My new hobby

Jason A. Smith


I’ve been thinking about something over the last few days – the kind of nagging thought that just won’t go away.

The other day, my wife was doing some research on a new interest of hers, quilting. She was pricing various items online, trying to find the perfect color and style combination for her first quilt, and it got me thinking.

No, I don’t really have any interest in learning how to make a quilt. But, I began thinking about how I need a hobby, something I can use to pass the time productively instead of wasting it.

Until a few years ago, my hobby was going to karaoke venues on the weekends and singing as much as I could. Actually, it was more an obsession than a hobby. I’d get there around 9 p.m., sing a few songs while visiting with friends and leave around midnight. I always had a great time, and I made a lot of good memories that way.

There are times when I miss being able to do that, but I suppose being a dad has toned that desire down a bit. And so, my search for a hobby continues.

I was looking online at a list of hobbies that men enjoy, to see if there was something that struck my interest. Some of them I wrote off as being too dangerous for my taste. Others just didn’t do anything for me, for one reason or another, or they cost too much money to get started.

Then, I saw something that made the light in my head turn on. One of the suggestions on the list dealt with the topic of journaling, which involves writing thoughts down in your spare time as a way to deal with stress, solve problems or help with any number of tasks.

It occurred to me that I’ve been doing that for years, in various forms. When I’m mad about something, I write about it. When I’m struggling with grief, I write about it. When something amuses me and I want to make someone laugh about it with me, I write about it.

I guess I just never thought about writing as a hobby, because it’s so connected to what I’ve done for work over the years.

However, there are two ways in which writing – or journaling – has helped me to express myself in recent years without even realizing I was doing it.

The first involves a book I started writing a couple years ago as a tribute to my dad, who passed away in 2013. It started off well enough, as I recalled various memories of him from my childhood and wrote them down, but it stalled along the way because I didn’t know every single detail of the stories I was telling, and I didn’t want to leave anything out.

In other words, I had turned it into a job – a project to be completed rather than a process to be enjoyed. Perhaps if I adjust my mindset a bit, I can finish the book and turn it into something that would make my dad proud.

The other case deals with a letter I started writing a little over two years ago, to my little girl. I began writing it as a way to thank her for everything she did, even as a little baby, to help me cope with my dad’s passing and other changes in my life at that time. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have made it through that period of my life without her.

Over time, the letter has also chronicled my reflections on her as I’ve watched her grow. The plan is for her to receive the letter on her 16th birthday. It seems like a long way off now, but something tells me the time will pass more quickly than I think.

I guess, the more that I think about it, I’ve already got a hobby – writing or journaling or whatever you want to call it. I didn’t even have to spend any money to get it started. Maybe it’s time to see how far it can take me.

Jason has worked in newspapers since 2005, spending the majority of that time in Henry County. He lives in Covington with his wife and daughter.