This is a slight variation of what I first published on my flyfishing blog. After doing so I decided I'd like to publish it here with just a few modifications:
In 2014 it became obvious to me that photography had surpassed flyfishing as my #1 hobby. My wife tells me it's been that way for several years. Don't get me wrong. I still love flyfishing. It's just that I don't think about it 24/7/12 like I once did. Instead I think about photography 24/7/12.
I'm not even sure how many days I fished in 2014, whereas not so many years ago I kept a journal so I would be sure to know how many days I fished, with whom, what the weather was, where we fished, what the water temperature was, what flies worked, etc. etc.
My best guess is that I fished 15 days this past year. I used to fish 40-50.
There's nothing wrong with fishing less often. And there's nothing wrong with lusting for the latest camera bodies or lenses instead of the latest fly rod or reel. I think our lives are constantly evolving and re-balancing. As the current saying goes, "It's all good."
It occurs to me that for most of us, an "interest" exists for a finite period. Then we move on.
Interests often start off slowly, become more intense sooner or later, and then trail off as new or different interests come into play. Some relationships exist this way. Some jobs exist this way. Some businesses exist this way. I think there is a natural cycle to everything. For some things and for some people, this natural cycle may last only days or weeks, while for others it may last decades or even a lifetime. Interestingly, sometimes an interest "hibernates" for a while, perhaps for years, then re-emerges.
My interests, both past and present and in no particular order, include but are not limited to: archery, fishing, downhill skiing, stamp collecting, jogging, army dinky toy collecting, camping, backpacking, triathloning, bicycling, and photography. Skiing was my first all-consuming pursuit. It started at age 10, gained intensity in my teen years and early 20s, then trailed off in my late 20s as I redirected myself toward family and children. It was a very nice and enjoyable 20 year run.
During the middle part of that period I thought about skiing all the time (or at least parts of every day...but, hey, I've always been a day-dreamer). I remember during high school when I used to flip through the pages of skiing magazines every day after school and learned about and dreamed about the latest equipment and ski racing techniques. In my late 20s, when my interest waned, I never stopped skiing entirely, and in recent years I've found myself stepping it up a bit by aiming for 10 days of skiing per year. Do I think about skiing the other 355 days per year? No, not really. But years ago I would have.
The same natural progression has occurred with flyfishing. Ten years ago I was fishing once or twice a week during three seasons a year, tying flies during the winter, reading all the catalogs, adding books to my bookshelf, participating in the online forums, adding to my Web site fishingwithflies.com, and acquiring gear. Not so anymore. This past year I fished perhaps 15 times. I have no complaints about that, as I would have fished more if I'd wanted to. During the other 350 days of the year I did not think about fishing. But ten years ago I would have.
Photography for me is now in the "intense" phase. I read about it every day on the Internet, participate in forums, have this blog, have a Website peterfraileyphoto.com, use a feed reader to follow dozens and dozens of photography sites and blogs, participate in a photo club, and I acquire way too much gear, often buying and selling on eBay.
But it's all so much fun. I realize too that taking pictures is really only one aspect of the hobby. Gear is another aspect. I love toys, even if they don't necessarily make me a better photographer. If it is like other interests and hobbies I have had, there will be a day when photography consumes a smaller portion of my life. But hopefully, when it does, it will be because another interest has taken bloom. As I said earlier, "it's all good."