Have you ever wondered if you are done with a favorite hobby?

I hope this isn’t inevitable but I am losing or have lost interest in 2 long term hobbies.
I have enjoyed shooting since I was a boy. Hunted for years but that faded when I decided I had to eat what I killed, primarily ducks. Tried many recipes but never found a really good one.
Still like shooting but it just isn’t as much fun even though I can afford better equipment. I remember just going to the woods and picking interesting targets. Fewer woods now and more difficult to get to. Don’t much care for ranges.
Then there is paddling. I’ll have to get past physical recovery and winter to decide where to go with that. I’m still looking at kayaks and even a canoe today.
I have always physically pursued activities that were not typical for my age. These last couple of months with surgery followed by covid really got my attention . I had never considered myself old and most people thought I was younger. Probably not now.
I start physical therapy tomorrow and I’m hoping for some mental and physical improvement.
I know there are paddlers here who have been where I am and moved on. You are my role models.


Good timing. I just walked past my dusty kayaks in the garage and thought, “How long 'til those need selling?” Here’s my issue: It takes me roughly ten minutes to get ready for a bike ride and I can start enjoying my bike in my driveway. Taking a boat to the local reservoir involves a lot of time and effort. I wish the park people and the kayak/canoe shop(s) would get together and build and rent us paddlers some boat storage right near the water. If all I had to do was drive down to the lake with a pfd and a paddle I would go a lot more often.

Since I retired I’ve gotten more active in birding. The wife and I participated in the local Audubon Christmas Count this past Saturday. Some folks like photographing birds. Some like feeding them. My thing is trying to identify them; either by sight or by sound. You might enjoy it… and the heaviest, cumbersomest thing you have to tote is binoculars!

The way I enjoy the outdoor gun range is to go very early in the morning so I have the place to myself.


Life continually changes. Things come and go. Is the effort worth the reward you feel? When it tills to far you’re out of it. I wonder when I look back at different endeavors what day did that occur.


You might think I’d had one too many when I wrote that. Not a drop. Frustrated by age and winter.

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For most of my life, hobbies have ebbed and flowed at different times. Sometimes one thing comes to the fore, sometimes that same one get shuffled into a closet for a while.

Very few of them have gone by the wayside forever. The few that have came back to my attention and even though I tried to get back into it, I failed.

One of those I might be losing is big water paddling. I am getting kind of old and my body is betraying me in ways that climbing back onto a surfski is looking like a chore, a major one.

Biking has been slipping because of some nerve damage in one leg, thanks to a pygmy rattler, but as I work to rebuild those muscles, biking has been coming up as a goal to build to.

Just because kayaks have gotten dusty, don’t sell them yet, they might still take a big spot in your self esteem. Besides, I love communing with nature on a good paddle.


I know I do. Matter of fact, like you I enjoyed hunting and shooting when I was younger. It isn’t age or even a lack of interest that has caused those hobbies to fade. It is the difficulty that it takes to get out and enjoy them. I don’t own land to hunt on, so I either have to lease land (can’t afford it) or use public land. Public land is so crowded that going doesn’t feel like hunting. Not to mention, the seeming inability of some to understand safe shooting practices. Which brings me to shooting, first it has in many ways become cost prohibitive with ammunition prices and club memberships for range access, so my guns sit. Luckily, my shoulders seemed to have recovered, so it’s time to get the bows out. I can do that in my backyard and the “ammo” is reusable.

I rode horses as a kid and was totally into it from 7 to 16. Then I discovered rowing and sailing and stopped riding almost overnight. Sailing has stuck with me since I was 12. I rowed for many years until I moved to RI for grad school and discovered sea kayaking, which was much more versatile than flat water rowing. I have a few other “minor” hobbies that have mostly stuck with me - photography, counted cross stitch, houseplants and aquarium keeping. I may not do all of them all the time but I keep coming back to them. I didn’t have a fishtank for a few years (kind of difficult living on a boat) but was able to set up a small tank in my office and am really enjoying it.

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Regarding your physical therapy I just want to comment that you will be surrounded by medical experts that can give you focused advice about your own health. I think you can do much better than hoping for some benefits; you can gain knowledge and new habits that continue to give you benefits long after your official rehabilitation and recovery plan are complete.

I also have been an AVID shooter since I was about 10 years old. I can’t say I have lost interest, but I can say that achievement of some goals in my skill level was a thrill that lasted some time and then faded to a large extent. As a US Marine my skills were elevated in some areas to a point the higher-ups noticed me and set me on a path that made an instructor out of me. After my discharge the DOD recruited me to teach for various classes within our military and governmental services as well as for several of out allies. It was a good living and a wonderful time for the most part. All during that time I was also deeply involved in other aspects of shooting which didn’t involve military calibers of firearms so I had to pay for those guns and all that ammo myself. But buying in bulk (By the pallet loads) brass, bullets, powder and primers were affordable.

