From toy to boredom repellant: The joy of a hobby

By: Isaac Pena, Pulse Staff Reporter

A Plethora of Interests: Figures, Models, Trains, Pins, Planes, Cars, Lego and more.

There once was a time and a place where the world we lived in was not dominated by the Internet, Netflix and our smartphones.  In this day and age, most of today’s youth will have their faces buried in a phone or video game.  Not a day goes by where a person pulls up their phone to look something up or do some online shopping.  What about the days when the internet or the TV just doesn’t seem to provide?  People need something to pass the time.  So, you pull up the phone to look up ways to pass boredom.  For many people, the answer is a hobby.

To prevent “utter boredom” people will often indulge in a hobby.  Usually these will vary depending on a person’s interest; which can range from LEGO sets to stamps to collectable figures.  I myself collect and operate model trains, a hobby that has been around since the day real trains started roaming the rails, among others that you can see above.  Other unique hobbies include crushed pennies, postcards, collecting pins and even historical memorabilia like cars or planes!

Hobbies are a great way to pass the time because these hobbies allow you to learn new life-skills.  People collect LEGO sets to build a massive city.  Other kinds of hobbies include collecting historical memorabilia.  People will build scale kits of tanks or airplanes or collect real historical memorabilia to tell stories about the past to our current and future generation.

Railroading is a hobby in of itself.  I grew up watching train shows and got train sets as a child, and then I started photographing the real trains.  I still find more interest in collecting the models since I find it hard to catch unique and interesting trains around my area.  Most model railroaders have a layout of some sort and oftentimes belong to a club where they publicly or privately run trains.

The unique thing about these kinds of hobbies are not the kinds of layouts you can build or how massive one’s collection can be, but rather the skills acquired while partaking in these hobbies.  Many of these hobbies teach you skills in carpentry, woodworking and generally being creative.  People who build giant LEGO cities have to be creative.  Many unique home-built creations were done without any form of instruction booklet, relying solely on the person’s knowledge of certain LEGO pieces.  Building model kits requires knowledge of certain tools like drill bits, cementing and painting. 

Model trains will often inadvertently teach you skills as well.  Such skills can vary depending on the hobby.  Creativity, Painting, Woodworking, Electrical, Carpentry, the list can go on!  Many model trains often come in kit forms.  Model railroading also teaches you some electrical skills, such as soldering wires, using certain amounts of power and more.  Model train layouts will often have city or lighted buildings of some sort, such as stations, signal lights and the trains themselves and one will learn the uses of soldering, blocks and more while going through the process of building a layout.  The most important one is of course a layout.  You’ll learn woodworking, using large-scale and small-scale tools, painting and more! A layout needs a base, so you’ll likely construct it.  Backdrops can be painted, and you can create the landscape of your choice.

Phones will always get replaced, TVs will always be replaced, computers and internet sources will always be replaced, but the kit that you build will remain for ages to come if well taken care of.  The hobby is one that can be passed down to future generations.  Many people who’ve built railroad layouts run them with their great grandkids and then the kids will pass the trains down to their kids and so on.  It’s a healthy interest that can get you engaged not only with family but a whole community.  I one day hope to pass down my trains to my kids and see them partake in the interest as I do.

Modern technology allows us to browse the internet from almost anyplace in the world, but there comes a time and a place to unplug.  So if you have the old LEGO set disassembled in a box somewhere, take it out and reassemble it.  You might realize the potential, and re-embark on the journey to a truly unique hobby.  That one set could grow into a small city, the city then growing to a country, the country to the entire world.  Your own world, created with your own two hands.

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