April 25, 2011

You Collect What?

After a few rather weighty subjects over the last few weeks, I thought I'd take a look at something fun today: unusual hobbies. One of the joys of blogging is the time spent on the Internet researching various retirement lifestyle topics. Part of what I am learning is that humans have the ability to entertain themselves in an infinite number of ways.

Most of us have a hobby or two, something we like to indulge in during free time.  As a youngster I was a stamp and coin collector. For a few years I had a growing collection of antique table radios. Most recently, my interest has been ham (or amateur) radio. Part of my office is filled with various transmitters, receivers, scanners, and things with dials all over them. The roof of my home is crowded with half a dozen different antennas , allowing me to  talk to other amateurs all over the world, or listen to programming from hundreds of other countries.

Those outlets and use of my free time (and money) are quite mainstream. I am a hobby straight arrow compared to some of the stuff I found with little effort on the Internet. Just to prove my point that we are a rather diverse life form, here is a small sampling of actual hobbies and collections that exit:

I'm Back!
  • real war tanks (Arnold Schwarzenegger, apparently) 
  • accordions 
  • McDonald Tray liners
  • colors (I gather paint chips from Home Depot)
  • toasters
  • air sickness bags (there is a museum for this one)
  • carved egg shells
  • snow globes
  • cigar bands
  • swizzle sticks (my father-in-law did this)
  • sugar packets
  • Zippo lighters
  • Swingline staplers
  • handcuffs (don't ask)
  • cookie jars
  • barbed wire
  • soap bars
  • decorated toilet seats

If you want to make something a little out of the ordinary and are feeling medieval, there are over 600,000 sites to tell you all about making chain maille.

Friends of our family were fascinated by mead, a drink of the same time period. They made it, consumed it, and served it at parties. No one else I know found the stuff very drinkable.

In case you are looking for a hobby, or you have a lot of free time, here is a list of 217 different hobbies and activities for you to consider. Actually, if you have time to read through all these items, you do need a hobby.

As a final treat, here is a video from Youtube of some of Britain's oddest collections. It is less than 3 minutes long, so if you have the time enjoy meeting the man who collect labels from Baked Bean cans, or the lady who saves the little labels from bananas!

I thought I'd be a little silly and trivial with this post. I hope you had a smile or two. After all, a satisfying retirement is about having fun and enjoying yourself. Hobbies are one way we do so.

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  1. Hi Bob
    For many years I collected bears - I should have started with the little statues of bears since I could have put those on a shelf and they would have taken up limited space - but I liked the stuffed ones that were soft and had cute faces and were cuddly - so now here I am, an "older woman" and still have an cabinet with probably 30 bears that are like old friends - they make me smile when I look at them and when I need some comfort, all I need to do is pick one up and hug it - for a while I thought I should just give them away - but then I grew up and realized that sometimes we just need something that makes us feel like a kid again - so the bears are here to stay.

  2. Hi Pat,

    Something that makes us feel like a kid again is absolutely worth keeping...sort of like a good husband....just don't make that a collection!

  3. My wife collects all sorts of stuff. One of my favorites is her tea pot collection. I don't like tea but I like the color and unusual shapes of several of the pots.

    She used to collect sand from every place we visited. She'd store them in antique bottles and display them around the house. By the way, the sand from Bermuda really is pink and from certain beaches in Hawaii is pure black.

    I guess the idea caught on because one of my daughters started her own collection when her Navy husband brought back samples from locations where his ship docked.

  4. What a fun video! In comparison to these master collectors, I don't qualify as a collector of anything. I wish I did, so that I could justify all the stuff I have sitting around. I could say, "Oh, yes, and this is my collection of ...."

  5. Galen,

    That was the first time I used a video on a post, but it seemed to be a good ending. Did you notice that there is an actual association for people who collect the little labels from bananas? Must be the human need for belonging and validation!

  6. Gotta be real careful about collecting if you are also looking to downsize.
    Among us banjo pickers, there is an affliction among banjo collectors known as BAS (Banjo Acquisition Syndrome). Thankfully it's not too contagious........

  7. Hi Steve,

    What if you just collected the banjo picks?

    All collectors have this problem even in a hobby like ham radio. I have 11 different radios that do essentially the same thing. Why do I need nearly a dozen when one or two will do it all? Collector sickness. Luckily amateur radios are not cheap, so a budget and common sense finally bring a halt to this silliness.

  8. We collect art. It is all over the place. The challenge in the next few years is to weed and give away---starting with giving to the kids!

  9. Hi Janette,

    Do you have any particular focus: realistic, abstract, a certain period, only blue paint, or just what moves you?

    If you have a piece or two you don't know what to do with, next time you come to Phoenix I'll take them off your hands!

  10. Hey Bob,

    Most of our art is ethnic- Chinese, Native American, Arabian, European. It is pretty well "claimed" by children and family. just have to pry it out of my own hands! It is something I am working on presently.

  11. Janette,

    Sounds like an interesting collection. Yes, letting go even if to family is sometimes the toughest part of downsizing. If you know they like the art, that makes it a bit easier.

  12. Yep this was fun, loved the video. I don't think I collect anything but maybe dust bunnies. I seem to have an abundance of them. LOL

  13. Hi Sue,

    First of all, congrats to Dan on being cancer-free for 8 years. That is a true blessing.

    We all collect dust bunnies. You'll have to do better than that to qualify!

    Have a great weekend.