I love my hobbies / interests. But I've grown jaded.
November 5, 2014 7:12 PM   Subscribe

For a while now I've wished to gain new hobbies / interests but I don't know what to look for.

I've grown jaded due to not gaining new hobbies / interests for about half a year now and have been craving that intense passion I feel the first few months after 'discovering' a new hobby / interest. My most recent thing is collecting fountain pens and ink; and the direct predecessor to that, naturally, was penpalling. Though these are fairly new things to me and I'm still highly interested in them, by now the novelty factor of them has gone down and they no longer bring me as much excitement as they once did.

So I'm asking you folks of Ask MetaFilter to throw out suggestions of hobbies you think most people—or at least I—should give a shot.

If it helps, here's a list that contains (but a fraction of the) things I'm fond of:

  • Audiophile gear. (Mostly vintage speakers and headphones new and old)
  • Books. (I collect horror anthologies and first editions by authors whose works I'm fond of. Sadly, due to a lack of space, I've slowed down on this big time)
  • Bottles. (I collect mostly old bottles but also all unique beer / pop / etc. bottles I encounter. Been into this since childhood after finding tons of old pop bottles in a bush near a baseball diamond where, in the 50s, baseball players apparently would throw their pop bottles after drinking their contents)
  • Coins. (I collect mostly old coins but also all unique coins I encounter)
  • Fountain pens and fountain pen ink.
  • Fragrances (something I've enjoyed since Pi by Givenchy—the fragrance that made me gain an appreciation for fragrances—hit the market in the late 90s. Prior to this I had been exposed mostly to boring aquatics)
  • Oldschool wet shaving. (You know, with a brush, shaving soap, a DE razor, etc.)
  • Rock / gemstone / mineral etc. collecting. (I've had an interest in this since childhood when someone in my family brought back with them Apache Tears from the Arizona Desert)
  • Snail mail.
Thank you kindly.
posted by GlassHeart to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
It occurs to me that most of these hobbies are about collecting material items. Have you considered hobbies that are about experiences? Maybe opera-going, riding motorcycles or visiting aquariums (three of my favorites)?
posted by workerant at 7:17 PM on November 5, 2014 [10 favorites]

Yeah, try experiential hobbies; they don't take up space and every occasion is unique. If you have to scratch the collector bug there's souvenirs like ticket stubs and commemorative photos/selfies at the place/you doing the thing. Hiking, small concerts, new restaurants, museums, marathons, charity drives...

Then there's the maker hobbies. These do end up with collections and can take up tons of space but you also get results you can give away or use yourself. Crochet and knitting, sewing, embroidery, painting, drawing. (Drawing can be neatly combined with hiking, actually.) Woodworking, metalsmithing, glassblowing, bookbinding, carving. Robotics and programming - arduino classes are becoming more common. Go nuts! But maybe think about keeping the collecting to a minimum.
posted by Mizu at 7:31 PM on November 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

I took up making masks out of clay for a while, but it's been a while. My current hobby (two years) is puppetry and puppet collecting. I tie this into my love of video and built a recording studio in my basement (video as well obviously). This also allows me to do spoken word and soundscape type stuff.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:51 PM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hand in hand with experiential hobbies would be hobbies that involve other people! Try joining a local adult rec sports league. They exist in varieties from the usual soccer/basketball/golf/etc to ultimate frisbee/volleyball/anything. All skill levels play (and I mean all skill levels). You could also always take lessons to begin with.

If sports aren't your thing (and I encourage you to try them even if you don't think they are, or they haven' been to this point in your life), perhaps something like live music might work. Or beer brewing and appreciation - it's fun to do, has tons of gadgets, and it's nice to have people over to try different things. Or become a foodie and have people over for food. This can be anything from gourmet meals to baking to canning. Something a little more outward-facing might be a great change for you!
posted by hepta at 7:53 PM on November 5, 2014

I find that both Volksmarching and NPS stamp collecting nicely combine the desire to collect a physical thing (for Volksmarching, it's badges and entries in my record book, for the NPS it's cancellations in my passport) with an experience (walking). Plus I can meet new people in a low-pressure, low-key way. Both allow for varying levels of geekery as my interest in them waxes and wanes.
posted by OrangeDisk at 8:03 PM on November 5, 2014

Maybe you're overthinking this.
You're saying "I'm bored with these things, please choose something similar to them." Maybe what you need to do is join a class or activity completely orthogonal to anything you are interested in or good at. Say, rock climbing. If you like it, great! If you hate it, well hey, at least you got some passionate response to an activity. But commit to doing it for X weeks before you begin. After those X weeks, you're allowed to quit. Don't think about it, just do it, and see what happens.
posted by deathpanels at 8:07 PM on November 5, 2014

Quilting! You get to do the collecting part twice over: collecting the fabric, then collecting the quilts that you've made. And novelty is high; you never make the same quilt twice, and there are always new techniques to learn.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:08 PM on November 5, 2014

I agree with the people who say these are mostly collecting hobbies. And nothing wrong with that.

But I do think considering taking things you like to collect and making something out of them ... that could be great. You like minerals/gemstones -- explore jewelry making! (Coins could work there too!) A lot of bottle projects seem silly to me, but those exist (making glasses, lamps, etc.). If you like fragrances, find ways to use them -- make your own mixes of scented oils.

What are you doing with the fountain pens and ink? Maybe explore calligraphy or something along those lines. It's easier than you think and a lot of fun.

