Exercising the senses

When I started writing, I discovered that it gave me ways to look at things I was learning and see if I could share them with other people.

When I tried drawing, I started seeing the structures and forms of things.

When I stumbled into giving my first presentations, I felt the dynamism of structure and conversation.

When I started exploring photography, I found myself looking at light and pattern and tone.

When I learned to sew, I couldn’t help but be entranced by the fabrics and seams of people’s clothes and accessories.

When I got into gardening, I became more aware of the seasons, sunshine, different kinds of plants, and different types of soil.

Now that I’m starting with woodworking, things around me are treasure-troves of lessons about woods, joints, and finishes. There is surprising beauty in a door when you think about how the panels float in a gap so that the wood can expand or contract. The smoothness of our shelves makes me smile.

I don’t expect much of my hobbies—just that they change my world.

How do your interests shape your experiences?

  • Brendon Robinson

    Great post Sacha!

    I have noticed much the same thing. Probably the biggest example (though perhaps a bit cliche) is programming. It has changed the way I look at the world. With my other hobbies, however, I have noticed similar things. I took up singing a few years ago and it has greatly increased my appreciation for music. Doing 3d modeling changed the way I look at shapes.

  • Nice post.

    Yes, hobbies have changed the way I look at the world, too. But, I haven’t really thought about it clearly enough, until I read this post.
    Photography is teaching me to learn to look at things from various perspectives.
    I’ve started drawing a few comics and I see the funny side of things more often, now.


  • Victor Calvert

    I’ve noticed some of that as well; I’ve mostly been doing macro photography lately (roses, especially), and it’s a lot of fun.

    I’ve certainly noticed other effects; using Linux extensively, for example, means that I tend to segment my work onto virtual desktops, which is effectively an aftermarket addon for Windows (I use Dexpot under Windows; it’s close but not quite as nice).

    Source control tools can also shape the way you think about writing code (think git vs. Subversion).

    • And programming languages and libraries shape the way you think about problems, of course. =)

      Cool stuff!