“Choose your favorite spade and dig a small, deep hole, located deep in the forest or a desolate area of the desert or tundra. Bury your cell phone and then find a hobby.” – Nick Offerman (AKA Ron Swanson on “Parks and Rec”)
Once upon a time, human beings didn’t spend their precious leisure time on this earth locked to a bright, digital screen. Leisure time wasn’t held hostage by thumbing through other peoples’ fabulously curated lives on Instagram. Time wasn’t hijacked by Kanye West and his wife.
Free time is a valuable luxury. We work very hard in this country – in theory – to make the very most of the time we have away from our jobs. Work is noble, but stressful and draining. A man needs healthy outlets outside of his occupation to clear his head and hopefully make him a more well-rounded human being. A man needs a hobby or two.
Practically speaking, a hobby can help a man from feeling depressed, restless, and apathetic. A hobby might even turn into a passion and deliver some purpose. These are good things. Put down the phone, step away from the computer, and consider trying something totally new.
8 Hobbies Every Man Should Have:
1. Play the Guitar
Whether it’s Keith Richards with the Rolling Stones or Brad Paisley, there’s always been something ridiculously cool about the guitar. Think your window to learn to play has closed? Think again. You can still take some lessons and learn a range of songs. This hobby is a discipline that will likely exercise a new part of your brain. Plus, learning to play the ax will give you and your friends years of enjoyment. Pull that bad boy out at a campfire and make everyone’s night. Plus, the girls love it.
This activity is typically passed through generations. It can really create a bond among grandfathers, fathers, and sons. Hunting gets you into God’s creation and hopefully far enough away from an interstate or office park. If you’ve never hunted, now is a great time to start! Find one of your hunting friends and tell him that you’re interested. They will light up with the opportunity to share their passion with a buddy.
Do you admire those guys who can build a beautiful custom table or an entire canoe just from wood? What a manly skill. There is something remarkably cathartic and rewarding about building something tangible – something you can point to and say “I made that.” Sure, becoming an accomplished woodworker takes years of practice and tinkering. That said, you might be surprised at the wealth of classes to learn this hobby in your town. Technical schools, community colleges, and woodcraft stores often have classes on the basics of woodworking. Take a crack and get to sawing.
Work got you down? Tired of sitting in gridlock traffic? You need a getaway. Maybe the ordeal of hunting feels like a bit much. You can still get out in God’s creation and unwind. Where God’s earth feels bigger, our problems often feel much smaller. Watch “A River Runs Through It” and tell me you don’t want to fish. This is a hobby that can last a lifetime. If you’re lucky, you can practice it around the world.
Don’t tell me that this is solely the domain of women. There are great men who know how to cook. Like many hobbies, this one is pretty rewarding. You get to make others happy. Try to master 2-3 dishes and make them for your family and friends. Ply your craft. Like playing a guitar, this hobby will impress the ladies.
6. Play Sports
Are you a high school hero? Better yet, are you not? Have the humility and gumption to try a new sport. It doesn’t matter that you’re an adult. If you’re like me, going to the gym gets really boring. I would much rather exercise while enjoying some friendly competition. Chances are, your town has recreational leagues for basketball, flag football, rugby (!), ultimate Frisbee, and others. When you exercise, you get a natural, free release of endorphins – the legal performance enhancing drug that will make you feel great.
7. Letter Writing
This is a lost art in society. We’ve never been more connected, but the communication has never felt less personal. Many of history’s great men were renowned letter writers. Soldiers, for years have spoken about how much they appreciate receiving letters – even from people they don’t know. There is something really nice about receiving a piece of physical mail in 2015 that isn’t a bill or junk. Take pen to some paper. Get some nice paper with your monogram if you have the means. Write a letter to a woman, to a soldier, to a friend in need, or to a parent. You’ll make their day and you’ll certainly feel better.
8. Draw or Paint
Truth be told, these activities have helped me over the years keep anxiety and depression at bay. I’m not a professional by any means. For whatever reason, simply drawing or painting whatever I see or whatever is on my mind keeps my mood in check. Like writing, many of history’s legendary men were into art. For many of us, this works an area of our brain that is starkly different than our vocation. This is a good thing. Don’t know where to start? There are affordable classes you can take that can show anyone the basics. The goal isn’t to become a famous, commissioned artist. The goal is to stretch yourself in new, healthy ways.
Let’s ditch the phones for a while. What other hobbies do you enjoy?
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