I’m a writer.

Which means I am a big-time eavesdropper.

I just can’t stop myself.

So a few days ago, when I heard someone smugly say,

I don’t have hobbies.  There isn’t enough ROI.

Well, I just wanted to reach over and gently say,

“You’ve been brainwashed.”

But I didn’t.

Honestly, I just felt sorry for her little brainwashed self.


I come from a long line of ponderers, putterers and dabblers.

We always have a little something that we like to do in our spare time.

It can be as simple as puttering in the garden.

To ponder something in front of the fire.   Or to dabble with a new hobby, recipe, book or class.

I think of it as living widely.


Pondering, Puttering and Dabbling Are Good For The Soul

I don’t care what it is.

Read, walk in the woods, knit, bake, cook, paint, write, garden, forage, fix stuff, listen to music, fish, swim, or sail.

Maybe yoga or tai chi makes you happy.  Or taking photos of sunsets.

You might like to bird-watch.  Whittle.  Learn how to play the banjo.

Maybe you like to weld sh*t as I do.

Perhaps hanging at the library, playing a sport on the weekend or sitting on a park bench is your thing.

(Spending 40 hours per week watching television (national US average) doesn’t count.)


There are so many ways to have a rich, inner life.


But the point of all that delicious pondering, puttering and dabbling?

Here’s the best part.

You don’t need a point.

You don’t need ROI.

You get to just BE.


It is just supposed to be fun.

You don’t have to be good at it. (You should see some of my  welding projects)

You don’t have to be serious.

You don’t have to sell it.

It isn’t designed to make you lose weight.

Or have status in the eyes of others.

Impressing someone isn’t the goal.

It is something that allows your complicated life to take a breather.


And I would bet that you haven’t been pondering, puttering and dabbling enough, lately.

I say this with the insight of someone who spent over a year fighting for her life.

The Buddhists have an expression:

You have less time than you think.


I think you should go do that thing you’ve put off on the back burner.

Give yourself time each day/week to do something joyful for yourself.

Whatever that joyful thing may be.

Perhaps the hobby you’ve been longing to try but didn’t because it doesn’t have ROI.

To hell with ROI.

You don’t need to measure anything.


Go do something small that will make you happy.


” Look closely.

The beautiful may

be small.”  – Immanuel Kant