Ed Vasicek

With COVID restricting us and winter weather approaching, many people are gaining new appreciation for their hobbies. A few weeks ago, a friend on Facebook posted a request that people share their hobby. I did not respond. The idea of one hobby is too distasteful for me.

What is the difference between a hobby and an interest? Roshan Bhondekar explains: “Basically, an interest is something one likes to do or something that one has a feeling for. For example, she has an interest in poetry, or he is interested in watching the game.

“A hobby is something one likes to do in his past time, a spare-time recreational pursuit. It is an action, something one does. Usually, hobbies need devotion; it is something that has to be done systematically.”

Some hobbies, like video game-playing or social media, can turn into addictions. What’s the difference? Hobbies and interests are servants; addictions are masters. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 lists, “... the following symptoms associated with IGD [Internet Gaming Disorder]: overwhelming preoccupation with online-activities ... inability to limit time spent on the Internet ... Loss of other interests ... Use of the Internet to improve or escape ... unfavorable duties ... withdrawal symptoms when the Internet is no longer available.”

Today, I thought I would share a few of my hobbies and interests, and maybe addictions!

I began stamp collecting before I was 10, mentored by my father. I have about 50,000 stamps from most of the world’s countries, past and present. When Bosnia-Herzegovina emerged from the former Yugoslavia, I was familiar with it: It had issued stamps before it became part of Yugoslavia. Education is only a byproduct of this hobby; stamp collecting is particularly relaxing.

Is cooking a hobby, an interest, or an addiction? Yes. I love to cook. As a lad, my dad taught me how to make soups and stews; I have learned much from my mom, wife, television shows, cookbooks – and certainly from online resources. My collection of herbs and seasoning take up a top cabinet and a bottom cabinet in my kitchen. I buy paprika by the pound. As Emeril says, if you love to cook, “every day is a party.”

I love the musical style of the 1920s and ‘30s, the era just before Swing. Most of the music I enjoy would be classified as either “sweet jazz” or “hot jazz.” “Cheek to Cheek” would be sweet jazz, while “The St. Louis Blues” might be considered hot jazz. Although I have restored vintage music on CD, I mostly listen to current bands who play in that vintage style. Surprisingly, there are many of them – some of the best are, ironically, in Europe. My favorite is the Bratislava Hot Serenaders (you can find their music on YouTube).

Via the internet, I have connected with Pastor Petr Vasicek in the Czech Republic, probably a very distant relative. He actually saw the Bratislava Hot Serenaders in concert and sent me their latest CD, signed by the band members! Isn’t that a hoot?

Less than four years ago, I decided to learn to play an instrument. I wanted something easy, something portable, and something I could hopefully play in my old age (which is fast approaching). I chose the concertina. Most people have no idea what a concertina is. It is a bellows instruments, sort of like a baby accordion – but a lot lighter and a lot simpler. I practice every day and enjoy playing the same genre of music mentioned above, in addition to hymns and classical segments.

Those are a few of my hobbies. I forgot to mention my massive joke collection; I enjoy (non-gambling) card games. Is being a grandparent considered a hobby, interest, or addiction? Although my wife is the artist in the family, I love art. One day, I hope to get back to ballroom dancing.

I have many deeper interests, including Bible study, theology, reading, and writing. As many readers have already discovered, the more interests you have, the easier it is to connect to others, the richer life is, and the deeper you become as a person.

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Kokomo’s Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@gmail.com

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