Now days ammo and ammo components are hard to find at any price and when you do find them the price is so high it’s out of line. That fact along with the fading of my eyesight has caused me to cut back about 95% in my shooting. I still shoot almost every week to some extent. First because I am a full-time gunsmith, so I am always firing customers guns to check function and accuracy, but that doesn’t constitute practice in the same way shooting for my own enjoyment did. As I approach 70 years old I am not longer capable to doing the kind of “showing off” I could for all the years I taught because for one thing, I have lost over half my vision (most of my life I had 20/10 or better) and because of the above mentioned fact that I simply can’t afford the ammo I one used. It’s alarming that many of the police departments and a few units from diplomatic services also can’t seem to come up with ammo enough to train their personnel that way I used to train them.

A few years ago I got into kayaking. It’s been a huge blessing to me because I now have an activity that I enjoy to a HUGE degree and other then the gas to go places and the time lost from my shop, the sport is not near as expensive as shooting is today. As I age I have old injuries and wounds come back to visit me. Things I thought I was past seem to remind me of zigging when I should have zagged a lot these days. So I have made my mind up that I’ll paddle kayaks as long as I can, and I am hoping that is to the end of a long and happy life. The cool thing about kayaks is that paddling them can be as challenging or as sedate as you choose. At this time in my life I am enjoying the chop and the waves and wind. As I age it’s possible I may start to look for more windless days some time, but as of now I like big waves. Too big is evident to me when I can’t make headway in the directions I want to go, or when I get tossed more often then I want to deal with. So far, so good.

Christmas Day I have 2 very good friends coming over and we are going to do some shooting in the yard, firing into my hill and when we are done we are going to eat a huge Christmas dinner. Paddling for this season is gone with all out water frozen solid now, but we will still get together and have fun on Christmas. One of them, Thor, is a student of mine from previous combative classes and I also infected him with the Kayak bug. He’s the man I paddle with most times when I am not going alone. At 6 feet, 5 inches and 275 pounds he’s a bit larger then most paddlers.

The other is probably the single most talented man I have ever met. A Shoshone Indian named Magpie, he is a musician, a singer, a professional sculptor who works for one of the largest art foundries in the USA, a pilot, a masterful blade-smith and armor maker (like the kinds made in the middle ages) a man that can see things in 3 dimensions in his mind and makes steam engines from the ground up, needing NO blueprints or drawings, and a very good shot himself. The 3 of us hope to have a Christmas Day to remember. Lots of shooting and great food, and Magpie is sure to entertain Thor and I with his singing and playing of what ever instrument he brings over. (He plays about 16 different ones)

At my age I REALLY enjoy the company of younger, active, focused and good natured young men. I find it weird that somehow I have become the same age as old men, but most of my closest friends are younger men and women. Hopefully that will keep my heart young for many more years.

Merry Christmas to you all, and String…keep going. Make new friends 1/2 or 1/3 your age and teach them what you have learned. It’s a source of great joy.


I’ve also given up hunting and shooting.

I miss the deer hunting I did when I was younger, but I don’t miss the killing, cleaning, and butchering and I don’t enjoy eating venison as much as I used to. I mostly miss being out in the woods, the summer hikes learning the land, the scouting, sitting in a tree stand on a quiet late season morning watching all the wildlife spring into action with the rising sun. And I miss the bonding with my dad.

My in-laws do a lot of pheasant hunting with their dogs, but I don’t join them anymore because I really don’t care about shooting stocked birds on lands partially cleared for the purpose.

I have my guns, but I rarely shoot anymore. I miss trap and skeet, but not shooting paper targets. Part of it is that I have no reason to stay proficient. Another part of it is that the atmosphere and culture at the clubs and ranges has changed. I can do without the soldier of fortune types and all the politics.

I was also getting close to being done with fishing, except this past summer my 7 yo son really got interested in it, and that has me motivated again. My task for the winter/spring is to find a boat the two of us can go out in. I do have a 17+ foot Neris tandem inflatable which fits the two of us plus tackle and small cooler, but inflatables are not allowed on the closest good fishing lake (stupid reservoir rules). I also really want a trolling motor for the bigger bodies of water. So I’m starting to look at square back canoes and small power boats.


Hobbies change. Sometimes out of choice. Sometimes forced to change. That’s pat of life

In the 90s, I was big into mountain biking. Moderately successful amateur racer - could usually place in beginner and then sport class, but not when I upgraded to expert. Switched to single speed and endurance races.

Then work gave me the opportunity to work in Korea and travel a lot, so took that, and MTBing took a back seat. Did take up running and ran a marathon and various other events.

Then back to States and picked up sea kayaking in early Aughts. That grew to me teaching and guiding and not really doing any other work (no more corporate work!).

