You Only Need Four Hobbies

May 17th,  2024  [5 min. read]

By Drew W. Boyer, CFP®

You only need four hobbies.

For you recent grads out there: LIFE is a great balancing act.

Dr. Seuss’s ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ sums it up perfectly. Forget the money kids- you can always make more of that. Time is the number most valuable asset, followed by experience. Pondering this, I read one of those Insta-articles that lists ‘regrets on someone’s death bed.’  

Not included: “I wish I would’ve worked more!”

I’m fortunate to be in my life’s season of gratefulness. After 20+ years into a career helping others get financially prepared (I don’t say ‘free’), I have everything and more than I ever thought possible. I still have the same amount of time each day that you do, until I don’t, because no day is promised to any of us. I have what I need and more to provide for my family and now want to pass it on. The great equalizer is time, but how you spend it is the determining factor. 

For instance, my wife is a natural procrastinator. “Why not take it easy today?”  “Five more minutes…”  “You work too much.”  She’s the yin to my yang.

I, on the left hand, am a ‘doer.’  “Why not do today what could be done tomorrow?”  “Why would you not plan ahead?’  Being raised by work-first parents, in a living-to-work culture, breeds some of the most productive, but out-of-balanced, unhealthy citizens.

You have to enjoy your work, but also your life. My mantra has developed over the years into ‘be organized enough to be spontaneous.’  Time is ticking relentlessly away each day. When we became parents, someone told my wife and I the days are long, and the years are fast. It’s so true. To combat time, we make outside the box plans like, ‘What if we hosted a foreign exchange student?’, ‘What if we all studied abroad for one year?’, or my favorite, ‘Let’s make the kid’s chase us in retirement!’  Those are all real goals to get out of our comfort zone and grow, but also experience life.

For the past few years, we’ve been asking both of my brothers, when the time is right, that we want to be able to take over each cousin, one-by-one, to visit Europe in the summer with us. You see, my wife and in-laws are native Berliners, her brother, and his family live in Zurich, and there are countless other family and friends with a standing open-door policy to visit speckled over the continent.  It’s a fantastic opportunity I didn’t get to see somewhere else at an early age.  

In its essence, Europe is a work-to-live culture.

From my perspective: the US is a great place to earn money and Europe is a great place to spend it. 

Last summer, my family and I got to take my eldest niece on such a trip for her very first time. She was almost 16 and after careful consideration, said ‘yes’ to get out of her comfort zone for three weeks and trek abroad to visit distantly related family in Europe. This was a huge leap forward for her because she and her siblings come from a strict Christian, home-schooled setting in Arizona. To give some color, they aren’t allowed to watch Disney movies and, in the past, ‘Santa Claus’ was presented as ‘Satan Claus’.  To each their own. While they are able to go on epic camping trips in the Wild West, they definitely don’t spend any meaningful time in cities nor culturing, secular events. The stars aligned when we asked, and she embraced the moment.  Challenge raised; challenge accepted.

It was always going to be an uphill, experiential hike voyaging off with family; albeit family that doesn’t hangout very often. A six-hour time change. New languages being spoken, new foods being suspiciously tried, new activities being experienced, and most of all: a growth mindset everyday towards making new memories.

We tested her physically, mentally, and socially. After her three week tour de force, she came out the other side with an experience she didn’t fully-understand at the moment, but I know she will cherish later on- some things in life happen in time-release through the joy of looking back.

We also treated her to an epic shopping spree for some immediate gratification and motivation. We know every time she wears those clothes, she will have a connection to our time spent together. I never got to know any of my uncles or aunts like this, so the desire is there to make a lifelong bond with each of them as they get older and seek different perspectives and advice.

We all need this in life, but guess what? You don’t need to wait on a “rich” uncle’s invite to find challenge, balance, and/or meaning in life. One of my all-time favorite infographics displays in refined accuracy: 

You only need four hobbies.

  1. One to make money from.
  2. One to keep you in shape.
  3. One to stay creative.
  4. One to stay mentally fit.

That’s exactly the advice I gave to my niece at the end of our trip. Get in where you fit in. Fill in those blanks as you experience life, but you need to experience life first. That cannot happen in a temperature-controlled vacuum free of fear.  

Some of us are fortunate enough to get one or two of the above answers as kids.  Some later in life. And some never. Don’t become the Benjamin Franklin quote where he said: “Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”  Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day and 365 days a year- until you don’t.

Get busy living or get busy dying.

Spend your time wisely in a fulfilling and balanced way for you

You can always earn more money.