The Serial Hobbyist
For the first 10 years of my career, I had the good fortune of aligning my need for change with the type of work I did.

As a military brat, I’m used to moving around a lot, which can be problematic if that spills over into the work environment.  Unless you get into project management, which I did.  There was always something new around every corner, and it played right into my need for constant change.

Or at least, that’s what I thought.  When I joined my current company and started managing systems development projects, I quickly found myself on multi-year initiatives, where my next “accomplishment” might be months or years out.

Short-Term Accomplishments

Having such long stretches between goals was problematic for me and my teams.  I would encourage my team members, when they expressed frustration or dismay at the long road ahead, to get into a hobby.  Something that would give them an immediate sense of satisfaction for a job well done.

I quickly followed my own advice.  I was a newlywed at the time, so I suddenly had a lot more people to consider during the holidays.  A perfect excuse to develop a new hobby every year…playing into my regular need for change.

 

The Hobbies

First it was scrapbooking, then knitting, jewelry making, sewing and baking to name a few.  When my son came home, it was all about photography and then writing to capture our adventures so he could read about them later in life.

There’s pretty much nothing I won’t try.  Our new house has proven to be a great opportunity to work on a skill passed through the generations in my family – furniture making.

All in the Family

Yep, you heard me right.  My great-great-grandfather, and all of the sons after him through to my father, have mastered wood-working and furniture making.  When I was younger, my father taught me about power tools and let me help him with all sorts of home improvement projects.

Years later, I find myself shocking everyone around me with my new hobby.  And, oddly enough, inspiring several women I know who have wanted to build something, but didn’t get the oomph they needed until they saw another woman picking up a power drill.

In the last few months, I have built chaise loungers and a table for our patio, a platform/storage bed for our room, and a built-in for our entryway to address all the coats, hats and bags that tend to accumulate.  The to-do list is not endless, but still has plenty on it.  And that’s before the requests started coming in!

 

Balancing Change and Stability

I still tend to shake things up a bit at work and home – whether it’s intentional or not.  I’m known as being open to change, so when new projects or organizations are launched, I’ve been fortunate to have frequent opportunities to build new skills and teams.

I have also stayed on multi-year projects from idea to inception or in the same house for years on end.  How?  As a serial hobbyist, I have been able to feel a sense of accomplishment in minutes or hours, making months and years fly by instead of drag on.  I have fed the need for change, with a sense of stability that is more necessary as a wife and parent than when it was just me.

 

Shake it Up

If you look out on the horizon and see the same day ahead as far as the eye can see, maybe a hobby can inject energy and change into your environment.  Hobby not cutting it?  Why limit yourself to just one?  Maybe try something new.

I recently connected with some work colleagues about hobbies and was pleasantly surprised to find there are many serial hobbyists out there!  The variety was endless, but the theme was the same…the need to try something new.

 

I love the feeling of hanging my coat up, resting my head, or sitting outside, knowing that I’m using something I built myself.  This hobby won’t last forever – we will run out of room at some point – but for now, it’s both practical and therapeutic.  And having the men in my life admire my handiwork?  I have to admit…it’s priceless.

 

Do you have a hobby that helps balance your work and life?  I’d love if you would share your thoughts in the comments and keep the conversation going.