I have just been reading The Bike Shed's post about whether to stick to one 'hobby' or have many. It is an interesting idea and I do think a lot depends upon one's personality. My first husband was a professionally-trained musician (flautist) and also went to Art School as he was deeply interested in Art. He eventually went into teaching but the two interests he kept as hobbies throughout his life. In fact they were more than hobbies. He was a great one for hobbies and throughout his sixty six years was never without a few and all became all-consuming passions.
In our first house after our marriage - a school which we converted into a house- he decorated it from top to bottom after we had it converted, then he built a lean-to greenhouse against one wall and for the five years we lived there he perfected the art of growing tomatoes. Somebody gave him an old heating system (which entailed him getting up in the night to stoke it up), he sowed the seeds every Boxing Day and grew the plants, following instructions to the letter. The cottage was out in the Lincolnshire countryside and everyone for miles around came to buy our 'Moneymaker' tomatoes. Then he got moved with his job and overnight his interest in tomatoes disappeared.
We moved to Lichfield and our neighbour was a great boating enthusiast. Overnight he began to be interested in boats - he built a couple of canoes in the garage (as did our neighbour) and we would go off at weekends with our young son, canoeing on the River Trent. Then he built a sailing boat and moved up a notch. Our neighbour (we all remained friends up until their deaths - I think about them often and am Godmother to their daughter). Then he got moved again. This time to Wolverhampton.
And here music came back to the fore. As I was also a professionally trained musician (piano) we could join in together. By this time our son was also in his teens and hoping to go to University to read Music so it was a great family affair. My husband made recorders - right through to a Great Bass - I bought a virginal (a small harpsichord) and we played early music with a Group - had groups practising at our bungalow on Friday evenings and Sunday mornings - music took over our lives. My son went off with his Double Bass to University and we stayed in Wolverhampton until we both retired from teaching and moved to The Yorkshire Dales,
Then painting took over. We only lived here three years before he sadly died but in those three years he painted hundreds of paintings (mostly watercolours), won many prizes in competitions, exhibited widely a nd sold everything he painted.
I can honestly say he had a very full and happy life. He was on The Death Railway as a young soldier (probably the youngest serving soldier to be captured as he went into the East Surrey Regiment as a Boy Soldier) and was home again before his twenty-first birthday. He managed to overcome the terrible trauma of it all thank goodness. And together we enjoyed every moment we had together.
He never let the terrible experiences of his early life colour the forty years which remained. What made me think of this today? I watched with interest the programme about Prince Harry and his father last evening and I thought - in all cases of traumatic experiences we have two choices; we either give in to them and ruin whatever time we have left or somehow (and it has never applied to me so I don't know how) with gigantic mental strength we rise above them. Thank goodness for the sake of both me and our son Malcolm chose the latter course.