What is a Hobby?
A hobby is “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation,” according to Merriam-Webster.
In non-dictionary terms, a hobby is anything you spend time on that’s not related to work or keeping you alive (eating, sleeping etc.). Hobbies can be active like fishing or passive like reading books in a Pride power lift recliner.
January is National Hobby Month. While most use the month to call attention to all hobbies, the origins actually lie in a specific part of the hobby world: the hobby shop. The National Retail Hobby Stores Association, along with the Hobby Manufacturers Association and the Game Manufacturers Association, tighten their definition of a hobby to recreational activities supported by hobby stores.
While the month might have been invented by people trying to sell merchandise, a good hobby doesn’t have to be expensive. Though most require some kind of initial investment.
The NRHSA breaks hobbies into six categories — model railroading, plastic model building, radio control, model rocketry, gaming, and crafts and science. The hobby store hobbies offer a nice mix of indoor and outdoor activities. They are on a spectrum of manual dexterity, but require minimal physical exertion. We picked out three hobby store hobbies that might pique your interest.
- Model Railroading — People who participate in model railroading create miniature worlds in painstaking detail. The re-creation of a railroad town, complete with businesses and homes, makes history come alive because you watch it spring up from your own hands.
- Plastic Model Building — Plastic model building allows you to create small versions of vehicles, machinery and buildings from any time in the past or future. Immerse yourself in the details of a WWII tank or a modern version of Air Force One.
- Radio Control — RC and robotic RC are models meant to move, and they’re not just RC cars. You can fly a plane or pilot a boat. There is also a world of battlebots — robot vs. robot competitions that are staged as elimination tournaments. Participants build, program and armor machines to battle competitors.
If you’re seeking an excuse to get outside, a new hobby might be the ticket. The great outdoors — from the countryside to your own backyard — holds vast numbers of hobbies. Here are a few to choose from:
- Gardening — The hobby of growing plants, or gardening, teaches patience and responsibility. Casual gardening includes growing flowers or vegetables for your own use. There’s also competition gardening at state or county fairs, so track down some heirloom giant pumpkin seeds — you might just have a blue-ribbon worthy green thumb!
- Explore Nature — Lots of hobbies boil down to simply enjoying nature. That can happen via hiking, bird watching or boating. Make it a hobby by setting aside time each week to get outside until it becomes “your thing.” The best part about exploring nature: it’s absolutely free!
- Photography — Capture the things you see and experience with a camera. Anything you’re interested in — from sports to landscapes — can be photographed. Most times, the cameras on our cell phones are powerful enough to take truly remarkable images. You might just need to brush up on technique. Take lessons online or experiment on your own.
You can participate in innumerable hobbies without ever leaving the climate-controlled indoors. Explore your interests and find ways to make them fun. Here are a few hobbies you can do inside.
- Genealogy — Combine your interest in your family and broader history by exploring genealogy. The study and tracing of lines of descent can put your modern life in an historical context. There are many online resources like 23 and Me and ancestory.com that allow you to tap into existing research. Trace your roots and see what you can discover.
- Volunteering — Volunteering is another broad category of hobbies that can be tailored to your exact interests. This is especially appealing to retirees who are looking to fill time that was previously used on work. You can even apply your professional skills to volunteering, for example helping tutor school children or running the desk at an American Red Cross blood drive.
- Cooking/Baking — Depending on the context, cooking and baking are either chores or hobbies. Transform the kitchen into a hobby zone by committing to a plan. That might be exploring dishes from your ancestry, for example making an Italian meal from your family’s native region. It could also mean baking bread from different regions.
What hobbies are you going to pursue in 2022? Tell us in the comments below!