One semester

I’ve tried a lot of things. It’s fun to try new things. But I’m also a little fickle. So I don’t continue a lot of things. I joke with my close friends whenever a topic comes up: “I did that for a semester”.

For example, if we’re in a conversation and martial arts comes up somehow, I’ll mention “Oh yeah, I took Karate for a semester.” And it’s true. I really did. I took a class of Karate in my first year of university. In this case, it was literally a semester. But in my context, it usually means I did it for 3-6 months or maybe 1 year but usually the key point, is that I tried it, and don’t really do it anymore.

Or, I’ll be talking to someone at a party and I’ll find out they are passionate about something I’ve tried. I think it’s why I’m great at small talk. I’ve tried a lot of stuff and it’s easy for me to find commonality with someone. I’m also very interested in people and their hobbies. What you do for fun and what you are passionate about says a lot about you. And if you find what someone is passionate about, they’ll talk your ear off about it. It’s a great way to get to know a person.

Of course, I have a lot of lifelong hobbies or hobbies that I have years of experience with. I’ve spent my time trying to find new hobbies and find things that I’m passionate about. It doesn’t always work out, but that’s ok.

There are some drawbacks to switching hobbies a lot. Stuff…lots of stuff in the house. I never become really great at something, I’m mostly just average or below-average at a lot of stuff. And sometimes, I don’t give myself enough time to like something. I move on too early. I also have thousands of dollars in gear for different hobbies. I tend to go all-in when I start something new.

Hobbies > 1 semester (more than 2 years).

Here’s a list of serious hobbies. These are things that you’ll hear about me doing in my blog. These are the top priorities in my life. If a hobby is not on this list, I likely don’t have time for it. When I talk to people about prioritizing your time, this is what I mean. You only have so much time for hobbies.

