Thursday, October 28, 2010

Defining Hobbies

In interviews, and in person, I get asked what my hobbies are. I used to say all sorts of activities such as reading, rock climbing, blogging, painting, hiking, camping, whatever I put time into. However, I have narrowed my focus, at least in terms of what I define as a hobby, down to two: running and mountaineering.

What about blogging and painting and wood carving and reading Charles Dickens? Well I see those more as projects. My other activities are short term temporary recreation. Semantics, if you will, but there is a clear divide in my head about priorities. If given the choice between a great year of running leading up to a life altering race or a year of blogging leading up to something significant in relation to my blog, I would choose the running. It is the same for mountaineering. If given the choice between climbing Mt. Everest or writing a successful book about it, I would rather climb it.

I have said before, I love commitment. Calling something a hobby instead of a project or experiment means to me that I have made a commitment to work and play at it for years. While I may quite possibly blog, paint, and do other things consistently for decades to come, I have already been racing for a decade and I mountaineer at a fairly high level. I define mountaineering as the activities encompassing everything from urban buildering to summer alpine rock climbs to K2 in the winter. I have found, in my short time that when I focus on something or at least a small number of things that I tend to do much better than if I casually do a dozen things. A jack of all trades is a master of none.

So there they are, running and mountaineering. I have two hobbies. Now if only I could land a job...

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