Change of focus

I was thinking about my latest interest in devices like the Segway Minipro and the Ninebot One and how they tied in with how my hobbies and interests have come and gone over the years.

intellivision-console-pic1Going way, way back I had two big interests as a kid, video games and baseball.  My brother and I played the hell of out of the original console video games like Intellivison, Colecovision, and the NES.  Even into my late teens and early 20’s I was borderline obsessed with console gaming. I also spent thousands of dollars in local arcades.

My obsession with baseball had a much shorter shelf life, starting around age 11 and running until I was 17-18 when an elbow injury dashed my dreams of being a major league pitcher.

In my 20’s in addition to gaming, my focus on cars and volleyball really picked up speed.  My 1969 Firebird convertible was the highlight of my car hobby in my 20’s although I owned a LOT of other vehicles.69bird1

semiceleb11Later in my 20’s and into my early 30’s volleyball took center stage in a huge way.  I used to play 3-4 times a week and during the summer playing in weekend tournaments was a very regular occurrence.  The highlight of my volleyball days of course was the epic win of the BB division in the 1999 Pottstown Rumble with my buddy Rich.  We beat out something ridiculous like 125 other teams that were in the division to win it all.  My volleyball heyday was cut short by a meniscus right knee injury that I had operated on twice. When I moved to Florida I had a 2-3 year resurrection of my volleyball career with Randall but old age and just lack of interest eventually shut that down.

Since living in Florida I have had a number of things take on a large portion of my attention.  Early on I had my first run as a RC plane enthusiast, building and flying a number of aircraft.  My hobby was bolstered by my friend Mike who was into RC on a level far exceeding mine.  We flew together quite a few times.  Unfortunately once he moved to Colorado my interest in flying dropped off majorly.  I had a resurrection in air based hobbies with the purchase of my various quadcopters, culminating with the awesome DJI Phantom Cindy bought me for Christmas a few years ago.  I still have the Phantom but have flown it very little recently.  The incident with the Yellowstone park ranger office prosecuting me for a drone flight via You Tube really left a bad taste in my mouth.

dufwolfI also became involved in the MMORPG World of Warcraft in the beginning of 2005, my first time ever playing that type of game.  There were periods of time that I was so into the game it was scary.  At one point I was playing 30-40 hours PER WEEK.  I still play the game to this day but in a much less addicted manner.  Once I started playing WoW my days of gaming on a console like my Xbox 360 pretty much ended.

About halfway into my marriage with Ali we started doing a lot more running and triathlon training.  I had done some running when I lived in PA in my late 20’s, early 30’s but nothing consistent.  For a period of a few years Ali and I entered a TON of events, mostly 5K’s but also a few triathlons.  I maxed out at the half marathon distance, which I completed three times.  A series of annoying and somewhat chronic lower body injuries derailed that hobby although I am in the process of trying to reboot things right now.

start2k12Our running also lead to another huge area of focus for nearly the last decade, my involvement with the local running club.  What started out with an email I sent to the club complaining about race results taking two weeks or more to be posted online eventually lead to me being the race timer for the club for almost 8 years.  I really enjoyed the challenge of it all early on as I introduced all sorts of things to make club races more dynamic and runner friendly.  Over time I took on more and more roles for the club, because I could.  Eventually the weight of all of those responsibilities turned the role from fun to extremely frustrating, leading to me leaving that role early this year.

ssrsamsI also had a couple revivals in my hobby car interest since living in Florida, owning an 88 Corvette, a 71 Buick Skylark convertible, and most recently the 2005 Chevy SSR.  The cycle for each purchase felt extremely similar.  I felt that buying each vehicle was going to fill some sort of void I was feeling at the time for various reasons.  Once I assumed ownership I would go through a pretty intense cycle of fixing/upgrading a number of things on each vehicle.  Once those items were addressed, when it was time to enjoy the fruits of my labor I simply didn’t do it as much as I envisioned I would have.

Now the Skylark actually burned up in a fire, but even so, once it was gone for a short period of time I felt a degree of relief.  Since selling the SSR, a vehicle I almost attached a God-like importance to initially, I have not had a moment’s regret with getting rid of it.  My new 2016 Tacoma will give me much, much more enjoyment long term than the SSR ever could have.  At this point I don’t really see myself relapsing back into the car hobbyist role but never say never.

2012lsitIn my early 40’s I really became interested in calisthenics and the bar based exercise movement, lead by the Bar-barians.  In addition to my focus on bodyweight based workouts which got me in arguably the best shape of my life, I also became involved with the Bar-barians group, first running their message board and later running monthly exercise challenges for message board users.  I even designed, set up and maintained their web site for over a year. I virtually met hundreds of people from around the world through my involvement with the group which was really, really cool as well as a few in real life, which is even cooler.  I still do a lot of calisthenics work in my exercise routine but nowhere near the same level as I did back then.

13770446_10154678705022841_5708589150240778921_nSo that brings me to my most current focus, the Minipros and more so the Ninebot One E+, my first electric unicycle.  The cycle of defeat followed by ultimate victory in learning to ride the single wheel vehicle was a feeling of accomplishment I have not matched in recent memory.  It felt very close to the feeling you have as a kid when you are able to ride a bike without training wheels for the first time.  Riding the wheel brings back many childhood feelings of doing something just because it is flat out fun and nothing else.  When I ride the wheel cares melt away, hard feelings soften, and the noise of the world is drowned out by the pleasant hum of the brushless motor pushing you along mile after mile.

Why I decided to go off on this tangent I don’t really know.  In some way while I was running at the gym I was thinking about people that make up their minds on certain things, whether they be hobbies, interests, religious beliefs or political views, and then never, ever take a moment to reconsider those options and do/think new things based on changing circumstances.  I feel badly for these people.  Somebody famous once said something to the effect of “If you are still doing and thinking about things the same way now as you did twenty years ago, you are doing something wrong”  Flip the script, it’s not a bad thing.


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