Sunday 12 February 2023



Over the years I've had countless conversations with people who almost mockingly ask about my hobbies. And I'm not just talking about strangers - friends and family can be guilty of it too. Obviously, these negative people have no hobbies themselves!

I used to try and justify why I had hobbies, but in more recent years I just stopped trying and I'd change the conversation away from me and my apparently "strange and anti-social ways".

I must admit I do have a lot of hobbies - perhaps more than most...

    (Plastic - aircraft, cars and bikes)
    (Wood - boats and ships)
    (Riding - Sports & Touring)
    (Rebuilding Classics)
    (Watercolour, Oil, Acrylics)
    (Digital Painting)
    (Formerly Film, now Digital)
     (Using & Building)

    (General Interest)
    (Flight Simulation)

    (Operating QRP Outdoors)
    (HF, VHF, UHF)
    (C4FM, DSTAR, DMR)
    (Analogue & Digital)
    (Electronic Kit Building)
  8. ShortWave Listening
    (Aviation, DX Broadcast, etc)
  9. READING, WALKING, MUSIC and more that have fell by the wayside.

Well, as you can see, I keep myself pretty busy with one thing or another. I do my best not to become obsessive about one particular hobby and regularly move from one to the other (although that doesn't always work). Because amateur radio has so many facets to it and is ever-changing, I probably spend most of my leisure time messing with radio one way or another.

Anyway, back to the reason WHY?

I have never quite understood why hobbies have attracted me so greatly. When most other people get some leisure time, they sit back, watch a bit of TV or go to the pub and have a drink or go out dining with friends.

I just can't do that! All my adult life I've had this "feeling" that time is running out and I should be doing something  worthwhile - something constructive - something creative. Making something! Making something happen!

Is that odd? I really don't know. Maybe it's because my father died when he was just 27 years old. I used to worry about reaching that age and following suit, lol. And then when I had my first child, he too died young (15) so that probably reinforced the idea that I need to crack on with something. Of course having a terminally ill child means that you spend those years meeting other families with terminally ill children.

As I've got older and "climbed the ladder" at work, I've been under more and more stress. I am now the Operations Director at a small company and that basically means that I'm responsible for everything! I have to succeed in every task - which is not always possible - or it takes much longer than you'd like due to having to learn new skills. The pressure can be intense and there are often failures before success comes along!

And this is where I discovered the answer to the question "Why do I have so many hobbies"?

Success! Hobbies can provide success. As daft as it sounds, that only dawned on me a couple of weeks ago. I'd had a particularly stressful week at work and was feeling drained by the end of it. Over the weekend I decided to build a V-POLE using a couple of cheap telescopic whips I'd purchased from China.

The antenna experiment went really well and worked much better than I had anticipated. I was feeling elated and my spirits were lifted!

Almost without you realising, these small successes can provide much needed healing and can counter the damaging effects of stress. Sure, some of my hobbies drive me around the bend with their complexity, but unlike work, they're voluntary and I can always walk away or seek help from smarter people.

So now, when someone asks me about my 'geeky hobbies', I have an answer that makes them realise that they're missing out.

Enjoy your hobbies - they're good for you!

73, Tom, M7MCQ.


VE9KK said...

Good morning Tom, thanks very much for sharing. I lost my dad when I was 3 years old and my mom when I was 26. Both taken to early. She was 54 and I did as you did and hoped I would make it past 54! I have done that and some. My condolences on your child taken way to early.
You dealt with the hobby question like a pro and I am just like you with regards to finding joy, relief and enrichment from hobbies. Thanks for sharing and have a good upcoming week.

MadDogMcQ said...

Thanks so much Mike.

73, Tom, M7MCQ.

PE4BAS, Bas said...

Hello Tom, like Mike wrote, thanks for sharing. The hobby reason is the same for me. It helped me a lot in times of stress. Besides that, it was this radio hobby that made me taking interest in electronics and technical things. I would never have the job I have now and am happy with it. 73, Bas

MadDogMcQ said...

Thanks very much for the visit Bas.

73, Tom, M7MCQ.