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New Hobbies
Old 07-09-2011, 05:52 AM   #1
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New Hobbies

I'm still adjusting to retirement (Retirement Date 12/31/2010), but enjoying it immensely! Now, I always had summers off (school year schedule) but now the fun won't end with Labor Day, and I can look forward to autumn and traveling when the crowds thin out!

But this post is about the unexpected delights of retirement. Upon retirement, I looked ahead to spending more time with my favorite hobbies and activities; but I have also discovered new interests and hobbies that I hadn't even imagined.

Several months ago, while wandering in a bookstore, I picked up - on a whim - "The Cloud Collector's Handbook" by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. It's a fascinating guide to cloud formations, the variety of formations, why they form, and the spectacular beauty of clouds. At the time, there wasn't much to see in the skies of Pennsylvania, since it was full-on winter, but every time the skies would clear, I'd watch the clouds, book in hand, as excited as a kid to see a particular formation.

The handbook has beautiful pictures, and is designed to allow the reader to make notes on when and where a formation was spotted and the weather conditions. I didn't know there are quite rare cloud formations! It even gives cloud-collecting points for each formation, and you can keep a tally. Taking pictures is important, and I'm getting better at keeping my camera with me whenever I'm out. I'm always looking toward the skies, now. And yes, there is a Cloud Appreciation Society (www.cloudappreciationsociety.org), although I haven't joined (yet).

What hobbies and interests have others discovered by chance and serendipity, and allowed to flourish in the freedom of retirement? Have you found a unexpected hobby or interest that surprised and delighted you?
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:13 AM   #2
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Been retired for almost 5 years. Before retirement we planned new hobbies like astronomy and more extensive travel. Travel has worked out but haven't done much on the astronomy front yet. Instead took up downhill skiing and mountain biking. This is mostly because we moved to the mountains although cause and effect a little connected. i figure as long as we can persue more active hobbies we should. As we get older there will hopefully be plenty of time for birdwatching, cruising, stamp collecting, etc.
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:46 AM   #3
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Nothing totally new for hobbies, but having more fun doing same ones... in my own time slot choice instead of when I could squeeze them in.
Gardening is still my biggest hobby. It is very good moderate exercise.
New activities include going to Legion functions with Mr B, meeting people from all walks of life instead of just techies from w*rk, volunteering for some of the grunt tasks only instead of being in charge.
I took 3 fabulous trips to FL last year, but haven't traveled much this year. I may use some of my free airline miles in the fall when Mr B goes full time to college, or wait until colder weather here. TBD based on my budget being impacted by high gas prices.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:34 AM   #4
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My "new hobbies" phase occurred when I semi-retired back in 2001, 7 years before I fully ERed in 2008.

Back in 2001 when I switched from full-time to part-time work, and had a mostly telecommuting gig for 2 years, I took on a new hobby and resurrected an old one. The new hobby as becoming involved in my local school Scrabble (see my screen name?) program. In the late 1990s, I had played in many local adult Scrabble tourneys but had become disenchanted with them and how they run. In early 2001, I received a brochure for the school Scrabble program and I liked it so I hung on to it because I knew by the time the next school year began later in 2001 I would have the time to do it. My PT-telecommute gig began in August and that gave me time to go through the application process and in late October I was contacted by the first of several local schools I have been visiting for 10 years now. Over the years, my role has expanded to the point where I run tourneys among the schools I visit. I find it far more satisfying than playing in adult tourneys.

The hobby I resurrected is square dancing. I first began doing that when I was a teenager in the 1970s, did it off and on in the 1980s, then did not fo it for 13 years because my work schedule wore me out too much to do anything physical at night. But the telecommute gig removed most of my awful commute, enabling me to do stuff in the evening. I had to drop down one level from where I was in 1988 and it took a little time to regain my skills but after a few months I had regained my skills and not only got back to my former level but have since gone up one more level since I ERed, enabling me to dance as many as 3 nights per week.

I resurrected an indoor hobby, the Strat-o-Matic tabletop baseball game I played for many years in the 1970s and 1980s but played little of in the 1990s.

