Tagged to the end of the list was a link to Michael's earlier post on hobbies. I missed this one first time around and was glad to catch up. Here's a snip:
...Middle-class people don't have careers; they have jobs, if more upscale ones than working-class people do. Careers are for other people, if not outright make-believe. (The idea of enjoying what you do during the workday -- and getting well-paid for it -- seems outrageous. We might as well imagine being movie stars.) If what a man spends his work hours on is A Job, then no doubt such a man needs A Hobby.
We know something about hobbies here at Querencia; in fact, I don't know much about anything else! Michael worries he may not have developed his own taste for hobbies sufficiently. Sufficient for whom, you ask? He wonders that too, although there seems to be pressure on us all to balance work with appropriate play.
For serious hobbyists, finding a balance between work and play is an equally pressing concern, if for entirely opposite reason. This is basically my dilemma, having learned long before my first earned dollar that flying hawks, running dogs and generally chasing small animals around trump just about every other human activity.
At one point Michael immerses himself in the Asian board game, Go, which reminded me of my own temporary compulsion for the game Mancala. Although the board game finally loses its magic for Michael, it hints at something maybe vital to a successful hobby, a mental state that insulates and focuses ones attention to a simple task. This task, I think, is improved by being part logical puzzle, part pretty to watch, and partly something one gets better at with practice. Within these three attributes it may be possible to list all the world's great pastimes.