On Hobbies: The Time/Benefit Ratio
POSTED by JON RUTI
Every man ought to have a few hobbies. Winston Churchill, a prodigious hobbyist, believed that a hobby was the quickest way to recuperate from the pressures of work & life.
We’re not all Winston Churchill, though. We probably don't need to write dozens of books while simultaneously training to become a master bricklayer. He was, after all, trying to recoup from leading Great Britain during The Blitzkrieg.
The majority of us can't take on multiple hobbies with high barriers to entry & big time commitments. Almost daily, an email lands in my inbox with the subject line: “72 hours of surfing in the Galapagos” or “A weekend of fly fishing in New Zealand.” I'd love to hop off zoom and board a 22-hour flight to destinations unknown, but the reality is that time is scarce. Hobbies shouldn’t be a full-time job. Sometimes all you need is 23 minutes of hobbying in between spreadsheets and grocery shopping; something you can tap into at a moment’s notice; a hobby with a good time to benefit ratio.
Take for example a hobby I used to be passionate about: Ice Climbing. It was a huge time commitment relative to the regenerative benefit received. Not surprisingly, my ice climbing gear ended up on eBay, the land of used equipment for hobbies with poor time to benefit ratios. For me, the time commitment wasn’t sustainable. Sure, I felt great afterwards, but it required an entire weekend.
Cycling, on the other hand, is different. I’ve rode consistently for twenty years, partly because of the attractive time to benefit ratio. Need to reset in the middle of the day? Step out of the house for an hour ride, feel like new again. That’s sustainable.
Last month a friend of mine introduced me to a new hobby with a fantastic time to benefit ratio: Sporting clays. It’s not the hour bike ride or 30-minute run, but sporting clays falls nicely into the “Honey, I’ll be back in a couple hours” category. Not too short, but not 36 holes - something in between.
We were up at eight a.m. and after a quick 45-minute drive, my wife and I arrived at the Orvis Sandanona Shooting Grounds in Millbrook, New York. The lodge sits perched on a hill, built during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. Golf carts sans clubs scurried about as fellow hobbyists strolled with shotguns broke open over the shoulder. An immediate sense of relaxation & excitement came over me.
A ten-stand course may be walked or driven; we chose the latter because you guessed it…time. After ten stands of repeated adrenaline dumps from shooting with a side dose of competition among friends, there was no stress left. The mind didn’t wander and whatever was left back home on my desk stayed there. Out there with friends in a beautiful setting completely reset the clock.
The day could have ended there and I would have been content but (of course) a post-shooting bourbon was suggested. And that’s what I like about clays, it aligns nicely with other verticals & hobbies that I’m passionate about. Bourbon, vintage Rovers with picnic tailgates, quilted vests, campfires, timepieces, and stunningly gorgeous, handcrafted Italian shotguns.
Sporting clays has it all and only requires a half day and a tank of gas, making it a new favorite hobby and one you should definitely check out.
Here's some pics from a great day.
Jon wearing the Harrison Western Shirt in Black Denim