Opinion: Working at my hobbies


For many years, I have neglected my hobbies.  Sure, I like to read and work crossword puzzles, but these are not really hobbies. When my wife and I go on vacation we enjoy zip lining, parasailing and windsurfing, but there is just so much of that you can watch before it gets very tiring.

This year, I made a New Year’s resolution to learn some new skills. I made it in March, which is odd because one of my other resolutions was not to procrastinate anymore.  My goal was to have four new interests or activities that would fill the free time I now have since cutting back on my full-time job as a reporter.

I’m taking a class in boxing. This is a weird thing for me to do because in 72 years, I have never hit anyone and, as I told Aaron, my instructor, I have no plans to ever do that. The course is one hour each week and I am doing it with my son. I’m glad I waited until Brett was an adult to share this experience because no man wants to be decked by his 7-year-old kid.

In preparation for an upcoming trip to Peru, I downloaded an app called Duolingo to learn some conversational Spanish. This week’s lesson was to translate the following sentences (As Dave Barry used to say, “I am not making this up.”).

  • My cat does not want to shower with me.
  • I change my pants twice a year.
  • My grandfather likes to watch the young girls.

When we get to South America, I’m going to try to work these useful phrases into a conversation. Wish me luck.

I’m also taking a drawing class. I have no clue why because I have never shown any aptitude for art. My instructor keeps telling me that it’s not about talent, it’s about developing a skill. So, I used my developing skill to sketch our muscular male model. When I showed it to Mary Ellen, she said it was very good, and now she plans to attend classes with me.

I’ve taken up pickleball, which is kind of a combination of tennis, racquetball and pingpong, and is a terrible recreational choice for me because I stink at all of them. It’s played on a small portion of a tennis court, making the service area you must cover very manageable. This is great for older folks like me and the seniors I play with. In this game, the point system is a little tricky: None of the four players in my group can remember the score — which has to be announced before each serve — assuming we can remember whose serve it is. So, we all spend lot of time in friendly disagreement about who’s winning, reintroducing ourselves for the eighth time and discussing the latest time you can arrive at MCL to get the early bird special.

Well, I gotta go. I’m trying to decide whether to tax my mind or challenge myself physically with one of my new avocations. Maybe I’ll just chill out in front of my computer. I don’t want to keep my buddies waiting for me to take my turn in Words with Friends.


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