When I set up this website six months ago, I imagined myself writing regularly: thought provoking, illuminating words that inspire discussion in my community. Of course, there are some issues with this idea.

First, I put pressure on myself to have things that are noteworthy to write about. I feel I often have thoughts that might be noteworthy or of interest, but rarely do I remember them long enough to create an essay about the topic.

Additionally, my friends network primarily does not consist of people who spend their time online. I post something on the website, share a link to it on Facebook and mastodon, and sit back to wait while no one visits.

So, really, this website is just about me, and just for me. That’s okay. It’s a hobby — a pasttime (or, if I go phonetically, a “pass-time”). Something that I can do to spend otherwise unallocated hours.

I’ve had a variety of hobbies through my life, many of which I retain in some way or another:

  • Reading. I used to read voraciously. I’ve literally read thousands of books in my lifetime, and at one time had a library that took up a whole room. My reading slowed a lot after I had children. I’m trying to recover the habit, and am tracking my reading on bookwyrm, having migrated my reading history from Goodreads when I discovered that site is owned by Amazon.
  • Music. I play a variety of instruments, and sing. Honestly, I don’t play any of the instruements that well, but I play them well enough for my own enjoyment and, as I said to Brigitte last week: I sing well, and I play well enough to accompany myself. I was once recorded not quite making a fool of myself at an open mic at the Topuddle Festival in England. I can also facilitate a good campfire!
  • Crochet. I actually used to knit, but as Brigitte and I were planning to get married we decided to crochet a bedspread for our bed. We’re not finished. Part of that is the complexity of putting it all together, but most of the delay is because sometime after deciding to make it we bought a house that encouraged us to switch from a Queen bed to a King. Those extra linear feed of bed size nearly doubled the size of our task. But, we’re getting close.
about 150 white crocheted granny squares aligned on a blanket... a work in progress
Bedspread in progress
  • Cycling. Actually, I’m not sure that I should call this a hobby. I used to commute by bicycle, so it was less of a hobby and more of a utilitarian and ecological lifestyle choice. I don’t live within cycle commuting distance of work anymore (at least, not when we don’t have a shower at the office), but I still love cycling. I just don’t get out to do it enough.
  • Running. I really became a runner after meeting Brigitte. My first run was back in 2010 when I was the Treasure of USC Canada. One of the staff at USC was an avid runner and organized a fundraising team as part of the Ottawa Race Weekend. So, for about eight years I would run 5 or 10k once a year (with a little extra training in the years I ran 10). Now we run a couple of times a week, and I have even done a couple of half-marathons.
  • Baking. For a lot of years I tried to bake all of my own bread. I’ve stopped doing that as much, but recently have been really enjoying baking other things, including muffins, cookies, and cakes. This week, I made Jérôme a birthday cake. In fact, the thing that prompted me to start this blog post was thinking about creating a post of things that I have baked. I’ll do that someday!
A homemade black forest cake, about 11" round and 6" high, with cherry sauce and a ring of maraschino cherries on the top. The cake sits on a white plastic tray on a kitchen island. A husky dog can be seen in the background.
  • Woodworking. I’m cheating to add this here. I haven’t actually done much wordworking, but I want to. It’s turning out to be an expensive hobby.

That’s about it for now, unless I include sitting in the hot tub late at night (usually reading or browsing Mastodon) as a separate hobby.

One thing I found interesting as I composed this list was how many of my favourite ways of passing time involve some form of creative activity — while not necessarily “imagining” something new, like artistic creation might be, they are involved in taking some form of material or resources and reshaping it into something else — something that I can rightfully claim as my “creation”.

It reminds me how much of human life is really about feeling that we are having an impact and contributing to the world.

How do you spend your “free” time?


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