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I have a lot of hobbies, to the point that I even describe myself that way on my About page. Many of these are carried over from childhood, others I picked up as an adult, mostly from seeing cool things on Reddit and deciding to try them.

Music was my first love. I started in elementary school with trombone and piano. I didn’t keep up with the piano lessons, but trombone became my primary instrument. My freshman year of high school, my band director told me I was pretty good at it and I should get private lessons outside of school. That trombone teacher was the first person to install a real desire to practice and get better at the craft and I will forever be grateful to him for that. His guidance brought me to many auditioned ensembles in high school that are still some of my favorite memories. I’ve had some struggles keeping up with that, but I still love the instrument and play in a wonderful amateur orchestra that keeps challenging me. Over the years, I picked up other instruments with various levels of success, including guitar, alto sax, bass, and a particularly fun stint teaching someone to play tuba as I was playing the instrument for the first time myself. I went through phases of songwriting and composing, trying to record music and develop that skill. The goal was always to put those recordings out into the world, but that never happened and that’s ok. I had a great time doing it, although it was often frustrating.

For a long time, motorsports were the only sports I watched. I started watching NASCAR on a whim in 2007 and was immediately hooked. It didn’t take long to find Grand Am sports car racing (now IMSA), Indycar, Formula 1, and all the other random racing they showed on SPEED Channel before it was folded into FS1. I loved the competition, the engineering, and the spectacle of speed at the track. This love of motorsports got me into simracing after I was frustrated with the arcade-style racing games I was used to playing. This was probably the first hobby I found on Reddit, where I discovered Assetto Corsa and Project Cars 2. A desire for more competitive online racing brought me to iRacing which is where I spend almost all of my video game time today. Don’t listen to the people saying “It’s not a video game, it’s a simulator”. It’s still a video game.

Reddit also brought me to a few other hobbies. A minor interest in houseplants lead me to r/gardening, which lead to r/nativeplantgardening and r/nolawns where I learned to love the concept of individual gardening action to support biodiversity and fight habitat loss. Me thinking I should ride my bike again in 2020 lead me to cycling (with everyone else early in the pandemic) as a hobby and excercise, watching the Tour de France, and learning about public infrastructure, the disasterous influence cars have had an our society, and public transit. I had multiple attempts at getting good at photography, rekindling an interest in amateur radio, and an attempt at getting into inline skating. (That one was around the same time as a back injury, which didn’t go well) I got into homebrewing hard cider (because beer seemed too difficult), coffee, and cooking. These were all driven by seeing cool things online (mostly Reddit) and wanting to try it for myself.

I’ve spent a lot of time on r/homelab and r/selfhosted and setting up a bunch of services I run myself. This, among other things, led me to learning about the absolute mess that is Big Tech and their influence on society. That influenced me setting up this website as a place I own for me to write and getting into Mastodon and the Fediverse, interacting with some really awesome people there.

In the last few years, I rediscovered a love of reading that I’ve thoroughly documented here. I basically replaced scrolling on my phone before bed with reading, which has been an incredible improvement in my life. As of this writing, I’ve posted about 67 books I’ve read. Reading has gotten me interested in writing fiction which I’ve been doing on and off for the last year. I don’t have anything I’d consider successful yet, but I’m trying to get better and the process has been enjoyable.

I often feel like I don’t have enough time for all my hobbies, which is frustrating. Even worse, when I’m spending a lot of time on one it feels like I’m neglecting the others. This is most common with music because it’s very noticeable when I haven’t been practicing. I used to give myself a hard time about this, but I’ve come to reject that. One of the great joys of life is doing things that make me happy just for the enjoyment of it. Involvement in each of these hobbies comes in waves that capture my attention for a while before I’m drawn to something else. That’s perfectly fine. It’s ok if I don’t spend a minimum amount of time on a particular hobby each week and it’s fine if I don’t touch some for months or years. It’s not work and it’s ok for me to just enjoy what is bringing me joy today, knowing the others will be there for me when I need them.