Past handful of years we have been preparing for our next hobby of sailing, as the writing is on the wall that the adventurous type of kayaking we like (rock gardening, surfing) our bodies just can’t manage as well as we’d like.

I sill do my old hobbies, like I ride when I can. Just not at the same level or same amount as I used to.

I like the comment about finding someone half my age and teaching them to paddle, esp if she is attractive. Does that mean I’m a dirty old man?


Just gave it up this past year my love of being in the ring and banging it out with the younger guys. Had been doing some form of combative sport since I was 13. Nothing grounds one in the the present moment than having feet and fists coming at one’s head. Stamina is steadily decreasing, however, because of the mitral valve leakage. So, I limit myself to bag work to keep the arms and legs moving. I can feel that decreasing. No more 10-12 round days. Six rounds usually and maybe eight on a "stretch day.

Head plus surf today. Too big for my stamina. Will head out tomorrow or the day after when surf is under 6’. Hope to get some more sessions in before valve replacement in Feb. Also, like very much the “in-the-moment” aspect of surf paddling.

In the back of my mind, I hope that I can get back into sparring after heart valve replacement and PT. But, If I don’t, I’ll keep with surf paddling until I can physically and/or lose interest.

Flyfishing and backpacking are still high in my interest list. I gave up bird hunting around 20 years ago when my bird dog passed. Kayaking took up the spot on the past time list since then.

Only constant is change. Although change can happen later than sooner.


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There are a lot of outdoor activities I used to do that I don’t do anymore. Spelunking, teleskiing, cross country skiing, backpacking, bushwacking, whitewater canoeing and c1ing have all gone by the wayside. If I still had the body to do those things then I would still enjoy them. I simply don’t have the knees or hips to do that stuff anymore. That’s one reason why I like kayaking so much. It allows me more movement than land based activities and most of the time it is pretty pain free. I can still move pretty good in a boat.

I do feel blessed that I can still day hike and paddle a canoe or kayak as long as I am situated in a sitting position. I have to work at it more now, with stretching, roll practice, and paying more attention to outfitting. My agility is less so that plays into my risk assessment and how difficult of an environment I want to be in. Life is still good, just a bit different.

I tried shooting guns at targets, hunting for rabbits, and fishing but none of it really kept me interested. I hated sailing with my father. Not everything I tried outdoors has made me want to continue with it. My dad (a zoology professor) loved wild critters and much of my childhood was spent looking for them. It was neat but never really became my thing. Plenty of people love snakes, lizards, frogs, and small furry mammals. I’m okay with it but it is not my passion.

On the plus side, I have more time and money to do activities. I am enjoying reading more, going to concerts, listening to classic rock and traveling. Simply put, “it is still more fun to play than work…and now I get to play a lot more.”


Air guns might be a good alternative to burning powder. Some are very well made, fast and accurate. No to mention quiet and suited for indoors or backyard. Ammo is very reasonable. Many are made to replicate firearms and are good for practice.

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The list is long of things given up due to aging. Examples are basketball, xc skiing, telemark skiing, riding horses and packing mules, hunting, water skiiing, wakeboarding, riding motorcycles, backpacking, sailing, etc.

I am at the ending of my canoeing career. The balance is not as good. Now I travel on overnight trips with drift boats. I love camping and day hiking and cooking on a fire. As forester, there is nothing better than getting out and looking at forests. Even in winter it is possible to get out and do some day hikes. Not as exciting, but just as rewarding as the old days.

Keep moving Brothers and Sisters. Get outside every day.


I have always been one who gets interested in a hobby/skill/knowledge, then that may fade after some time, and I find other things that interest me. A personality test once categorized me as a “skill collector”, one who gets intrigued with something, works at it until they reach a level of competence that satisfies them, then moves on to other things. Seems to fit fairly well with my experience.

Since there are always new things to learn, I don’t find that a problem, nor look back wistfully on past activities. I am satisfied with where I got to and what I got to do. I am just moving on to other things. My latest new activity is playing a musical instrument, the didgeridoo.

And sometimes a new aspect that I had not gotten involved in becomes intriguing, and I get re-engaged with an old hobby in a new way. That has happened with both photography and woodworking.

Keep engaged and keep learning, whether old stuff or new.


unrelated - but triggered a memory.
Something I will probably not do again, is return to Australia for paddling, certainly not for any long ocean trips - not exactly a hobby, but kind of close (4 trips).
Whenever I hear the Magpie warble - it brings me back to my 1st vist (in '93), working out (getting in shape) on the waters of Narrabeen Lagoon (near Sydney) hearing them as I relaxed after the paddle.

Hang in there String. You might need to change how you are paddling, but I suspect paddling and being on the water keeps you young. Keep it simple and fun.

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Indeed. I think PCP air guns are superior for target shooting at ranges up to 100 yards.