I want to tell you about my most recent hobby adventure. A few weeks ago, my fiancée turned on the classic rock station during one of our weekly drives to the grocery store. It happened to be the time block when they play 60’s rock – Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors. It was a calm, late-summer evening and the sun painted a pink haze in the sky. In those moments of letting the musical verses flow through me like a rough tide breaking a dam, something clicked in my soul.
Growing up, the Hippie movement was always a joke to me. Hippies were shown on TV and in movies as unwashed, unemployed stoners who ate the green slime from rocks for sustenance – a lifestyle and philosophy that seemed hard to comprehend.
…But something was different now.
I was connecting with this 60’s music. It tapped into the frustrations I’ve been feeling with everything going on – the economic depression, 2 wars, and an uncertain future. For the first time, I understood what the hippie movement was really about. It hit me in an emotional way and I wanted to explore this feeling further.
I began making Pandora radio stations, one-by-one adding artists that had something to say and giving the thumbs up to songs that hit my groove. I added Jefferson Airplane, Janice Joplin, the Beatles! But after a few days, something started to feel off. Listening this way felt too inorganic, it felt too electronic and I wanted to experience the music as it was intended – on vinyl.
This is where it starts to get messy. If I didn’t enjoy and have an emotional connection to my hobby, it would have felt more like work and less like the kick-ass journey it turned out to be. Over the course of a few days, I searched high and low to create a more authentic 60’s experience. Excited, I visited an auction house, 4 thrift stores, a knickknack store, 2 Big Lots, a Dollar Tree and an Ocean State Job Lot; I was looking for a cheap, rustic turntable. My hope was to find a used one from the 60’s or 70’s that needed a bit of repair. I came up empty-handed. Oddly enough, I had an interesting conversation with the woman working the counter at one of the thrift stores; she too was looking for a vintage turntable. Needless to say, if any were to come into that store, it would be gone fast.
After much internal debate, I settled on buying a new one from a department store. After visiting Target and Wal-Mart, I decided to purchase this moderately priced, portable turntable. It has a great look and feel and I have zero guilt as it was only $69. I think the red, felt lining really gives it a kick.
Other items on my list included some funky, soothing lighting and some vinyl records. It’s a little cliché but I snatched a lava lamp pretty cheaply at Wal-Mart (under $15) after having looked through the thrift stores and coming up empty-handed. I was also able to grab a few vinyl albums for $1 each at the thrift store. These were of artists I didn’t know but the copyright dates on the albums were the late 60’s and early 70’s. I picked up Donna Fargo, Cashman & West and the Byrds to name a few.
I rushed home excitedly to set everything up. I got the lava lamp going, turned down all the lights and put on one of the albums. It was the most cathartic experience I’ve had in a long time. Playing an LP is an experience itself, it’s not like the digital devices of today. It requires interaction, it gets you physically involved.
At first, you’re greeted by the magical scent of weathered vinyl paper sleeves. For some reason, this smell evoked fond memories of music and band class from when I was a child. Then, once it’s playing, it’s not that easy to change a track or play a song by a different artist; so it encourages you to really hear what the artist has to say and to listen all the way through. This being the culmination of a lot of searching and planning, it felt amazing.
But the search still isn’t over! There are a few specific albums I want that I’ve been unable to find. I have seen them listed for sale on Amazon.com but I’m not ready to take the easy way out yet, I will continue my search. The searching is the fun part!
Find a hobby that you connect with on an emotional level, something where the journey is just as fulfilling as the destination. Life is surrounded by obligations and chores – go to work, clean the house, pay the bills. It’s important to find something that forces you to slow down and enjoy the tiny details of life. It can give you a sense of satisfaction that will trickle through to everything you do.
What hobbies do you have that have taken you on an adventure?