It is a boring person indeed who says, “I don’t have any hobbies or interests outside my job and my family”; “I don’t have time to pursue a hobby”; “I never have time for myself”; etc. Never people who want to be considered boring, my spouse/partner and I have always believed having hobbies and interests, independent of each other, is a recipe for success in our relationship. The nature of the hobby or interest does not matter (as long as no one is hurt by the other person’s hobby or interest); what matters is having something to do that sets one apart from one’s spouse/partner in a rewarding way. My spouse, for example, used to work as a professional photographer; he now pursues photography as a hobby or semi-professionally. He attends photography related seminars, goes on photo shoots, and spends countless hours working with his beautiful photographs. I, on the other hand, have been a musician for most of my life; most of my hobbies relate to the pursuit of musical happiness in one way or another. Having something one does apart from one’s spouse is essential for maintaining one’s unique identity, particularly when working with one’s spouse.
I think hobbies are important creative releases. Even if the hobby is not a traditionally creative endeavor like our music and photography, engaging in activities that one enjoys is a great way to clear the mind and re-energize yourself. In our work, the cases are intense, often tragic and/or complicated. It is also tiring; mock trials often involve 15 hour days. So, our brains need a rest. Melissa’s rock-n-roll bass guitar playing has opened her/us up to a whole other world in meeting professional musicians and learning about the lives they lead to be able to do what they love. That has been a fascinating experience. Interestingly, her music has also resulted in strengthened connections with some of our clients – she has found many of them play or sing, and so has jammed and been in bands with several clients. I have been able to use my photography for business purposes also; in my courthouses project, which has yielded an annual calendar used for marketing purposes, and more recently, the development of a photographic art business – www.courthousesofflorida.com. So, though neither of our hobbies fall into more traditional “business” hobbies, like golf or attending sporting events with clients, they have strengthened or created business connections. Another of my hobbies, target shooting, has provided similarly enjoyable and beneficial experiences. So, as Nike says, just do it!