No matter how much you love your work, I have discovered that it is an even more wonderful thing to lead a fulfilling life if you also have passions that you adore, which are disconnected from your employment. Your work life should feed your hobby world; that’s how I see it.
My oldest friend and I have been writing the story of our childhoods spent together on the East Coast of England. It has been an epic, rambling journey of digging for old pictures, scanning images, rooting up old memories, laughing all over again (truthfully, we never stop doing that) at our mish mash of memories from 50-plus years ago and then mining deep for some more. For the last several months, this has been our “hobby” of sorts — an infatuation that eats up the hours and has seen me abducting and scanning everyone’s photo albums the world over.
My friend Lizzie perhaps never realized what a great writer she is, not to mention a skilled designer and paginator now of the literary world. Maybe this will open new and amazing doors for her in the future! She did the design and layout of my last book, “The Soup Diaries,” that I was extremely proud of, and here we are, Project Central all over again. Because Lizzie’s mega passion is sailing (like big sailing, not just pootling around a bay) and she has signed up for, not one, but two legs of the Clipper-Round-the-World race, we are under the gun, as it were, to get this book project under our belts, so that she can sail the high seas come January with our childhood project firmly under the proverbial belt.
Of course, my goal is always to have a new book out in time for the Christmas rush, but it will definitely not happen this year. “The South Lookout – Our Aldeburgh Childhood” will likely appear in print and kindle — for you non-paper readers — by the end of the year. We couldn’t be more excited.
I wish more people read books, I wish more were excited by local authors like myself; but then I have to understand that writing and reading are my hobbies, not necessarily others’. “How do you find the time?” is a question often asked of me. I have a full-on life of other passions including animal rescue, traveling and 49ers football, ha ha, plus a little real estate job on the side. I don’t watch much television or troll on social media. I make the time because it’s my passion. Simply, it fulfills my existence.
“He loves that stupid hunting!” My daughter complains about her boyfriend during duck season. “That’s his hobby, his passion. We all need them!” I tell her. “You need to work on your hobbies. Can’t be all about the work and the nursing and the school!” (Though I was the same at her age — all about making money and moving ahead in life.)
If you don’t have a hobby or three like me, how about finding a cause? That can be just as fulfilling, maybe more so. Back at the end of 2015, when we were mulling over thoughts of forming an animal rescue and organizing what we were already doing, it was the cause in my heart that bred the plan. It took a while to get the plan operational, as it were; and it certainly was not pretty out the gate, but now I look at the charity, South County Animal Rescue (SCAR), that has become a near household name in these parts; and I am proud to be one of the founders of this incredible cause.
My hobby, my passion actually developed into a living, breathing entity that saves lives — and will, I hope, well after I am just a name that is slightly affiliated with it. Too many folk are self-oriented, quiet in their own little worlds of friends and family, that, let’s face it, can fill your world quite easily. Add a job into that mix and you may get 7-8 hours sleep a night. But it’s not really enough, is it. Could you spare a few hours to volunteer at a soup kitchen, at a school — for your local animal rescue, for crying out loud? You might be surprised how much that can fill your heart, without necessarily sending your daily life into overdrive.
Animal people know how all-consuming rescue life can be. It eats you up because the need is so huge. Perhaps you can solicit some people from your life who are not so busy to be engaged in your cause? Maybe they could foster an animal, help save a life, do something larger than themselves? I cannot tolerate people who are full of their own misery and do nothing for others. There is little purpose in the world with that kind of outlook, in my opinion. We can all do something outside of ourselves to make a difference, enhance a life — maybe even your own.
I have known too many narcissists in my life that just take up space with their own inward-looking eyes. Don’t be that. Be part of the solution, the help, the hearts that give not take.
In animal rescue right now, we are in crisis. With the closing of the Salinas Shelter — yeah, it’s all about money and budgets and where can we cut now — our County Shelter is overflowing and faced daily with horrible decisions of who dies next. Did you know that? Perfectly adoptable fur babies are having their lives snuffed out because there is no room at the shelter and no place to put them. Better just to kill them? My culture and nature find that abominable. It hurts my heart every time I see an outreach from the shelter, knowing where this path will lead. What kind of civilized nation are we that allows murder like this? Not civilized at all, if you ask me.
I wish I had a boarding house for all the unwanted. I already have nine canines at my house — and the mixing of the personalities is a daily challenge I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But it’s better than the alternative.
If you can’t foster for an overflowing shelter, could your mother, brother, daughter? You might be surprised how life-enhancing it is to be a part of the life-saving solution. To be engaged in something outside of yourself.
Please give it some thought and then apply to be a foster parent today at scar.pet. The life you might save may well be your own.
Find your passion. Build a passion. It makes for a much better world.