I expanded my interest in reading books in the last 10 years, whether they are from the library or books I bought or books I received as gifts. Most of the time, I am reading a book unless I am between books and waiting to go to the library or bookstore to buy/get more.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:36 AM   #5
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I still remember the day of plaid clouds. An upper layer of cirrus forming one set of lines and a breaking series of lines on cumulus in a cross wind forming a second layer. The two together made a plaid and was something that I have never witnessed before or since. I was at w**k and couldn't get a camera.
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:23 AM   #6
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Interests change I suppose. For almost two decades I was heavily involved in radio control model airplanes, then I suppose "plateaued" with it and lost interest. Now I'm reviving an interest in photography and love the digital camera, in large part because experimentation is free since there's no processing cost.

Speaking of clouds, here's one I shot playing around with exposure and RAW settings. The first is "as shot" and the second is the result of playing with exposure, vibrance, color, and so on:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Clouds_07-06-11_2787-origin.jpg (154.9 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg Clouds_07-06-11_2787.jpg (245.2 KB, 29 views)
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:04 AM   #7
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No real new hobby of sort. I guess the closest thing is fixing stuff around the apt for a friend. I help her with handyman type stuff, in return I learn new handyman skills and get to check out all the cool new tools that they have in stores such as Home Depot or Menards. Over the past month, among other things, I've installed some shelving in her laundry room and utility closet, a programable thermostat to save $ on electricity and a new (comfortable) low-flow shower head with shut off valve to save $ on water.

Plus, I picked up a new cordless drill set for myself

This is an other way of life as I used to never to handyman type stuff pre-ER.

And of course, my continuing hobby is just sitting around enjoying ER!
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrabbler1
My "new hobbies" phase occurred when I semi-retired back in 2001, 7 years before I fully ERed in 2008.

Back in 2001 when I switched from full-time to part-time work, and had a mostly telecommuting gig for 2 years, I took on a new hobby and resurrected an old one. The new hobby as becoming involved in my local school Scrabble (see my screen name?) program. In the late 1990s, I had played in many local adult Scrabble tourneys but had become disenchanted with them and how they run. In early 2001, I received a brochure for the school Scrabble program and I liked it so I hung on to it because I knew by the time the next school year began later in 2001 I would have the time to do it. My PT-telecommute gig began in August and that gave me time to go through the application process and in late October I was contacted by the first of several local schools I have been visiting for 10 years now. Over the years, my role has expanded to the point where I run tourneys among the schools I visit. I find it far more satisfying than playing in adult tourneys.

The hobby I resurrected is square dancing. I first began doing that when I was a teenager in the 1970s, did it off and on in the 1980s, then did not fo it for 13 years because my work schedule wore me out too much to do anything physical at night. But the telecommute gig removed most of my awful commute, enabling me to do stuff in the evening. I had to drop down one level from where I was in 1988 and it took a little time to regain my skills but after a few months I had regained my skills and not only got back to my former level but have since gone up one more level since I ERed, enabling me to dance as many as 3 nights per week.

I resurrected an indoor hobby, the Strat-o-Matic tabletop baseball game I played for many years in the 1970s and 1980s but played little of in the 1990s.

I expanded my interest in reading books in the last 10 years, whether they are from the library or books I bought or books I received as gifts. Most of the time, I am reading a book unless I am between books and waiting to go to the library or bookstore to buy/get more.
Strat-o-matic baseball ---- I had forgotten about that. That is definitely old school, blast from the past! I played that a lot back in the day, and had forgotten all about it. I googled it and I didn't realize that it carries on today, also with an online computer version.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:58 AM   #9
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I still continue with my hobby of amateur radio and now also am a member of Skywarn. You can get Skywarn free from the National Weather Service ( www.skywarn.org/) and there are beginner and advanced classes. Recognizing clouds is a big part of this. I report and severe weather either by phone or ham radio and am a member
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:03 AM   #10
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I have my continuing hobby of amateur radio and am also now involved in Skywarn. www.skywarn.org/ Skywarn classes are presented free to the public by the National Weather Service and has beginner and advanced classes. Clouds are a big part of recognizing upcoming weather and I report either by phone or ham radio to the NWS. I'm also involved in Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) in S. Georgia and N. Florida. Great hobbies!!
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:27 AM   #11
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Strat-o-matic baseball ---- I had forgotten about that. That is definitely old school, blast from the past! I played that a lot back in the day, and had forgotten all about it. I googled it and I didn't realize that it carries on today, also with an online computer version.
Strat celebrated its 50th anniversary with a party in Manhattan back in February. I did not attend it but creator Hal Richman was ther along with many Strat fanatics from all over the country and Canda. There is an online Strat forum like this one, many of whose members finally met in person. Maybe I go next time?