  • Mocktails – Well, this is a pretty fresh hobby. I am sober for almost 3 years now. And I still enjoy making yummy drinks. My favourite is still a Mockjito. I enjoy the simple to make Arnold Palmer with iced tea and lemonade. I also enjoy various fruit concoctions. I still have a drink smoke set that I haven’t tried yet.
  • Magic the Gathering – This is a collectible card game that I’ve been playing since I went to NAIT in 1993. I saw a bunch of students playing it in the break room. I got hooked and I’ve been playing ever since. I have a ton of physical cards, likely in the tens of thousands of cards. They are all stored in the basement. I reckon they are worth a pretty penny these days if I ever have the smarts to sell them. My most expensive card is an unlimited version of Mox Pearl. It’s likely worth thousands of dollars for 1 card. I believe the value of my set to be worth tens of thousands of dollars…for “stupid” Magic cards. I played in Canadian Nationals once. I think I finished last, but that was still 47th best in Canada or something like that. I went to Grand Prix – Colorado with a group of friends and I did quite well. I remember playing Hall of Famer Brian Kibler in a match. He beat me with superior play. But I’ll never forget that I played a Hall of Famer. I still play Magic but only digitally online. I have a lot of fond memories of Magic.
  • Golf- This should be pretty obvious if you’re reading my blog. I had a record year. I played more than ever. I lowered my handicap into single digits. I won the OJ Open for the first time. I’m looking forward to the kickoff of winter golf in November. This is one of my main hobbies and passions.
  • Running – I’ve been a runner on and off for my entire life. I was a runner in elementary school and high school. I remember going to the Alberta Junior Championships one year. I qualified in the 400m, 800m and 1,500m. I remember finishing 4th in the 1,500m…just outside of a medal. I completed a marathon a couple of years ago. Last year, I completed a half-marathon in Calgary. And then I hurt my toe. I recently started to run again. I’m training at 10-15km and slowly testing out my toe. It feels great to be running again!
  • Meditation – Meditation is something that I try to practice on a weekly basis. The fact is that I meditate all of the time, but I’ve been a little lazy when it comes to focused meditation. For example, I find a long bike ride or long run very meditative. I also use meditation at appointments if things are running late or I have a few minutes. Practicing meditation helps me be more patient…sometimes. Taking a minute for a big breath for some calm can come in handy in a lot of situations.
  • Motorcycle – I wish I could tell you that I’m an avid motorcyclist. It’s a little bit of a sad story. When I turned 30, I had a lot of lofty goals for myself. One of these goals was to get a motorcycle. So I signed up for a motorcycle class. And I bought a Suzuki Katana 750; a beautiful, red street bike. I loved that bike so much. I passed the course and loved riding. I bought the bike on a don’t pay for 6 months financing package. That summer, I was riding back from an errand, I think it was a dentist’s appointment. And boom! My life changed forever. A big SUV turned left in front of me unsafely and I didn’t have the time or space to stop. I plowed right into him. My bike crashed into the side of the SUV. I don’t remember too much. My body flew forward and smashed into the truck. I remember lying on the ground in pain and people telling me not to move. OMG! They wrapped my head so tightly to the flag board it hurt. I escaped with minor injuries. When people say they feel like they got hit by a truck, I literally know what it’s like. Hindsight would reveal that this is the first accident that likely started my back problems that would appear years later. They wrote off the bike. I never made a payment. Late that fall, I would buy a cheap bike to “get back on the horse”. Eventually, I would trade that bike for a sports bike lemon. I tried to fix that bike up. I traded that in for my current Kawasaki Versus 600. Once again, I love this bike but I just can’t find the time to ride. Between dogs, golf, cycling and running, I don’t have a lot of spare time in the summer for rides. I also never really found a group to ride with. So the bike sits in my garage. I think I’ll sell it this spring. It’s time to let it go. There is a bit of the same feeling riding a bicycle but it’s not the same. There is a feeling of freedom on a motorcycle when you are cruising down the road.
  • Video gaming – I usually have a game or two on the go. Obviously, Magic the Gathering online is a video game and I play a lot of it. I also played thousands of hours of Diablo 3. Diablo 4 recently came out, but so far, it’s not very good. I currently have 10 games installed on my computer ready to play. I enjoy collectible card games like MtG, I enjoy AARPGs like Diablo, I enjoy light building and survival game like Valheim. and I enjoy roguelike games. My favorite franchise is probably Fallout. I played a lot of 3D games on the Quest, but not recently. I also have a fancy 4-player arcade that mostly sits idle. Maybe with winter coming up, I’ll boot up the arcade again for some fun. I think I’ll always play video games. It’s still a great conversation piece and work of art!
  • 8-ball / pool – I’ve played pool for most of my life. We had a pool table in our basement. I played in various men’s and mixed leagues throughout the years. I’m a pretty good pool player. I’ve won some big matches but never played in any sort of big championships. I usually captain the 8-ball corporate challenge team.
  • Cycling – Well, I’ve only been cycling for 1 year. But I’m confident this hobby will stick with me. For now, it’s a 2nd semester of cycling. Paula and I bought bikes early in our marriage. But it never worked out and we sold them. So this is my 2nd go at cycling. I really enjoy cycling. I had a blast racing the Tour de France – Strathcona. I plan on cycling next year.
  • Blogging / writing – I think it’s safe to put blogging and writing as a prioritized hobby. I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years. I just committed to writing a chapter in a book called Run For Your Life. Our kickoff meeting is this weekend. I am also committed to writing and publishing my own book in 2024. I enjoy writing a lot. I find writing to be very rewarding. It also has a meditative quality about it. And I think I’m a pretty darn good writer.

Hobbies – 1 semester (let’s say 2 years or less).

These are all hobbies that I’ve tinkered with in the past, or I tinker with now but part-time. A lot of these looked like they were going to make the top list, but never panned out.

