Hobbies: a catalyst for change and conversations

The world of work is being disrupted by technology on many levels. This trend offers us many new and exciting opportunities. As we grow older and are close to the end of our formal career, we yearn for more time to be able to do the things we love.

In this article, I want to chat about how hobbies can also be used as a driver of change, healing and engagement.

Thinking differently creates a new future

The range of hobbies is wide and varied. Some of us want to learn and others are keen to share and teach. Many are saddened when they need to downscale and do not have place for their hobby in the retirement development.

How can we think differently about these challenges to open up a different future?

Take for example, a new retirement estate development being built.  Imagine including, as part of the design, a space for a gym, art room, sewing space, carpentry and technology.  The space is equipped and funded by the owners of the development and maybe residents pay an extra levy to use this space. In this way, expensive equipment is shared, learning happens and classes can be organised. The person who is skilled at their craft gets the opportunity to share and maybe even earn from his hobby.

From an ‘out of the box” thinker on ageing

“We live in a culture, time, and place where creative people have to use creative means to accomplish something that was always the most ordinary, customary thing in the human experience: older people and younger people sharing their lives,” says Bill Thomas, a doctor and international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare.

Imagine if we could open up these “hobby hubs” to younger people, keen to learn a skill from a master? The younger generation may be keen to learn a skill and not have the money to invest in the equipment. In this way, we have both joy and legacy as an elder teaches a younger person something he or she loves. This is both uplifting and great for our health and we are given the opportunity to pass on the baton and skills to our younger generation.

Here are some examples to ponder:

  • A skilled carpenter teaches a group of high school students a how to create useful wooden items;
  • A quilter runs a class for younger women wanting to learn the skill of quilting;
  • A group of youngsters teaches us how to Skype and use other technology that will help enlarge our lives;
  • An art workshop includes different generations and time for discussion to learn from one another;
  • Teaching a group how to record their histories through blogging.

The world has changed. Creative crafts are now a place of healing and sharing. How do we ensure that we do not lose these very important parts of our lives and thereby limit changes to interact with others in our communities?

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