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Addictive hobbies

There’s nothing I like more than an addictive hobby. I love the intensity of obsession. I love that all-encompassing, can’t-quite-get-enough feeling. I love waking up and falling asleep thinking about it. I love knowing exactly what I want to be doing, and even when I’m not doing it, I can’t wait to get back to it. It gives me energy and clarity and certainty. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle piece snapping into place. It’s like falling in love.

I don’t just love doing the hobby, but also researching it and learning everything I can about it. I love the gear that goes along with each new hobby – the tools and supplies and books and websites and wish lists. I love the sense of connection to others who share the obsession.

I’ve been that way about all kinds of hobbies over the years: knitting and other crafts, and various kinds of art-making and online role-playing games and fish-keeping and day-trading and bird-watching and bush-bashing and balcony gardening and hiking and camping and running and antiques-scrounging and flea markets and collections of various sorts (antique photography, vintage clothing, mannequins, old playing cards, artist trading cards, old cameras, ephemera, silver, old purses, hats….).

I know I’m forgetting some.

Eventually I either burn out on the hobby altogether (like Japanese rice-paper lamp-making – I used to make these gorgeous lamps with real marijuana leaves in the panels), or it becomes a smaller, saner part of my life (like knitting).

For awhile after a hobby loses its grip on me, my life becomes more balanced and I get more sleep and I get more accomplished, but I can’t help feeling that something’s missing.

As much as I might want to, I can’t just rush out and replace a fading hobby with a new one – there’s a kind of alchemy to addiction, and I have to wait for it. Ironically, sometimes the new addiction is something that would have struck me as utterly boring at any other time in my life (fish-keeping is a good example).

What are your past and current hobbies? Do you stick with the same hobbies, or do you sometimes let some go and adopt new ones? Do you tend to get obsessive about them? Have you ever called in sick so you get your necromancer up to level 60?

12 comments to Addictive hobbies

  • I think my blog name describes my approach to hobbies. So past hobbies? Stamp collecting, Fruitopia bottle label collecting (and then creating wallpaper from), smoking, polymer clay, crocheting, running, soccer, various art endeavours (I abandoned art school in my early 20s), etc. etc.

    Current hobbies? Photography – I believe this has stuck, that or I’ve spent too much time and money to abandon it – and just recently, knitting. It’s been almost two weeks now. I can work from a pattern and I’m super-motivated to make lopi sweaters after my Iceland trip.

    But I think I approach hobbies a lot like you do. Which ferocious intensity at first, and then a slow sizzle. Some I can’t continue (running – injury), some I don’t want to, and some just get put on the back burner until I feel like doing them again. People know I abandon hobbies and I admit it. Variety is the spice of life.

  • J.

    Past hobbies: Craft making for $$. It never made me much money, but I really enjoyed the rush of making things that people might buy. Candle making, lip gloss, marble magnets, bath bombs, knitting. I had to stop of these hobbies because I had too many and had to get rid of some of them.

    Current hobbies: knitting, embroidery, gardening, blogging

    Hobbies that have stuck around for a while now: knitting, blogging

    I’m getting a little obsessive over knitting lately, mostly because I just learned how to do the purl and want to try a bit of everything. I actually considered calling in sick today, just to stay home and knit.

  • I hear you! I love that racing brain feeling of learning new things, and creating something like a piece of clothing or a level 80 character.

    My first addictive hobby was reading. I tore through everything on my home bookshelves, the school library’s sci-fi/fantasy section, the public library. This is an addiction that continues to this day, though it comes in fits and spurts. But it doesn’t have that “finished project” feeling that crafting and gaming have for me.

    My craft addiction is very much like this. Crocheting, knitting, and sewing have been the most long-lasting. My current obsession has been researching medieval period clothing because I want to sew myself outfits, but don’t want to get the look wrong or mix periods. This has been a much safer (on my wallet) sewing hobby than just going to the LYS and picking up ONE MILLION balls of yarn, or random fabric and commercial patterns. It takes actual planning.

