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My wife and I have a saying: “Every night is Saturday night, but every morning is Monday morning.” We both work seven days a week, so taking a few hours off at night to link up and down a couple of pints is a necessary component to our days. We chew the fat and chat like schoolgirls for a few hours. If I go out, I am away from work distractions and that temptation to keep working until bed time. Additionally, being out among others is healthy. We are social creatures. That’s not saying that I am going out to make friends. Absolutely not. I do enjoy chatting with locals so long is it isn’t about guns. Guns and gun-related actions are my full-time job. The last thing I want to do when I’ve got downtime is talk guns.

Several years ago, my wife dictated that I should take one day off a week. I established that this day would be on Wednesday. I travel most weekends and have piles of admin and trip prepping work during the week. The concept of a day off eludes me because I work for myself. When you work for yourself, you are scared shitless most of the time. You find that you have no disposable time. Life happens. Work consumes you.

My List of Hobbies

I am hobby heavy but have very little of that thing called “time” to be good at any of them, so I’ve had to streamline my interests and prioritize. Some of these interests include tinkering with my 1965 Pontiac GTO, fishing, golf, wood working, art (pen and ink pointillism), photography, bird watching, motocross, cooking, playing guitar and drums, and calligraphy. Most of these I can get to quickly without consuming a lot of time, and that includes golf. I am the first one out, by myself, hitting straight, in a cart. It takes me an hour and 40 minutes to bang out 18 holes. But as I said, I am not great at any of these things. They are just hobbies.

Additionally, most of these interests are “right-brain” activities. The right hemisphere of your brain is considered to be your creative center. Activities such as music, art and using your imagination are generally thought of as right-brain activities. You can stimulate your creativity and imagination and maximize your productivity through specific right-brain-focused exercises.

Why You Need Hobbies

It’s necessary for brain development and brain stimulation to take some time off to rejuvenate and recharge. I’m not talking about sitting on your ass binge-watching Netflix series and movies with a bag of Doritos perched on your lap. I’m talking about making productive use of your valuable time away from the grind, chores, bills and even family. Make some time for you every once in a while.

Hobbies are often thought of as activities for people who lead quiet, relaxed lives. However, people with full, busy, even stressful lives may need a list of hobbies more than the average person, and benefit greatly from having hobbies in their lives. Hobbies bring many benefits that usually make them more than worth the time they require. They provide a slice of work- and responsibility-free time in your schedule. This can be especially welcome for people who feel overwhelmed by all that they have to do and need to recharge their batteries by doing something that they enjoy.

For those who feel overwhelmed by responsibility, it may be difficult to find the time or give themselves permission to take a break from a busy schedule and just sit and relax. Having a list of hobbies and engaging in them, however, can provide a break with a purpose, which can help people feel that they’re not just sitting around but are using their downtime for something productive. Either way, hobbies provide a nice break during a busy week.

Day Rundown

Before my last “day off,” I mapped out a strategy. The day started at 0730 on the first hole at my local golf club. Nobody in front of me, nobody behind me. And I shot a solid bogey round. The only thing that I am thinking about when I play golf is playing golf. Nothing else.

I was back at home by 0930. I plugged in and ripped some riffs on my Reverend Volcano guitar at level 11 for about an hour. When I am ripping riffs, I am a fucking rock star … in my mind. I then switched to drums for an hour and tried to learn a few new basic beats. I then shifted gears and worked on a drawing in progress for about two hours. The finished product — two golden eagles — rocks by the way.

Halfway through my day, I decided to do some gardening. (Yes, I’ve got a bunch of “sissy” hobbies.) The gardens we have are twofold: Aesthetics and sustenance. Growing shit out of the ground and eating it is extremely fulfilling. I then puttered with my GTO and installed a new wood veneer gauge backer that I had previously ordered. And let me just say that this ride is sweet! I took a quick drive to gas it up.

At the time, I lived directly on a small “honey hole” lake and had a pontoon boat at water’s edge, so I ripped some lips for about an hour. I then did something profound: I sat on my ass and read an actual book for two hours. And I had meal-prepped the day before to ensure that eating would not interfere with my day off. I did not work out, clean my guns, make a new holster, do any chores, answer emails, spend time goofing around with social media or watch TV.

I culminated this particular day by meeting my bride, Rebecca, when she got off work at our local pub, and we shot pool for a few hours and smashed a few IPAs. (My wife handed my ass to me, by the way. She’s good.)

Making Time for Your List of Hobbies

By day’s end, I was fulfilled and rejuvenated. It was productive and satisfying. That was three years ago, and I haven’t done it since. I will still make time for me a few hours a week, but finding that entire day on my calendar to do whatever the hell I want is a tall order.

Time off for me, as for many of you, is a precious commodity. Chores need to be done because they are always building up. Those last-minute work-related particulars always sneak up on you. Kiddies need and need some more. Shit needs fixing, bills need to be paid, texts pop up, neighbors need assistance, wifey has honey-dos, on and on.

Map it out. Plug in a date on your calendar, even if it’s months from now, and set time for yourself to work the creative side of your brain. People without hobbies tend to be boring, and being boring isn’t a healthy way to lead our short lives.

This article is from the February/March 2019 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Get physical copies and digital subscriptions at OutdoorGroupStore.com.

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