Against All Odds: Hobby Edition

The Uphill Battle

You can find so many different hobby projects online (I’m mostly referring to engineering projects). However, a hobby project is often an uphill battle. It is a battle where every step requires you to fight to make progress. You are not just pushing the boulder; you are pushing it uphill, while overcoming active resistance. Why is it so hard?

There aren’t many allies, but a lot of enemies.

You are fighting with time. Finding enough time is not a problem specific to a hobby, but here it’s an even bigger problem because a hobby is often at the bottom of the list of things we MUST DO NOW.

Energy. Even when you can secure a piece of time for your project, it may be late in the day or you may just be in the wrong mood. One hour before sleep is not the same as one hour during the workday (put your own peak performance time here).

Attention span - something that becomes a bigger problem every year (in my opinion). There are more and more “interesting” things being created, taking away our attention and distracting us from focusing on what we want to focus on. The problems we solve in our hobby projects may be as big as those in our work projects. Some may require days or even weeks of thinking.

Mental energy - Working in an engineering domain, where your main muscle is the brain, means you cannot easily force yourself to stop thinking about problems. This results in work or someone else's problems leaking into your personal life space, taking away the mental resources you could dedicate to yourself or your projects. Add on top all the everyday routines and chores.

This was just the uphill part. These are mere resource restrictions, which you can potentially plan around as they don’t intentionally or actively try to limit what you can do. They are just concepts; they are part of life.

Video Mountain Giant — Label on the rock: The best of the Internet (2023)

But there are real enemies. So enormous you don’t initially see them, like you don’t notice that the mountain ahead of you is a Stone Giant, tossing a huge rock at you (please subscribe not to miss another rock), ensuring no single bone (attention span) is left unbroken. You want to dodge it but you cannot move!

Doom News Giant

— Did you know that...?

It’s the undead giant of Doom (scrolling) and his skeletal army, reaching you from everywhere - their bony hands pop right from the ground and grasp you. The undead touch strikes you to the heart, withering it, emptying it, leaving no balance and harmony.

Steam Games Giant

— Ready to let some STEAM out?

What is left (of your resources) is just burned. The Fire Giant poisons you with engulfing rage. It’s raining fire, with lakes of lava everywhere. If you are burned in one such lake, it means you didn’t burn in another one (what a miss!). The fire isn’t picky, it can consume anything. There is a game for everyone, for every mood, style, skill and time slot.

Our weapons against all of this are our ability to create, free will to experiment, to learn, and the ability to control our lives.

I don’t mean, of course, that we shouldn’t watch videos, read news, or play games. I strongly believe that people should do different things to develop diversely, keep up with the times, and just have fun. I do mean however that it is important to acknowledge and respect your enemies. Realize that it is in their best interest to take as much time from you as possible. And they have astronomically more resources to pursue such a goal - compared to yours to resist it. Ok - give them some, but not more - leave something for yourself.

P.S. This post was written during sick leave, by potentially not a healthy mind.

/hobby/ /engineering/ /thoughts/