I was driving on Route 25 in Monroe, CT and was surprised to see the turtles out on the log so early in the season. That put me in a good mood and made me wish I had my camera. Then when at the UMC Monroe church, one of our congregants (Dotti) pointed out a large doe lying down in the back (we later found out nursing a slight injury in her hoof, but nothing too serious as she bound away later). Again I wished I had my camera. Photography has been something I have been interested in for a long time, but as of late, I really do enjoy getting out and taking pics in nature or around our area.
Then I drove by a local music store, and I remembered my guitar and keyboard bought in a time when I thought I would have enough time to learn how to play new instruments. I never got rid of them, because the DREAM is still there, but there they sit, unused.
Today this got me thinking about hobbies. As we get older, we have new needs. We need more ways to connect, more things that help us to learn, and more ways to make us “more complete.” Hobbies are a great way to do this, but we also have to be realistic - what hobbies are realistic as we get older. Sure, we could start to learn skydiving after 40, but usually that is something we might “try” but not engage with daily. We might take exotic trips, but again, not necessarily something we engage with outside of a point in time. But hobbies allow us a creative outlet that can be incorporated into our day to day lives and let’s think about some of the benefits of having a new hobby or cultivating a previous hobby as we age…
Brain health - challenging our brains is one things we need to do in order to keep that brain working the way it should.
Social isolation - want to meet people that won’t disappear when you retire from work? Make new friends who like things you like. Hobbies can also transcend generations so that you won’t necessarily age yourself out of a social group. Then as you connect, you have a great opportunity to pass on your wisdom to others (learn from others)
Personal fulfillment - I can’t tell you how good I feel when I am coloring with my daughters. I really ENJOY coloring again, and love how they react when I give them one of my “masterpieces.” The same can be said when you learn a new skill - you will feel proud of something that you make / or something that you give of yourself. Stress reduction is something else that can come from working on something you “want” to work on…
Physical dexterity - what happens if you live your life in sedentary ways behind computers 8 hours a day or more? Or what happens to your body if you only do certain sets of movements. The body can wear out, but if you bring in new hobbies you might see improvements in some of the muscles you don’t normally use. Taking up biking and watch how your body changes. Learn guitar? Watch how your fingers and coordination change. Reading? Watch how your eyesight might change. I think you get it…changing what we do in our bodies can improve how it functions.
Creative Problem Solving - I’m sure there is research out there that shows how our brains can change as we start learning new things. But any time I have started to learn something new, or as I start a new research project, it is amazing how my mind starts to think in new directions AND how I can apply previous learnings from other projects to a new engagement - getting exposure to new things can make you more creative in how you approach your life.
And these are just some of the things that I can name off the top of my head. So I plan to make sure I have my camera on me more often, but I will also look up local groups that might be refining their craft in photography as well. I still am looking forward to getting back to music (when I am 80 - if I can play a guitar I will always have something fun to do when I don’t know how to use the technology of the future - haha).
And here are some places to find some hobbies that you might want to check out…
-20 Productive Hobbies (like reading a book, painting a picture, learn a language, etc.): https://toggl.com/blog/productive-hobbies
-50 most popular hobbies (including online dating???): http://www.notsoboringlife.com/popular-hobbies/
-Healthy hobbies to improve your life: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/healthy-hobbies-that-will-improve-your-life_b_589a17c8e4b0985224db5ab6