I don't play the PC or online versions, as I have not bought anything from the game company since the 1980s. I did acquire some cards to fill in some gaps in my collection of 1970s-1980s cards, my Strat and sports heyday.
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:01 PM   #12
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I come from a family of craft-type hobbyists. Modeling, woodworking, needlework of all kinds, painting, gardening, baking...parents or siblings or I did it/do it. I think the main reason I resent w**k, is that it keeps me from doing stuff I really like to do! One of my biggest fears is that after I retire, my eyes/hands will decline, so I will never get as good as I want to be.

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Old 07-09-2011, 12:15 PM   #13
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Since retiring, I have continued to enjoy my pre-retirement hobbies (woodworking, gardening, photography, cooking, etc...). But I also became interested in 3 new hobbies. Tinkering with shortwave radios is one of these hobbies.
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:26 PM   #14
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I still remember the day of plaid clouds. An upper layer of cirrus forming one set of lines and a breaking series of lines on cumulus in a cross wind forming a second layer. The two together made a plaid and was something that I have never witnessed before or since. I was at w**k and couldn't get a camera.
Oh, that sounds lovely! You can't know when you'll see something like that, and you might never see it again. I guess I need to find a small camera that I can always keep in my handbag.
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:38 PM   #15
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Interests change I suppose. For almost two decades I was heavily involved in radio control model airplanes, then I suppose "plateaued" with it and lost interest. Now I'm reviving an interest in photography and love the digital camera, in large part because experimentation is free since there's no processing cost.

Speaking of clouds, here's one I shot playing around with exposure and RAW settings. The first is "as shot" and the second is the result of playing with exposure, vibrance, color, and so on:
I can see how photography can become an absorbing interest. And as you mentioned, a digital camera makes the learning/experimentation process affordable. I haven't yet tried enhancing any of my photos, but the results - as seen in your pics - are amazing.
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:56 PM   #16
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Have you found a unexpected hobby or interest that surprised and delighted you?
Yes - brewing! And travel, woodworking, boating, bicycling, landscaping/gardening, computer/gps gadgets. And i want to add photography in the future.
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Old 07-09-2011, 05:12 PM   #17
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So far I am trying to learn to play golf - I know it is hard and I am not an athlete but I still can't hit a decent drive (decent = 100 yards so I'm not too picky).

I have always loved to cook and definitely put more time and creativity into it now. Joined a CSA for the first time and have had to find recipes for several interesting veggies (did you know roasted radishes are delicious?).

Recently I've taken up knitting prayer shawls - I had knitted a bit way back in jr. high school but not since then. I find it very relaxing and I don't have to worry about what to make as they all go to people who need them.

Still have gardening on my list (need a massive landscape overhaul first - that's planned for September) and getting my pictures into scrapbooks (which I do try to work on occasionally).

Oh yeah, almost forgot - keeping up with these forums!
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Old 07-09-2011, 05:22 PM   #18
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I have always had more interests than I had time to pursue those interests. I am the same person now that I was before I retired, so these are still my interests. And now, I have the time to pursue them to a greater extent than previously.

I can't think of anything new that suddenly interests me but didn't interest me before retirement. I'm sure that one of these days, something like this will come along, though. When it does, I'll probably have the time to pursue it and I'll jump in with both feet.
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:20 PM   #19
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Shortly before I retired I started selling on ebay and for me it is a hobby . It has gotten me into photography and marketing . I limit the amount of time I spend on it and I know it is not a traditional hobby but it's still my hobby . I also revived my embroidery hobby when my daughter was pregnant and made all my grandson's bibs . I occasionally take cooking classes and last year was the learn to make great pizza year .
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:19 AM   #20
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I haven't yet tried enhancing any of my photos, but the results - as seen in your pics - are amazing.
It all started when we bought a small digital camera, DW wanted to go to a photography class, and we were introduced to Photoshop Elements, the "consumer" version of Photoshop. Elements will do (so I've been told) 90% of what the full version will do but doesn't do some professional level output like CMYK files for magazine printing, and the menu options are cut down a bit.

But it still makes me go "Wow!" There is a steep learning curve though. I'd strongly recommend buying at least a couple of books on it. Great software, lousy manual.

Like so many other endeavors the more I learn about photography the more I realize how ignorant I really am.
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