How many hobbies can one person have? This is a question that I am dealing with personally in my own little world. I seem to have a lot of hobbies and it has me rethinking many of them. Do I really have time to devote to this thing or that? Is it really a hobby if I can’t devote the level of time to it that I want to? Does the level of participation, enjoyment or satisfaction I gain from the activity warrant the expenditure of time and funds? Another matter is the time spent with my children. Can they be involved in the matter with me and still enjoy the time?

So what hobbies am I dealing with? Well, first and foremost, there is the camping/hammock/hiking thing. This is 100% off limits for any discussion of eliminating this hobby. I love it too much. I get far too much enjoyment from the process and the monetary investment to enhance and participate in this hobby is always seen as monies well spent.  There are few things that bring me as much joy as getting out into the woods and just being still and quiet. I suppose it’s the same for hunters sitting in the tree stand as the sun rises over the ridge waiting for that buck to come into range. The sounds of the world waking up are at once invigorating and soothing. I feel small and yet part of a much larger plan and process. The paradox is delightful.

There is the DIY hobby to consider. This is likely not going anywhere any time soon.  The beauty of DIY whatever is there is an end result to be had from the process. It may be new suspension parts for the hammock, a new alcohol stove, or some other bit of kit to make the hiking or the hanging or the camping more interesting, more enjoyable or more simplified. I have found that confidence breeds more confidence if not more courage to set off into other areas.  I was allowed some years back to attend a training school for furniture touch up and repair. I was terrified at the process. The thought of attempting to repair something only to destroy it more was daunting, near unto paralyzing. Within a few minutes into the training the light bulb went off concerning one particular fear, of the many fears I harbored, and it was as if a ton of dining tables had been lifted from my shoulders. I realized then that much of life is just being willing to listen, look and learn. I’m willing to try anything so long as either someone can show me the proper methods and tools or I have clear enough instructions and proper tools to attempt the task. Note that there is a complete lack of folly here. I refuse to think too highly of my skill sets but trust that with time, study and effort, I should be able to manage if not master many things. Suddenly, I’ve become handy. As has been said, if a woman can not find you handsome, she should at least find you handy.

I suppose the one hobby on the chopping block at this point is the banjo. I had, as is often the case, dove into the deep end of the pool on this one and was supremely blessed with a beautiful banjo, professional case, and all the accouterments to both learn and play the silly thing. What is most in short supply is time. If you’ve never attempted to learn to play the banjo, time is the most important ingredient. It is not like playing guitar, not that playing guitar is a cake walk by any means. However, it is a different set of skills and thinking that goes into playing banjo. I started off well and had good intentions, but alas, the fickle finger of time has poked me in the proverbial eye. I was even more disheartened when looking at the calendar for 2015 and realizing there was sincerely not going to be any “free” time to devote to yon banjo.

In truth it is about passions. Passions and truth to tell all of it. We are slaves to our passions whatever forms they take and my personal philosophy is marked by a distinct and profound desire for honesty. Honesty with myself, about myself and with all aspects of my life. You can be whatever you choose to be, just own it. Don’t tell me you profess to be X when so little of your speech or actions denote someone who is an X. Feel free to fill in the blank with whatever you wish.  It is equally okay in my thinking to not be X so long as you own that as well. The incessant desire to lie to oneself about who or what we are is ridiculous to me.  Why waste that much energy on not being real to yourself or others. That same level of expenditure of energy could be just as easily devoted to being completely yourself or a better version of yourself.  As I age, I have a truer sense of who I am and am not, how I want to share that with the world and more importantly, how I want to enhance the lives of my family and friends in that process.

So, there goes the banjo. Looking for a good home and someone who will genuinely enjoy its beauty and tone. Better yet, have the unction to spend the time with it and bring forth its deeper truth in music. I’ll toddle off for a hike or hang in the piney woods or maybe build some alcohol stoves and send them off to friends in the far reaches of the world to enjoy or…… look for a new hobby. I hear video production is a lot of fun.

Busy 2015

I’m stressing just a bit. Well, maybe stressing isn’t the proper term but I am quickly discovering that 2015 will be busier than any year in recent history.

