Now there's a bit of a foreboding statement, isn't it? No, I'm not throwing away all my wargaming supplies or armies, I'm not throwing in the hobby towel or anything drastic like that. I'm speaking towards the dichotomy of every hobbyist's life of reality versus toy soldiers. We all have responsibilities outside of our local gaming store and of course they take precedence over tabletop warfare...
My question to you, however, is how much can our hobby "give" before it "breaks"?
Let me begin by defining "breaking". I see that term best described as reaching a point in your hobby life to where you just don't see the point in investing time, money, or anything into miniatures any more. This isn't just getting frustrated and taking a break, no matter how long that break my be. This is throwing in the towel completely, selling everything you have and abandoning the hobby because you have so little time, that you feel it's just not worth the frustration anymore. That is "Breaking".
Work is beating the tar outta me right now. Just last week I pulled a 16 1/2 hour shift on Friday of all days. I'm started writing this at work at 7pm last Friday, while a 19GB file that I've been designing saves. I'm guessing that some of you have noticed that I haven't been posting on time much, and that I've actually missed a week or two this year so far. Well, with added responsibility at work, I'm working more overtime and my hobby time has suffered because of it. What time I have had in this past month, I've spent primarily with my wife and boy, as well as doing freelance work on the weekends that I committed to late last year. This has left me a touch on the wire when it comes to my portion of my Adepticon Team army, and no chance at all of entering anything into Crystal Brush this year. I'll get the army done, I only have a three things left to put together, then the painting begins (more on that next week). I can honestly say that because of work lately, my hobby life has indeed suffered. Thankfully, I don't seeing it "breaking" my hobby life, but it sure as heck is frustrating me to no end.
A good friend of mine is going though a bit of a rough patch in his hobby life right now as well. Time isn't on his side, and on top of that, a large group of friends don't even play tabletop wargames. He not only has to try and find the time to work on the hobby and play games, he has to find time away from those friends who aren't even interested in the hobby. He loves the setting of 40K, heck, he's read more books since getting hooked on 40K with Black Library thanks he's read in a long time. But he's struggling to wonder if the hobby is worth it. He's coming to Adepticon this year though, and I really think that'll revitalize him, personally.
I've got another good friend though, who has some serious responsibilities that are forcing him to give up Adepticon this year. Responsibilities that will be taking him from family and friends for not hours, not days, but months. I'm going to respect that man's privacy by not giving any details, or who he is either. He reads this blog, so he knows who he is. What I will say though, is he is an inspiration to me in this hobby. How he finds the time to do what he does, plus his job responsibilities, and be a father and husband is beyond me! But he consistently churns out quality, award winning work and commission pieces. He finds the time to game with his friends and keep up with God only knows what else. This is the guy I think of when I feel like throwing in the towel, not because I don't love the hobby, but because I think I'm too busy for it.
See the thing is, I'm not too busy. Not to take part in a hobby I love. I'd even challenge that no one is truly busy enough to throw in the towel on something they want to do. There are times when I could be working on the hobby, and choose not to! We're all like that at times. Personally, I'm reevaluating the way I spend my free time, to find more time for the hobby. I've got so many ideas, plans, concepts that I want to make reality that I'm doing myself a disservice by making excuses as to why I can actually do them.
Don't get me wrong, life kicks us all in the cans at times, and pastimes and hobbies suffer because of it. Trust me, I know, I'm not being unsympathetic. But that shouldn't mean we just give up! Take a break if you need to, but also take an honest look at how you spend your time, a good honest look. I bet you can find some time once or twice a week, even when you're busy, to give those toy soldiers of yours some much needed attention.