I Need a New Drug

I’ve spent most of my life having at least one consuming passion, usually for an adventure sport. I like being on the steep part of the learning curve, taking on something that is complex, difficult, time consuming and has equipment that can be tinkered with. I jump in head first, no dabbling for me. Non-sports that have filled this need this included partner dance, autocross, software development, and photography.

I walked the 300 yards from the apartment building I was considering to the beach and saw kitesurfing in person for the first time.

Immediately knew it was for me, if I had a healthy shoulder. And better fitness. And was younger. I need 30 more degrees of external rotation in my shoulder and some strengthening for the shoulder to be back to normal, which has to happen before I can try the sport. This should help my motivation to do the exercises instead of just letting it get better on it’s own.

Seeing kitesurfing made me instantly realize how long it’s been since I had a consuming passion and how much I missed it. The last one was autocross when I lived in Vegas. I need a new drug. This is not about filling time. It’s about feeding my soul.

There is one obvious candidate, learn a new programing platform. I’d like to learn open source web development, using the tool set commonly called LAMP. The reason I don’t want to do this is just as obvious. Programming is a solitary activity. I’ve done enough of those in my life. On the other hand it’s good to be inside during afternoons in the tropics and it gives me another skill set should I ever wish to return to the work force. One of the reasons I have not replaced my barely adequate netbook is that it doesn’t have the memory or disk space to run LAMP. I don’t need the temptation.

There are activities that have been on my bucket list for decades but have never bubbled up to the top. Probably means I didn’t want to do them too much. I don’t think they’d qualify as a consuming passion.

I visited a shooting club in Vegas to find out about trap and skeet lessons. Decided to wait for the end of summer before starting and then forgot about it. No skeet shooting in Hua Hin (HH), so that’s out.

Another one is to learn a musical instrument. I took a couple years of piano lessons in grade school but didn’t like practicing. Through partner dancing I’ve enhanced my relationship with music far beyond what I expected or even though was possible. It was not uncommon for me to be able to honestly say ‘the music came in and the dance went out’ with my conscious brain not being involved. When I was a kid, making music was 100% about my conscious brain. I wonder what it will be like now if I try again. Most musical instruments are some combination of fragile, expensive and bulky. I love the blues, so maybe I should buy one of these and learn how to bend some notes.

I thought about getting back into photography again. I had a SLR system back in the film era. Took darkroom classes, studied composition, went to galleries to seek inspiration. Between ‘been there and done that’ and not wanting to foot the cost for quality equipment I don’t think this is going to happen. I would like to replace my broken camera so I can have more control and picture quality than what my cell phone offers, but I see photography as a pastime that isn’t a consuming one.

Other things I considered and rejected:
Skin / SCUBA diving. Got certified in high school, but there is no diving in HH unless one enjoys looking at sand.
Radio controlled flying. Will make me miss the real thing.
Pool. Plenty of tables in town but this just has never appealed very much. I think my main interest is that I know next to nothing about it, I totally suck at it, it looks difficult to learn but doesn’t require any fitness commitment.

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