  • Karate – 1 semester at the University of Calgary. I really enjoyed it but the next step was a huge commitment. One day, I hope to return to some form of martial art. I see myself looking into Tai Chi.
  • Rubik’s Cube – I actually still do this but I’ve never taken it much farther than solving a 3×3 cube using a set of memorized algorithms. I still practice a couple of times a week and I usually solve in 4 minutes or less. I have 10+ cubes including many 3×3, a pyramid cube, a skewb, 4×4, 5×5 and a megaminx. I’ve solved them all multiple times. I have lots of notes and a couple of websites that help me through some of the more difficult algorithms.
  • YouTube – I tinkered a little with YouTube during COVID-19. I was bored and wanted to try making some videos. I played around with my iPhone. I learned how to use editing software. I learned how to film and edit green screen. I had a lot of fun with it. I think I have some pretty humorous videos. You can check out my site here: https://www.youtube.com/@dennisk4783/videos
  • Leather crafting – I actually did leather crafting for a couple of years. I did it long enough to create a Facebook page and post some of my work. I got pretty good at leather crafting and I still have all of the supplies. But slowly I ran out of projects and I got tired of sitting in the dark and cold basement by myself at my work table. Lately I’ve been thinking about selling my leather tools.
  • Foam smithing – I took up foam smithing for 1 project. I created my Star-Lord helmet for cosplay. I’m really proud of it. I ended up painting laser guns and a Walkman. I’m pretty proud of this. Sadly, it’s been a while since Star-Lord made an appearance. I still have a ton of foam, tools and paints. But this is the only project I ever did.
  • Cosplay – I was really into cosplay for a couple of years. We used to attend a lot of Comic Conventions. It was fun dressing up. I have costumes for Star-Lord, Fallout, Seeley Booth from Bones, Chuck Bartowski from Chuck, and a variety of steampunk gear with leather I’ve crafted. Eventually, we stopped going to Comic Cons. And I got out of playing dress-up. But I still have all of the costumes.
  • Hockey – I did play hockey for a couple of years. I have a full set of gear to play hockey. But I stopped playing. Ice times are brutal and I just didn’t love playing hockey from 10-midnight, getting home at 1am starving, finally falling asleep at 3am, only to get up at 6:30am for work the next day. I really liked playing hockey. But it was always a little hard being the worst guy on the ice most of the time. I took a skating class once. At the end of class one day, we were scrimmaging. I went pretty fast into the corner to retrieve the puck, and another player put me off balance. I went hard into the boards and broke my ankle. Everyone said it’s impossible to break your ankle in a hockey skate. I assure you, it’s not. I felt the bone moving around as I took the skate off. I’ve also been an Oilers fan since I moved to Edmonton in 1992. But let’s not brag about that until they win a cup with me as a fan!
  • Dog sports: agility, nose work, rally obedience, trick training, barn hunt, and the good neighbour program – I really love training with Jack. We tried all sorts of classes. Just before COVID-19, we tried some nose work and loved it. But I never went back for any more classes. Part of me got used to staying at home. And the other part of me knows that dog sports are a lot of work. I don’t know if I have the time for that right now. Also, that nose work class I want to rejoin is planned for Saturdays, which is golf day 90% of the year. This is probably something I’ll look at again once I retire and have more free time. I really love agility!
  • Softball – I only played 1 season of softball with a company team. I didn’t really like it. I found myself drinking too much (either during the game or at the post-party) and never joined the next season. It’s a very social sport but just wasn’t for me.
  • Crypto currency – I spent a good 6 months looking into crypto currency. I played some games with digital crypto objects. I invested in some crypto. I still have a small portfolio of crypto (Etherium, Polygon, Cardano). And, of course, I have my Movember balls which are NFTs. I’m glad that I did it, because I learned a ton about the world of crypto. But for now, I don’t see making huge dollars investing in crypto and frankly, trying to keep track of crypto assets for tax purposes make me anxious.
  • Juggling – One day, I decided to learn how to juggle. I think it was shortly after I learned the Rubik’s cube. I ordered a beginner’s pack of juggling balls that came with a training video. And I kept practicing and dropping balls until I could juggle. I’m not very good at it, but I can juggle.
  • Drones – Long story short, Paula found some fancy Star Wars drones that she wanted. We bought them. Then I had to learn how to fly drones. But I didn’t want to learn on the pricey Star Wars drones. So I bought some smaller drones to practice with. I never really got too far into this hobby other than being able to fly and crash drones. The Star Wars drones are nice art pieces.
  • Mountain bike – I tried Mountain biking for 1 year. I bought myself a nice Marin bike from a local shop. I did some biking with some friends. I remember falling or crashing a lot while trying to ride down hills and on trails. Eventually, I just stopped doing it. The Marin bike has been sitting up on the garage wall for 10+ years. I almost took it in this year to get it setup again.
  • Fencing – Yes, I tried 1 semester of fencing. My mom made me. I had a cousin that was a champion fencer. So we tried it. I didn’t last long. Those epees hurt when you get jabbed with them! Ouch! I’m out!
  • Volleyball – I played volleyball in high school for 1 year. I was a backup setter and played in 1 game. I would pick up volleyball again for Corporate Challenge one year. Sadly, in training, I would go up to block a spike and break an ankle. I rolled it coming down off of someone else’s shoe. It was the opposite ankle that I broke in hockey. So I’ve broken both ankles. Funny story, I had just moved into my own apartment after getting my first job out of NAIT. I moved close to work so that I could walk to work. The day after I moved in is the day I broke my ankle. My girlfriend at the time would have to move in and take care of me for 8 weeks until I was back on my feet.
  • Guitar – I have actually owned two acoustic guitars. I sold the first one after failing at lessons with an instructor. Then I got inspired by Paula’s dad one weekend, and would spontaneously go and buy a guitar and try it again. Music is something that I keep trying, but it never catches on for me. It’s one of those things that I just don’t make time for.
  • Ukulele – Similar to guitar, I thought that learning a uke would be easier. It’s only 4 strings and it’s easier to learn finger positions. Normally I pick up uke again most winters and give it another go but it never sticks.
  • Camping – Yes, Paula and I tried camping for a couple of years. I mostly liked it. But eventually, I got tired of being away from the house every weekend. It was hard maintaining 2 properties. Eventually, we sold our trailer and moved on from camping.
  • Flutist – I played flute in high school. I was 1st or 2nd chair for 3 years. I still have a flute and at one point in time, I used to pick it up and play it once in a while for fun. I used to be fluent in reading music. Sadly, most of that is gone. I figure I could pick it up pretty easily sometime if I wanted to. But when was the last time you went out and saw a band with a flutist? I also have a semester of Bassoon as I dropped flute for 1 year in band.
  • Darts – Similar to pool, I grew up with a dart board in the basement. I spent hours throwing darts and trying to hit perfect Triple-20s and doubling in & out. I’ve had my own darts for a number of years. I’m still quite good at darts.
  • Table Tennis – Well, I guess our basement growing up was full of things to do. We also had a ping pong table in the basement at one point. I grew up playing and early in elementary school, my best friend was a top-end player. His dad was pretty good; he might have been a Canadian champion. So I played a lot of casual table tennis thru the years. One of my buddies says I have really good hand-to-eye coordination which is why I’m good at golf, pool and darts. I think I’ve just wasted a lot of time on them.
  • Foosball – Add foosball to the list of table games that I played. I picked up foosball in university. We used to skip class to go and play foosball in the university arcade. I’m a pretty good defense player. I have a decent shot from the back row. I had a foosball table in my house for a while.

