Anything Worth Doing…

a wargaming blog (plus some other stuff)

The Balancing Act

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Considering my lifestyle, I’m probably about due for a mid-life crisis about now. Together with the huge upheaval of moving to another country, and the changes in my personal life recently; I have been  considering where my hobby fits into the mayhem that is my life.

Matt Wilson (of Privateer Press fame) also didn’t help posting up his experiences of turning forty a few weeks ago, and then a colleague turned thirty last week and that sparked some thoughts. For the record, I think Matt is right, turning forty isn’t as significant as turning thirty. Perhaps the thirties is the decade you realise you are not immortal? After that, these significant birthdays are just not significant anymore. That’s my theory anyway.

When I hit the big 4 0 I’ll let you know if I was right.

Life vs Hobby

So, I have all of this spinning around my head and I came to blog post entitled “Balancing Life vs Hobby” written by a Press Ganger in the States. Unable to comment directly on the post (don’t ask me why, I don’t know), I thought my own hobby/life balance would be interesting to investigate. If only to me.

In Brandon’s article he examined five steps to maintaining a good balance:

  • Set an established routine
  • Don’t try to do too much
  • Don’t loose momentum
  • Remember, its supposed to be fun
  • Involve your friends / family

This is all good advice, and to be honest I think I have discovered exactly the same things over the years purely by trial and error (ok, lots of trials and quite a few errors). However stepping back, I have also come to realise how important my hobby is for my own mental health.

The Pillars

Many years ago, a colleague of mine outlined his life strategy. In his mind, everything could be categorised between work, social/home life, and his own health. These three pillars made up the tapestry of his life. The theory went, that at one time, your could concentrate on one, maybe two pillars. But the third would always be neglected to a degree.

As much as it pains me to admit it, he had a point.

In my case, I know I’ve put more time into my work than anything else over the past few years with my family coming a close second, and definitely at the expense of my own health. In the last six months, this has changed some what as family has (rightly) taken priority over other things.

As it has turned out, I’m also not immortal (surprise to me, but there you go), so my own health could probably do with some attention. Amongst other things (such as this crazy idea of exercise), my hobby has a role to play here.

My Hobby

With that context, how am I managing the life/hobby balancing act?

Well importantly I’ve managed to tick a few boxes via my hobby. It is a fantastic way of building new social circles, and joining a new club in a new country has been great for that.

And then there is the achievement of finishing models and armies. This is simply good for the soul in my books.

The flip side to this is the amount of time I can dedicate to the hobby. With the family, this is a lot less than it use to be. However with a routine in place, getting games most weeks in isn’t a problem, so that’s really cool.

Over time I’ve moved from a painting room, to a table, to a mobile painting station. Ironically, this works much better as I can be present and talking to be boss whilst she’s watching something I don’t want to watch on TV! Additionally, the kids are always fascinated by the strange robots and soldiers their daddy is working on. I suspect I may be corrupting one or more of them as they get older…

And finally the biggest factor in maintaining a successful home/hobby life balance is my extremely understanding wife. I can not overstate how important this is and I guess that from her point of view, wargaming is a pretty harmless pastime.

So the secret of maintaining this balance seems to be a mixture of communication, understanding, and not pushing my luck too far. At the moment at least, I think I’m getting it right.

Spring Cleaning, in Summer

Of course the other part of the life/hobby balance is simply the amount of stuff I have. In particular the amount of unassembled miniatures lying in various boxes. By my nature I’m a bit of a collector, however sharing my life and home with four other people means my stuff can’t take over everything.

In fairness, the purge began before we left England, however time has come to let go of a few projects that are never going to happen. This included a whole pile of scenery that got donated to SPIF, and my Wood Elves.

Considering I’ve played one game of Warhammer Fantasy in the last five years, this seems pretty sensible and will make way for some of the bigger Warmachine toys I will be buying later in the year (such as the Retribution Colossal, Hyperion).

Colossal 40K Reboot

Before I sign out, it is probably worth mentioning I’m going to have a bit of a hobby overload over the next couple of weeks. Firstly next weekend, the 6th edition of Warhammer 40000 hits the selves. Although I’m completely in Warmachine mode at the moment I’m still aiming to field my updated Eldar army this year, possibly at a local tournament called Warpstorm in September.

However the big thing will be the Warmachine Colossals book due the week afterwards. If big steam driven robots are good, giant steam driven robots have to have potential.

Oh, and I rather fancy Infinity, because ninjas are cool, so that’s something else for the dark winter months.

Anyway, until next time, happy gaming!

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