This morning, I received the following comment to my post about coloring books for adults from a young man named Joseph F., who comes to us from a restricted Google Plus profile. Here it is, verbatim:
Thats just what I need to sit around and color some silly coloring book, what comes nest play with an erector set?
It took a minute, but I think I know what he was saying.
That’s just what I need, to sit around and color some silly coloring book. What comes next, playing with an Erector set?
Well, Joseph, let me first thank you for leaving your comment. It’s nice to know that people are reading my posts.
Your reaction to the subject is about the same as mine was when I first saw the commercial, i.e. WTF? I wondered, “What in the world are adults doing coloring pictures? Haven’t they got anything better to do with their time?”
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that people have all kinds of hobbies that seem silly at first, but bring them a tremendous amount of joy and relaxation. I gave several examples of this in the post (my stepfather’s colleague who did needlepoint, my wife who knits and crochets, bloggers who do some fantastic illustrations, etc.) and several readers mentioned they have other creeative outlets, including two that said they enjoy coloring themselves. In one case, the commenter said she received coloring books and colored markers from one of her friends when she was recovering from surgery. Others reported they do knitting, crocheting, and quilting. I know a couple of older men who paint, one in oils, the other in watercolors. They do beautiful work.
There are men who dress up in Civil War uniforms and re-enact battles from history. Other people make and dress in costumes from medieval times, or from science fiction and fantasy. For a couple of years, I played the bagpipes with a pipe-and-drum band, in full Scottish military regalia (kilt, diced socks, gaiters, doublet and balmoral). Think of the many people who collect and run model trains, build model airplanes or sports cars, make dolls, fly model rockets. I have a friend who was a pyrotechnics expert in the Army, who builds and launches model rockets. He told me that what he enjoyed most about it was that he and his son could do it together.
They’re called hobbies, Joseph, and they’re as varied as the people who do them. They’re things people do to relax, to stay in touch with the person they are, and maybe to get closer to the people around them. These are pastimes that bring people joy. Just because they’ve graduated college and moved into the “real world” doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy doing them any less.
In short, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
So, if you want to play with your Erector set, go right ahead. If that’s not your style, how about Tinkertoys or Lincoln Logs? Legos, maybe? Find something you like to do, and do it. Maybe you need it more than you think.