At what point does your hobby get in the way of your hobby? To some that may sound like a weird question but to others you know exactly what I am talking about! I guess the more appropriate way to phrase it is are there aspects of this hobby that you don’t particularly like but are necessary in order to enjoy the aspects that you do like? The simplest example I can think of is someone who loves to run trains but hates laying track. Another way to look at my original question is that there could be things you like doing but you don’t want to be “sidetracked” right now because you are so close to finishing a particular project. I used to think that way sometimes about going to “train meetings.”
I used to think that “it’s a long drive” or if I don’t go I can finish two more turnouts. I have found however that the meetings or Division Events are another aspect to this hobby that I enjoy. Getting to know other people, learning new skills and interacting with others outside of my little model railroading world helps me to grow not only as a better modeler but a better person.
Last weekend I had some “extra” time. I could have started putting down ballast on the track work I have been working on for my Civil AP Certificate but instead drove 45 minutes each way to meet a guy who had recently “completed” his little backyard ride-on train like mine. I say “completed” because like all layouts, especially outdoor ones, they are never completed. I just felt it more important to take the time to get to know him instead of getting my own layout a little bit further along. It would be patiently waiting there for me when I have more time.
When I asked Siri the definition of hobby the first one was about a falcon?!? The second one is what we know and love: An activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. Sometimes it might feel like a chore to go lay track or put in some ballast. Can you tell that is what I’m working on right now? (Coincidentally, outside and on my HO layout!) J You have two choices: do it or don’t do it. Let me explain further. If I want to have fun running trains I have to lay track. It’s OK to take a break and then come back to it. Another option is if I know someone who really likes laying track maybe they can help out. This brings me back to the Division Events and getting to know other people in the area who might want to help out. Did you know that you can work on an AP certificate with someone else? You just have to both do twice the work but doing it with someone can help you get it done.
I still don’t mind working on my railroad myself but as I get older I find joy in sharing what I’ve done with others. Last weekend I was testing out some of the new track (using my little locomotive) that we had put down at Shay Park. My dad lives nearby so I called him and he brought two of my nephews over. One of them, while driving it excitedly exclaimed, “Now I have a reason to like trains!”
Don’t let your hobby get in the way of your hobby! When you are feeling “stuck” on a project set it aside for awhile but don’t forget to come back to it. You can also ask others for help. The model railroading community is one of the most “sharing” communities I know. Like I have said before, the AP program helps me focus my model railroad time that I have available. Instead of just fiddling around with things I am actually getting stuff done – buildings built and trains running on track I’ve laid! Share your accomplishments with others – friends, family or Division Members and that way we can enjoy the journey together!