Being a dad can feel like there is literally no spare time.
Between working and being a parent, who the hell has time for hobbies? But, as family live settles down and children start doing sleep overs, all-day playdates and holiday camps, you may start to notice you can grab some time for yourself now and again. This is where the “hobby” comes in, and there are some awesome ones that many dads don’t find until they are in their 40s and really wish they had got into them earlier!
First of all, it is important to say that most of these things are not simply hobbies but mild obsessions. The word “hobby” seems a bit bland, and if you ask people who are into this stuff if they call it a hobby, they are very unlikely to agree!
It’s one of those thing people think they tried when they were younger, but they don’t realise just how little they did until they really get into it. It is one thing to ride along some footpaths on a mountain bike and another thing entirely to start riding proper trails. Once you realise there are thousands of purpose-built trails with jumps and banked corners, drops and steep sections you will be addicted! Then you realise there are dedicated bike parks and trail centres and things get really fun! Part of the barrier to entry at a younger age is cost. A decent entry-level bike can cost around £1000, so its not cheap – but its an amazing way to stay fit, meet new people, be outside and generally
have a blast! It’s also great for mental health and, let’s face it dads, we all have a few issues to deal with there!
Again, this might be one you have dabbled with in teen years, or you may have had a father figure who fished and you were involved for a while. But it is one of those things that really works for parents on so many levels. There is a lot of kit, and we love kit! There is a constant challenge and always the excitement of that really big fish. It allows you time to relax and get some downtime while also being focused on something that can clear your mind of work and other stresses. Brett from online angling shop, Brighton Angling, says: “We get so many 40-somethings coming to us for advice on first time set ups and we love helping. It really is a sport people seem to find they wished they had started years ago but are certainly up for making up for lost time.”
Surfing is huge in the UK these days. Of course, it isn’t exactly Hawaii, but just like with mountain biking there are tonnes of places to surf. They might not be the best waves in the world but you can bet if there is a spot that gets a few messy ripples there will be some local people that surf there. The number of people taking up surfing is growing and growing. The rise of the affordable foam boards that are actually really good has meant you can get out there and learn pretty easily, and with less risk of braining someone with a hard board too. Get a wetsuit, grab a board and get out there! Sites like Magic seaweed have detailed surf forecasts so you know when and where to go – YouTube is flooded with top tips and lessons, too! It is great for keeping fit, it’s amazing for mental health, but a word of warning; it is highly addictive! You will be chasing that perfect wave for the rest of your days! It really is one everyone wishes they hard started years ago! Get out that “Point Break” DVD!!
Get Out There
If you haven’t tried one of these hobbies then you should seriously think about it. They all have their plus points and the odd negative. One of the issues with dads getting into these things is that they do become quite a big part of their lives. Often after having kids, we struggle with feeling older, getting stuck in a rut with work and generally not being the person we thought we once were. Getting into these things really brings some much-needed personal time, fun, activity and drive. Getting fit by having fun is certainly better than being stuck in a gym, too, so riding and surfing can be really good for that. But they are all great ways to meet new people and just get into something and that can only be a good thing.