    I’m also addicted to World of Warcraft. It is a huge time sink, that I think I’ll have to do away with eventually. But the feeling of joy at levelling a character, completing quests, getting achievements and fancy new equipment is quite similar to finishing a sewing project. It makes me all giddy and proud and excited at the same time.

  • Photography is a nice hobby. You get a lot to show for your efforts, and it sometimes gets you invited to interesting events.

    You can also get into the good graces of attractive people.

  • Carmen

    Mine is knitting, as you know. I love the process, but also the rush when the fall knitting season starts…there are the new books (I’m a Rowan fan), the new yarns, the colours…and of course, Ravelry to make it even more tempting. I, too, go to bed and wake up my head full of the projects at hand. Because I travel from one client to another, I take my knitting with me and knit a few rows in my car if I arrive five minutes early….there is yarn in the family room, in the dining room,(along with the spinning wheel, and fleece), in the living room. My night table is overflowing with knitting and spinning books…you can find samples in my briefcase, in my purse…

  • Nancy

    I’ve had a few craft hobbies in the past, but nothing has been as obsessive for me as knitting. The thinking about it all the time part has slowed down a bit, but I still do some every day, look at Ravelry every day, go to knitting group every week.

    Reading feels like a slightly different sort of addiction to me. I don’t read every day or think about it much, but when I start a book, I want to read until it is finished, and I feel resentful of chores, and bedtimes, and social events. I even considered giving up reading altogether because I felt it was not something I could do in moderation.

  • I know the feeling you’re talking about, especially after taking up knitting, but I don’t have a whole lot of time for hobbies, unless you count my dogs as one BIG hobby, so I don’t really try a whole lot of new things. I rarely get to speak English, so when I discovered IMing and blogging, I was hooked and didn’t want to leave the screen for anything. I even started knitting because of an internet group. We knit and IMed about knitting and it was brilliant.

    Both my dogs and reading are more parts of my life than hobbies. The dogs just have to be a priority as they are my responsibility. They come first and then when they’re taken care of (food, attention, walks) I get to do my thing. So of course, after I discovered knitting, there was always the question, so I want to spend my free hour knitting or reading. Then I discovered audio books. In a big way. Obsessed is an understatement. I knit and listen to audio books, I walk the dogs and listen to audio books, I clean and listen to audio books, I even sometimes listen at work when I have brainless filing to do (my boss is fine with it too (go boss!)). My earphones might have to be surgically removed at some point, although it will be against my will. Now the question for future hobbies will always be, can I listen to an audio book while doing it? If not, I’ll probably leave it.

  • [...] I commented on Zoom’s post about addictive hobbies. Last night, it rang [...]

  • I love trying new things, taking classes to learn about them, but my hard-core obsessive hobbies – reading, knitting, cooking and walking – have been such for most of my life… funny, one of my kids asked yesterday if I’ve ever gotten bored with knitting, and I had to honestly answer no – never in 40 years have I not wanted to pick up the needles – I think it’s pretty nice to have something so reliable that I can turn to, regardless of whatever maelstroms surround me… I feel very lucky

  • Let’s see now…there was stained glass, pottery, candle making, soap making, crocheting and knitting. There will be spinning in the winter when we return from Greece and my husband is already shuddering at the idea of another hobby. Mind you the pottery made me lots of money at my Haliburton studio and I plan on reopening it next year. Necromancer, not…I preferred the Scorceress, my husband on the other hand plays Necromancer…ciao

  • Payton

    Is reading blogs a hobby? I feel like I’m addicted to information. Probably a good thing for a journalist to be. And once I trained and ran a triathlon in eight months. I scheduled everything around my daily workouts. And I actually really enjoyed it, and still managed to fit everything into my life (maybe my tv-watching got neglected…not a bad thing in the end). I’d like to do it again one day.

  • Max R.

    Hey Zoom —

    I used to make candles from sheets of beeswax… actually, I’d love to get some and make them with you — have you ever done it? If not, don’t do it if anyone offers because I want to be the one to introduce you to it. It is SO addictive… dear lord.
    Take care!