happen….

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