Finding a hobbying or something or anything?

peter gibbons office space

"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything that I thought it could be." And then what?

Jeff emails:

Wondering if you could help me out with a question... I'm at home full time now and as much as I'm enjoying not having a job... I'm going slowly INSANE.
I'm looking for a fun hobby to take up in the area and I'm really drawing blanks. Was thinking of taking golf lessons, guitar lessons and volunteering but I'm wondering what the AOA community would recommend.

Got a local suggestion for Jeff? Please share!

screengrab from Office Space


There are several places in the area that offer guitar lessons; my son has taken them at Parkway Music in Clifton Park and had a very good experience. Photography is another option - there are lots of good places in the area to take "arty" photos. And if you're thinking along the lines of volunteering, there are a number of soup kitchens in the area who are always looking for volunteers (including St. Joseph's in Troy), and the Regional Food Bank is another good option.

- bass lessons from Lori Friday:


-guitar lessons from Kenny Hohman:


-volunteer at events with the Lark street BID:

Why not think about becoming a referee or non skating offical (NSO) for a local roller derby league? ;)

They are always looking for great support staff!

For more info:

most smart phones have gps so nothing to buy

along with that comes amazing hikes (find some local waterfalls)

Brew your own beer!

The Homebrew Emporium in Rensselaer ( is a great place to get started.

Homebrewing. It's not too pricey to start with and, like any good hobby, it scales up well from the "enthusiast" level to the ZOMG ARE YOU NUTS? craziness.

Hennesey Hombrew Emporium ( is a great local brew shop. They are very friendly to newbs and eager to help you make a good batch of beer, whether you are doing extract from a kit or a ridiculously high gravity all-grain monster.

I used to collect comics and I've found hanging out in a homebrew shop similar to hanging out in a comic shop, only instead of talking about comics you are talking about beer.

How about joining Team In Training (TNT), the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's endurance training/fundraising organization? Here's a chance not only for you to get fit, but also to meet some life-long pals, travel, and of course, to do something good for the world by raising money to beat cancer. I've done it twice, raised over $10,000, and it's awesome.

And you don't have to commit to running a marathon to join -- there are a range of activities you can choose from.

Well, since a hobby is supposed to be something you are interested in, I'm not sure I see the point.

But, we have an abundance of natural beauty in the area, anything that will get you out and enjoying it can't be bad. Hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, um, hang gliding?

You could check out as well, there are groups for just about everything -- though I haven't found anyone else as into schnauzer juggling as myself.

awesome things that you can do around here:

cycling: road, mtb, leisure
photography: lots and lots to see and document

Join an Ultimate Frisbee league. You'll get some exercise (which is always good) and meet a lot of great people in our social league. Low key and high fun.

I would suggest thinking about certain things you enjoy doing, and then putting them to use in a way to get you out of the house. For example, enjoy carpentry? Volunteer at one of the many area community theaters for set building. Know how to work on bikes? Volunteer at the Troy or Albany Bike Rescue. Like Gardening? Get involved with the Community Gardens.

Drink. Heavily.

Volunteering is always a good thing to do, from helping out with Habitat for Humanity, to working at a homeless shelter, to spending time at the Humane Society, and so many more. There is an Albany office for the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, which is a great cause. These people are often frightened and lonely, after putting up with much abuse.

Learning or honing a skill is also a good idea, like you suggested. Take up painting: the new Icarus Dreams gallery has space for artists to come and flex their artistic muscles. Learn an instrument. Try to get your best bowling score. Write a novel. Travel, photograph, blog.

Check out, type in your zipcode and see what groups are around. There are extremely active local hiking and boating/kayaking groups... as well as a few photography groups. Tons more, too - it depends on what you enjoy!

And I agree with the other Paul that posted above, Geocaching is really neat, and there are a lot in the area. If you like the idea of hiking/exploring but don't want to necessarily climb a mountain, check out geocaching.

I sort of have the opposite problem. I have too many hobbies, and even though I'm self-employed and most of my days are unstructured, I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THEM ALL.

That said, I like recommend crafts for their ability to suck up huge amounts of your time, be totally rewarding, and sometimes pay for themselves if you sell the stuff you make.

Oh man - I wish I had time to be bored. There's just so much to see and do in life! I've gotta admit Jeff, I'm confused by your query - I keep way too busy usually.

What about joining a bowling league or a book club? Or taking a class at the Art Institute? Becoming a Big Brother?

Gardening (even in containers) is fun and rewarding. There are a few local gardening groups, and the Cornell Cooperative extension offers classes in different topics every so often. Capital Community Voices is a great no-auditions choir that is always looking for more singers. They do a spring and fall concert. Running is fun and great exercise. Check out Fleet Feet (the store) or Albany Running Exchange (the website) for gear, tips, training groups, and races.

Good luck and have fun!

A hobby for your own benefit that will also help all the gardeners within a couple miles... BEEKEEPING in your backyard. The initial investment is about $1-2hundred, and will reward you with honey and last for years. You would blow that on music lessons really quick. You'll also be able to spend countless hours lost on beekeeping websites ( is a good message board site).

If you want to volunteer with actual humans, try Grand Street Community Arts- the summer season is really busy and there are tons of ways to get involved.

plant a garden. it's fun and rewarding.

can't remember where I've read it, but it seems keeping chickens in your backyard is a popular hobby today.

I'll second the geocaching nomination. I haven't been in years, but it's a lot of fun and there are tons of them around.

3 years ago when the economy tanked I suddenly didn't have enough work to keep me busy. I started a 365 day photo project--where I took photos everyday and posted them online. It was a fantastic, exhausting experience. I REALLY learned my camera. I became part o fan online community. I have an amazing collection of images--and I've started to take photos for my existing clients. Win. Win. Win.

There are folks that blog every day about a passion. Folks that draw a monster a day (, create a skull a day (, create a piece of clothing a day and more. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. Lots of these people turn them into careers or books.

Similar things could be accomplished with writing--or whatever it is that motivates you.

Think about like drinking as someone suggested above? Drink a different beer everyday for 365 days and write about each beer. Get creative. Communicate. Have fun and make yourself more interesting and get hired!

Hopefully you will hear..."Hey, you know that guy that blogged about beer--I want to hire him for our ad agency."

Get some tights, a mask, a cape, and become a vigilante. I'd recommend starting off small, litterbugs and the like, before you try to tackle drug kingpins, corruption in the police force, or any of the local super villains (i.e., Matt Baumgartner - don't fall for that cute puppy s&#!, it's a cover).

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