Beginner

Throwing caution to the wind and ignoring my complaints about never having time to accomplish the goals I’ve set out to do, I’m doing something utterly reckless. The decision was not made impulsively like so many in the past, but slowly over the course of several months. Like when the resolution was made to leave the familiar world of Windows and pick up a Mac, and like when the commitment to emigrate from Canada for Japan took place, the careful use of time to studiously consider the consequences has served me well. In this particular case, the question was whether I should attempt to make a podcast or not.

Why pick up another hobby, though? Just how many pastimes can a person have and still enjoy each and every one of them? Writing software is both a fancy as well as something I can do at the day job in an informal role. Blogging is an activity that I’ve enjoyed since 2004 when it replaced the older indulgence of journalling1. In addition to this, other pastimes include cooking, designing, sketching, reading, listening to music, listening to podcasts, playing the occasional video game, painting, photography, consuming documentaries, attending lectures on scientific matters, and gazing at the night sky2. Why start yet another activity that I know next to nothing about?

Thinking about this and other hobbies that I’ve picked up over the years, it’s obvious that I’m essentially a beginner. I like to start new things, be it a casual pastime or a serious project. The early stages of discovery is where my heart truly lies. Seeing tasks through to completion, while certainly possible, is not where my focus lies. Heck, one can see this just by looking at the 1,592 incomplete and abandoned blog posts in my drafts folder. I am a beginner.

There are a number of projects that I do carry on for a long period of time, and there are even some blog posts that I manage to get close enough to a state of completion for their publication to become viable. But these are the exceptions to the rule. Unless something is incredibly interesting from start to finish, there just won’t be enough energy or reason to see a task through to the end. I certainly hope this will not be the case shouldI become a father one day.

Into the Great Wide Open

Podcasting is something that I’ve attempted on a few occasions without a reasonable amount of success. Shows were planned, researched, structured, and recorded, but none reached that stage of being “done”. I just wasn’t satisfied with the end result because I didn’t know enough to make the product I ultimately wanted to create. Many months of research later, I believe I have a better understanding of what needs to be done in order to produce a podcast worth listening to. There is still a lot to learn, though. I’m just beginning …

One of the many wonderful things about picking up a new hobby is the search for answers. We are usually full of questions, no matter the subject. We want to know what’s possible. What’s impossible. What can we do? What can’t we do? Who are some of the more professional people we can learn from? How can we accomplish X, Y, or Z? Do we need to A, B, or C in order to D? A thousand questions wait to be answered for those who dare to ask the questions … and I ask a lot of questions3.

Even if podcasting eventually returns to a passive hobby where I simply consume the content put out by many of the great producers across the Internet there will be new skills learned that can be applied to other fields. Programming helped me better understand how to teach people. Teaching people helped me better understand programming. Painting helped me to better appreciate art, just like seeing art helped me better paint. Every new thing we learn can help in other fields, and I expect podcasting will help me better appreciate sound. At the end of the day, what I expect from taking up a hobby is to learn something new, and enjoy the process along the way. Hopefully this is the same reason other people start something new, too.