Friday, April 22, 2011

Balancing Time

How often do you hear the phrase “real life got in the way?” The plastic modelling hobby can be a time consuming one, you’ll usually read in FSM’s Workbench Reviews how many hours building a particular kit consumed, and those numbers are sometimes quite high. Then there are competition builders who are known to invest thousands of hours in a single project.

Where do they get them? We all have “real” lives (as if the hobby that brings us satisfaction and bolsters us against the trials and pitfalls of “real” life is any less real) and we need to share our time among our commitments. So much for work, so much for family (plus commuting, eating, sleeping…) All of these come before the hobby. I strongly suspect many of us use hobby hours as “get your head straight” time -- way to shut out the clamour and put things back in perspective.

But there’s a balance at work there as well. You can become so involved in a particular train of thought or endeavour that it’s hard to switch tracks to the hobby more, so when you find you have some time available you can’t mentally make the switch and use it productively. I currently have a grand total of 29 models in various stages of completion, some of which have been shelf-queens for many years, but can I find the ability to jump tracks, now Australia’s five-day long weekend has arrived? It isn’t easy. My brain is stuck on my PhD, and while that’s a good thing, I would really like to complete one or maybe two models over this national holiday, as well as re-tally field data and tabulate results. It goes a way to explaining why it’s been three weeks since I posted here…

I was once chatting with a friend about the long list of scratchbuild subjects I would like to do, and he asked “how long do you plan on living?” Meaning, it can take years to finish a single ambitious project, as I well know. My answer was “several hundred years,” which fits my cosmological outlook, certainly at this point in life, and tends to validate still collecting kits when the stash is on its way toward 1100. This year will see my largest completion output ever … but it’s not easy getting my head out of professional space and back into hobby-land.

Maybe you just have to have priorities!