I too am a huge fan of collecting stuff and tend to decide "oh, I'll figure out what to do with that later" but I find I'm happier when I collect things for the purpose of making them into something else.
posted by darksong at 8:13 PM on November 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Audiophile? Vintage gear? Try noodling with analog synthesizers!
posted by infinitewindow at 8:30 PM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

...or build yourself an amp.
posted by pompomtom at 8:58 PM on November 5, 2014

Nthing experiential things.

Since you like collecting, what about some sort of crafting? I like the suggestions of jewelry making and calligraphy. What about glass-blowing or metalwork? Illustration?

A lot of your interests seem like they have to do with history. So what about reenacting or some kind of local history thing? Or just making a habit of going to more museums, lectures, tours, and other history/material culture type activities near you?
posted by Sara C. at 9:06 PM on November 5, 2014

Audiogon.com is crack for audiophiles and gearheads. Buy one month; sell a little later for 10% more or less.

Volkssporting, hiking, and biking; done right cost little and the health benefits are fantastic.
posted by buzzman at 9:10 PM on November 5, 2014

Hi, I'm a collector too. If you're like me, you find the first flush of collecting is actually more about learning something new and an unknown area of knowledge, and then you reach a certain point where you've learned enough you either have to wholly commit to an obsessive collection or let it slowly putt along in the background. Background always wins over commitment because there's just so many interesting things out there you know nothing about.

But there's a lot of "stuff" involved. And money. And what you're*really* collecting is knowledge.

While the "experience" thing is cool, if you're like me, you need something tangible or unique that has value in a knowledge kind of way. For example, going to concerts just doesn't cut it because it doesn't beckon to me with the same kind of knowledge gain that, say, learning about model trains and collecting them does. YMMV in what kind of experience works.

So I got into what is essentially list making in a really big way - listing various kinds of "experiences" in some areas that require me to learn a whole ton, has some kind of souvenir value that scratches the urge to collect, yet gets me out there with minimal expense and materials. Here are some of my own examples that might inspire you - they're more nature oriented, but it may give you a sense of the breadth of how you could play with your experience "list making":

*Collecting a bottle of water from every major river/lake in your province;
*Visiting every building in town built from local stone and taking a photo;
*Seeing and photographing every kind of mammal in my area;
*Visiting every significant topographic high;
*Rare or "only place in the world" flora and fauna types;
*collecting a significant rock or fossil from every time period present in my state (your province) (for which I then built a chronological display)
*geographic anomalies (for you, say, the Canadian shield or a salt water coastline) or geographic distinctions - every kind of ecological area (prairie, forest, tundra); boundaries or latitude/longitude etc.

I'm also struck by how many of your hobbies aren't just about collecting - they're grounded in very sensory ways: sound, tactile, smell. So perhaps a similar "experience" list for you might be:

*hear a concert in every theater in your area (which requires learning about all the theaters);
*plants! plants are wonderfully fulfilling to the senses. You could grow succulents, roses, herbs, orchids...you could try and collect a leaf from every kind of willow or tree native to the province; you could attempt a mini- native grass prairie in your backyard - there's a lot.
*recording a speaker from every First Nation speaking their language;
*try all the different kind of snowshoe shapes that exist;
*something in textiles like the quilting idea;
*pipe tobacco types
*making or tasting different types of bread

Also from your list I get the sense there's a discovery aspect involved - the thrill of the unknown kind of coming into your life unexpectedly that sets you off on your course. Perhaps then what you really need to do is get out and about, if only to multiple the chances that you'll discover that new hobby, whether it's seeing a port and deciding to visit all the ports in a certain area of Canada or something as simple as noticing there's a lot of different types of axes out there because in your wanderings you went into a hardware store.
posted by barchan at 9:26 PM on November 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

I was at the gift shop at Mauna Loa this past summer and they had a National Park passport book in which to collect stamps (ink stamps) from each national park in the US. Collecting and experiential! Spend time between trips learning all about the park (history, ecology, etc) and planning the trip.

Japan has a similar thing at tourist sites (ink stamps to stamp your journal with) and collecting them is kind of a 'thing'.
posted by jrobin276 at 9:58 PM on November 5, 2014

What about signing up for Dabbler for a few months to get some new ideas?

posted by eloeth-starr at 11:05 PM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Learning Japanese + calligraphy.

Electronics - learn to fix your stereo equipment.
posted by kjs4 at 1:09 AM on November 6, 2014

Gardening. Novelty in raising seedlings, even if it's just herbs in the kitchen window. Optional social aspect. Exotic species can be researched and collected.
posted by ana scoot at 1:21 AM on November 6, 2014

Learn to draw.

Draw your treasures.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:20 AM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I find every time I go to a big chain crafts store*, I go up and down every aisle and come across 3 or 4 new hobby ideas that I'm enthusiastic about. (Last time I went, I got into the idea of scrap-booking, painting bird-houses, models, wreath-making, and necklace/jewelry making.)

Might this approach help you discover new hobbyist ideas that you weren't even aware existed? Another thought: the crafts magazines that they carry in these stores (and bookshops obv) are very useful for brain-storming.

*NOT Hobby fucking Lobby
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:10 AM on November 6, 2014

Knitting. You can scratch the itch to collect by starting a yarn collection.
posted by pintapicasso at 4:25 PM on November 6, 2014

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