My Life

Why Men Need Hobbies

Up until my senior year of high school, the only hobby I had was video games. Whenever I had a long day at school or some time where I didn’t need to be focused on homework, I would sit in front of the TV for hours upon hours just playing games. I was totally fine with being sedentary, it was comfortable, it was relaxing, it wasn’t like I was doing anything wrong, but it wasn’t like I was doing anything great as well. Hobbies in that stage of my life amused me, just in a very comfortable and almost transactional way.

It wasn’t until my senior year that I really got into a hobby that was totally my own. For a long time I had wanted to learn how to shoot, and finally one of my Dad’s friends invited me to a shooting competition to compete. It was awesome. I absolutely sucked at it, I had terrible equipment that I only got because I thought it looked cool, my work ethic was poopoo, and I did not respond well to criticisms. However, as I looked at my targets which had shot groups with 18 inches of spacing between them (that is really, really bad), I realized that I wanted to be better. So I swallowed a humility pill and asked my dad’s friend for help. He showed me the ropes. He helped me get good equipment, how to use that equipment, how to maneuver within a stage, and most importantly how to evaluate others and myself. I got better over time and eventually, I placed second at a competition.

A Bias Towards Action

Men have a unique relationship with hobbies, simply because men have a unique relationship with creation. A lot of times we view the world through a lens of what will happen to us rather than what can we do to it. How can the world satisfy us? How can it benefit us? What more can we take from it? Spoiler alert: the world will never satisfy, its benefits are short-lived, and continuing to take from the chip bowl of the world just leaves us feeling as though we are incapable of doing anything on our own. Hobbies teach us to have a bias towards action – to happen to the world in a productive way rather than to take from it.

A lot of times when I’m doing something active, like a hobby or a manual job, I contemplate on Jesus’s relationship with work. Jesus was a carpenter for half his life before ever starting his public ministry. He worked a challenging job which was physically demanding, and at the same time studied the scriptures and helped his mother at home. Jesus is our model of masculinity, he teaches us how to live, how to love, and also how to live in relation to the world. When I am doing a manual task or doing some woodworking hobby stuff, I also think about all sorts of things. In fact, I often times think most clearly when I have something technical or physical to do. What’s really cool is that when this happens, I’m pulled into a deeper understanding of who Jesus is.

Go forth and do!

Ultimately, any hobby we pursue should challenge and refresh us. I didn’t have a real work ethic or desire for a challenge until I started competition shooting. My hobby taught me humility, patience, self-control, passion, and what it means to be challenged. All of these are attributes necessary for my interior life and my masculine life. So here is my challenge to you, make a list of things you’ve always wanted to do and things you enjoy. Maybe list 5-10 items, then do them. After you do each one, ask yourself three things:

1. Did I have fun?
2. Was I challenged?
3. Is this sustainable?

It is okay to have fun. Whoever told you that men have to be grumpy and goal oriented all the time needs to chill and take themselves less seriously. We as men, need to have fun in a real and almost primal way which reconnects us with the goodness that is leisure. We also need to be challenged. Challenge is good. Please do not go hardcore into something and break yourself. Take challenge a little at a time in doses that are doable and hard. This is one of those masculine traits you need to learn for yourself of how to push yourself without breaking yourself. You also need to ask yourself if the hobby you are leaning towards is sustainable. Money, time, and physical ability are all factors. You need to know what is prudent for you to do based on your state of life. A hobby is no longer fun if you lose all your hard earned dough in the pursuit of it. If anything, a hobby should teach you how to budget your time and money. I promise you that if you can learn how to budget while you are young and in the context of something you are passionate about, you and your future vocation will flourish.

Live Life Abundantly

So that’s about it. At this point, it is just about doing it. So go bravely into the world and do what sets your heart ablaze. Don’t worry about looking silly, because you will at first. When I first went shooting I was a mess. The only thing I was good with was being safe. Don’t worry about skinned knees and strained muscles, cause it will happen. Be bold and just do. Be that man God made you to be. The kind of man who has a bias towards action. Who leans into a challenge with a smile. Learn patience, humility, self-control, and be challenged. Once you are established in this new found hobby of yours, don’t be afraid to teach it to someone else. Remember that you were a beginner once as well, and if you didn’t have mentors you wouldn’t be successful. Always help the younger guys and listen to the older ones. Finally, never forget this: you are good, and God made you that way. You have a beautiful life ahead of you man. Lean into that life in the same way you do with hobbies, invest in experiences, and live life abundantly. Alright bro, best of luck, lots of love, and have fun.

About the Author

William Green

I'm a philosophy student at a little school in Georgia. In my free time, I enjoys shenanigans and live-tweeting my frequent emergency room visits. I'm originally from Elvis’s hometown but have spent time in a little bit of everywhere. My greatest ambition is to be a saint.