December Writing Challenge Day 8: My New Hobby: Lessons Learned

(This week’s post originally appeared on as a comment during the 2020 December Writing Challenge.)

There is a reason I’m not a “real” programmer – I don’t have the patience for the dog’s work of generating thousands of lines of code, of fine-tuning the logic structures, of the realities of refactoring the job requires. Those are the same reasons I’ll never be a finish carpenter. I’ll happily throw together a bunch of lumber into an inside wall or a finished basement; I could do electrical work all day and never complain. While it’s not my favorite, a few sheets of sheetrock and a bucket of mud isn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon. (Of plumbing, we shall not speak).

That said, over this pandemic my hobby of choice let me leverage skills I already had, but also flex them in ways I don’t get to do as tech writer who deals more with the philosophical and theoretical – I’ve been updating my house with smart lighting system(s). That allowed me to do a delightful amount of re-wiring (the house is mostly knob-and-tube); it gave me the puzzle-like engagement of making disparate systems work together (leviton, hue, cree, lifx, and – all credit to @aLTeReGo – Home Assistant); and it let me do a little bit of networking (can’t have those nasty IoT devices on the same VLAN with our phones and computers).

Like so much during this pandemic, for many of us the allure of a new hobby is less about the novelty and more about the way it engages and encourages us to see past ourselves into what isn’t, but what can be.

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