It all started a couple weeks back while I was off for the holidays, and I received my blog report from WordPress. It was very informative and telling and I should pause and say thanks to WordPress for sending it to me. Thanks WordPress. I also need to say thanks to the folks who have chosen to follow my blog. You are a motley crew of diversity but a gracious and appreciated lot as well.  From the report I realized that I did a little better than I had thought on posting to my blog but that I also really needed to put some more effort into posting on a regular basis and keeping the topics varied, and hopefully, interesting. So the one and only New Year’s resolution was conceived. Then the challenges of the 2015 schedule began pouring in. All of the below is in addition to the “normal” day to day matters that come with a home, a wife, and two active kids.

First is the contract job I have where I was informed that where there are usually only two to three waves in a year, 2015 will have four. February, May, August and November. This is good news as funds for hobbies like hiking and hammocks and other things I like to dabble in will be flush.  Bad news is, those months will now have to be blocked off from vacations, hiking trips, mission trips or any other outside concerns in order to keep the ability to fulfill the contract operational.

Then the wife starts planning, no, not planning, just talking about talking about planning.  This is a quagmire of conversational dead ends that I particularly detest. “We could go here, or maybe there. I thought about this place.” All of which are both nondescript and completely opposite of the initial suggestion for the family vacation floated at the end of 2014. I’m already bald so I have utilized at least one shortcut for the year in that I won’t have to schedule time to pull my hair out.

Then there is the desire to do a mission trip through our church. I have wanted to do something for a couple years but just didn’t make the commitment to allot the time to go. Vacation days are few and a precious commodity in my job so they are rationed like the last morsels of bread or water on a deserted island. However, I purposed in my heart that I was going to do one regardless and spend the vacation time I needed to spend to see it come to fruition. This is a good and noble thing but now I have the issue of choosing between opportunities in Canada, Peru (on the Amazon) and Montana. Unfortunately both Peru trips are quickly nixed because of the contract work schedule. The Canada trip is an option but will cost me five full days despite the fact it is occurring over the course of the July 4th holiday and ideally I would have a company sponsored holiday handed to me for that one.  The Montana trip was looking promising until the mission we would be serving was blessed with a substantial monetary gift and now construction plans are in the air again because they can do now what they were saving for over the course of the next two years. All dates are gray again. Frustrating, yes. Impossible, no. Just the ridiculous maze of “hurry up and wait” that comes with these particular matters.

Lastly, there is my need for time in the woods or hammock time. If you read any of my posts, it is profoundly obvious that I enjoy camping in hammocks and any and all things related to that concern. I’m fine for my son or a friend to come along but I am just as happy, if not more so, to be alone. Alone time is another precious commodity that I covet jealously. With all the other functions above factored in, there is very little time or opportunity for hiking or hanging in 2015.  That is not to say that I won’t get some. I’m just going to have to be very creative and perhaps a bit selfish in the application of those opportunities. I am trying to find ways to combine any of the above with some hammock times. The contract portion actually lends itself well to this line of thinking in that I have two out of town runs, one of which is very close to a favorite personal camping haunt, so I’ll have at least two, maybe three opportunities, to have a night’s alone time in the piney woods off of that. Depending on where the wife settles on for vacation, there may be an opportunity for an extended, 2 – 3 day hike/hang where she and the kids can pick me up on the way to the final destination.  I’m even floating the idea of camping while on the Montana mission trip to “save money on lodging”. The whole unvarnished truth being told is I’ll sleep better in my hammock then any four star hotel in Montana and be happier for it while there. The fact that it would reduce the cost of the trip, is, in reality, a secondary or perhaps even, tertiary benefit.

So goes the vicissitudes of planning and scheduling a life in 2015. It hasn’t escaped my notice that it was not until I determined to post more often on the blog that the proverbial all H, E, double hockey sticks, broke loose on my calendar. I’m too un-superstitious to give that any real credit or substance. Busy is as busy does. My goal in all of it is to act and do with purpose. Nothing frivolous or flippant in any way, but approached with integrity, purpose and passion.

I’m sure glad I have a hammock to relax in.  Looks like I’m really gonna need it.