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Hobby or Passion?

Live Like You Can

By Janis McDonald

Recently, my suggestion to a group of friends to a find a hobby they might enjoy was met with lots of eye rolling and resistance. Their feedback was, “You mean like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s?” It appeared the word “hobby” brought up feelings of craftiness, making it unimportant, uninteresting, and childish.

The connection to the words hobby and craft was so strong it was pretty much judged a silly thing to pursue. However, a recent Gallop Poll found later life happiness was strongly associated with the number of hobbies one enjoys. The study found the highest levels of happiness among people engaging in three to five hobbies!

The definition of hobby is an activity or interest that is pleasurable and not a main occupation.” As I look back over my Mexican life, I see the many hobbies I have pursued one at a time. If I first had to find my passion or purpose before trying out a hobby, I would have been stopped in my tracks by this prerequisite.

As I look back on how my ranch life has progressed, I have found lots of hobby opportunities to check out, many turning into my greatest joys and passions. After rescuing two burros that were cute, played like puppies, and ate a lot, I decided Gus and Woodrow needed a job to earn their keep by learning how to drag my riding arena with a heavy fork. I studied and investigated the correct procedure for teaching burros to drag a load. It started out by hooking up chains and a tire.

Well, Gus escaped, ending up being chased all around the ranch with the monster tire in tow until I finally gave up, knowing Gus was out of the running to be the next working burro. Next up was Woodrow, who became my dragger extraordinaire.


My horse owning hobby started out with buying my first horse, Chico, for trail riding which took me down the path of discovering how to breed, raise, train, and compete my dressage horse becoming my greatest Third Act’s life passion.

My dream of having chickens started off with a gift of 10 baby girl chicks. What a surprise to find raising chickens was a little more complicated that had I assumed. In fact, when the girls starting crowing, I knew I would be finding fewer eggs in the coop. One of my greatest pleasures was finding my first two eggs.

After graduating from the University of Hawaii’s Women in Transition class at 29 years old, I have dreamed of holding workshops to support women in discovering their best self. The decades old dream has come to fruition with the creation of the “Designing Your Third Act” workshop for women, currently held in SMA.

I have discovered hobbies need to be like pots on a stove. While each pot might have something simmering, it’s best to have only one pot boiling at a time in order to be focused, thoroughly exploring this one experience. My continuing 10-year hobby journey with lots of ups and downs is keeping my happiness quotient flourishing and thriving.

Janis McDonald, Certified Professional Coach, Functional Aging Trainer, Private Gym-152 0457. Follow the Live Like You Can Blog! Go to:


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