This post is for all of us who live with someone who is passionate about a hobby…or hobbies. In my case, my husband is a hardcore trainiac. He belongs to a couple of model train clubs, attends lectures, presentations and workshops, sets up modules for train shows and collects trains, railroad cars, track, and so on.
He and his younger brother, also a trainiac, attend model railroad shows together, and can talk for hours about trains, train tracks, train signals, train lore, and more. Between them, they have what has to be the largest and most comprehensive collection of photo albums filled mainly with pictures of train tracks and signals. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pictures of train tracks and signals.
My best friend is married to my husband’s younger brother, and we have taken our turns at flipping the pages of many of these dusty albums, making vaguely approving comments here and there–and wondering to ourselves what in the HELL is so special about endless pictures of what seems to us pictures of the same tracks and signals over and over again.
They will tell us eagerly that this track or that is the one that the National Association of Weiner Merchants specially-built club car traveled on, or that this track has a unique system of railroad spikes in it, or that THIS one was recently demolished so that another set of track JUST LIKE IT could be built. We don’t get it at all. To us, it all looks the damn same.
However, model railroading is a timeless and rather sweet hobby that many devoted men and women love passionately. It harms no one, it doesn’t support the drug cartels, it doesn’t offend anyone, and it is a delightful way of spending one’s time–if you are a trainiac. As wives of trainiacs, we wholeheartedly support our guys in their hobby. After all, they could be out drinking and carousing with loose women or smoking stinky stogies. When they go off to a train show, they come home happy, chatty and full of news about their finds, the other trainiacs they ran into, and so on. They proudly show us boxes of with what looks like several of the same railroad car. So we kiss them and congratulate them, and we all are happy.
Here’s the thing: you may not like your partner’s *hobby; you may even hate it. But think of it this way, it makes your partner happy, and may even make them more amenable to your hobbies. My own passionate hobbies are going to bead and gem shows, making jewelry, reading, and writing. I come home from a bead show and pour out all my treasures on the couch for my husband to admire (knowing that he doesn’t know a bead from a bowling ball), and he is happy that I’m happy.
Look at the forest and not the trees–the forest being a happy, loving, fulfilled partner whose hobby may not be shared, but is appreciated. It’s just another example of the Golden Rule–do as you want done to you. (As for my best friend and me, just thinking about all those photo albums of train tracks makes us laugh every time!)
*Hobby, meaning non-creepy, non-life-threatening, non-painful, non-violent, non-dangerous, non-crazy, unhealthy or unlawful. You know what I mean.