I consider myself a person of many hobbies, I love gardening, gadgets, collecting stamps, collecting coins, collecting fountain pens, horology, photography, running, and reading books. Running and reading have their obvious rewards, the endorphins released by exercise make me feel good, and reading expands the mind. I love getting new information from books.
For a while I wondered what made me like my other hobbies. Was there some underlying concept that drew me to them? I think I have finally figured it out, and its related to my love of reading. I am strongly attracted to anything with a technical component — anything I can nerd out on, so to speak.
For example, I love photography for the photos that come out at the end, of course, but I am more drawn in by the process of setting the correct exposure on my camera. The effect of the shutter speed, ISO and aperture on the exposure of the photo — as well as the creative effects of these settings (controlling depth of field, freezing motion or creating motion blur), are what excite me most. Likewise, I am drawn by the technical side of photo post-processing in Lightroom.
Similarly, I love collecting stamps because, in addition to being beautiful miniature pieces of art, they also tell me a lot about the history of many different countries and places. The technology used to print them — intaglio, photolithography, etc — interest me as much, if not more, than the final products themselves. As do the different ways they are perforated, the errors that can occur during their printing, how overprinting/surcharging can change the purpose of a stamp, and so on. These concepts are what excite me.
For each of my hobbies, I am drawn in by the technical side, it’s what attracts me. I spend a lof of time learning about, for example, the effects of the interplay of nib size, ink type and paper type on the written word. Or the different metals and alloys used to make coins, or the technical aspects of plants, how they flower, how they are affected by pruning, the best way to prune them to maximize flowers or fruits, how their root systems interact with the surrounding, the effect of pot type and size on potted plants and so on.
Each of my hobbies have a technical component, and getting seeped in the knowledge surrounding the hobby is what makes me like it. Of course, I enjoy the actual hoppy — I enjoy looking at my stamps and searching for ones I really like and the acquiring them, but I also love learning about the process of making stamps, the postal system and all the other technical aspects surrounding stamps.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I am a computer engineer by education, and what attracted me to that field is the combination of technical knowledge and creativity involved in engineering in general and in software and digital hardware design in specific. I guess it is natural that my love of this combination also extends to my leisure activities.