It’s common—and to an extent noble—for men to define themselves by their work. In the profane, practical sense, it is predominantly work that defines one’s relation to society, so this is to be expected. In other cases, people define themselves by their relations to others; likewise, this is no surprise and not entirely without reason. However, for any self-aware agent, there must be something else that makes life worthwhile. In our gynocentric culture, it is not uncommon for the private interests of men to be treated dismissively.. The purpose of this article is to eschew that and to provide examples of worthwhile hobbies every man should at least look into.
Programming: Learning to code is a great way to challenge yourself intellectually and practice reasoning through logical problems. Moreover, programming is an incredibly marketable skill, so you have everything to gain by trying it out.
Playing a musical instrument: Like most of the hobbies on this list, playing guitar or piano or any other instrument is a hobby with endless potential. Even for a beginner, there are innumerable songs and exercises, and the possibilities only increase as you improve. Some instruments, like guitar, also have an appeal similar to that of old cars or motorcycles, in that they can also be unique collector’s items for those most dedicated to the hobby.
Learning a language: Learning a language is one of the best ways to expand your view of the world and your possibilities for the future. It can make entirely new bodies of literature accessible, as well as allowing you to make yourself understood to people on another part of the globe. Like programming, it can also provide new career opportunities, and it helps to slow the degradation of the mind associated with aging.
Martial Arts: Like several other hobbies on this list, learning a martial art is an incredibly practical skill, insofar as it will allow you to defend yourself if necessary. Like gaming, it can also make you a part of a great community. However, it is also a hobby that can be enjoyed for its own sake, as an art form.
Gaming: There has always been a stigma on the predominantly male hobby of gaming, and to an extent the public perception of gamers has been further hijacked by the regressive left since Gamergate. However, it is in the spirit of this article and of The Ordinary Life to be as dismissive of these notions as the notions themselves are to men’s hobbies. In my opinion, there are few hobbies better than gaming for someone who just wants to have fun and potentially be a part of a community. In fact, that it is a predominantly male hobby may even make it a better opportunity for men to connect in a limited albeit meaningful way with other men.
Writing: This, I think, is essential to a fulfilled life. Needless to say, not all of us can be Shakespeare, and for most of us it need not be more than a hobby. However, I think it is a necessary exercise to try to put one’s ideas and experiences into words. I find that we often think we understand things more clearly or more thoroughly than we actually do. So, by learning to develop our conceptions and tune our perceptions by journaling, blogging, or creating stories, we can make sure we draw the most out of our experiences, both in the past and in the future. And, if nothing else, it is worthwhile to write just for the sake of not forgetting what one has done or thought.
Hiking/Camping: One writer whom I think every man should read is Henry David Thoreau. His brand of naturalism can, I think, instill in any man a need to experience nature. Spending time in nature in any sense is a perfect way to calm the mind and to find interesting things in the seemingly mundane. Considering that traveling or surviving in nature are also commonly found on bucket lists, it’s certainly a worthwhile experience to have and to have regularly.