Future hobbies

Well, since I haven’t tried enough things, I’m always looking for the next hobby to try. Why? I like to keep things fresh. I like to learn new skills and challenge myself. I believe in the saying “if you aren’t moving forward, you are moving backwards.”

  • Podcast – I’ve been thinking a lot about starting a podcast. I don’t know if I have time but it fits perfectly in my current journey. I’m blogging. I’m writing inspiring content for 2 books. And a podcast talking about Wellness fits perfectly with my passions right now.
  • Back flip – I always wanted to do a back flip. I just worry that the training is going to be super hard on my back. And at 51, do I have the strength and agility to pull it off? I don’t know. Maybe one day I’ll find out.
  • Unicycle – Well, heck, I already juggle! I’ve looked up some unicycles on Amazon. Just another crazy thing to try some day.
  • Slackline – I’m always interested in new ways to challenge my fitness. Slackline seems like it’s great for working the core and balance.
  • Whip cracking – I mean, my wife thinks that Indiana Jones is cool. Seems like it might be a fun thing to learn. What would I do with that skill? No idea. Sometimes you just have to do things for fun. Right?
  • Triathlon – This is probably one of the more serious fitness hobbies. I’ve got the running and cycling down. The last item to add for a triathlon is swimming. I was trained as a youth and almost reached life guard training. I went so far as to get my swimming stroke reviewed by a swim instructor. For the most part, I still have good technique. They wanted me to improve my breathing to both sides, which makes it a 3-stroke breath instead of a 2-stroke breath. That’s harder than it sounds. I could do about 2-3 swim lengths but then got winded. And I don’t know if that was a 25m or a 50m length. So the training would be all about going a longer distance. A sprint triathlon is 750m of swimming. So that’s 15 lengths in an Olympic-sized pool or 30 laps in a 25m pool. Phew. I get a little exhausted even thinking about training in another distance sport.

Wrap-up

Well, that about wraps up my 1-semester discussion. As you can see, I’ve tried a lot of things. I hope I’ve inspired you to try something new the next time you get the opportunity. It’s good for your brain to learn new things. It’s good for your emotional well-being and your soul.

I guess one of the things that happens is I get less worried about failure and quitting. When you try so many things, you are eventually going to fail or quit. And it’s okay. Yes, I’m a quitter. If I try something, and I don’t like it, or don’t have time for it, it’s out of rotation.

I’m sure there are lots of things I’ve forgotten to list here. I’ve tried some AI with ChatGPT and MidJourney. I’ve been running a fun Movember campaign for the last couple of years bringing attention to prostrate cancer and men’s wellness.

So go ahead and try something new. Also yourself to love it or leave it. And enjoy the learning process on the way. Who knows what is going to come up in your next conversation??

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