Hobbies creating social unity through physical distancing

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The pandemic has expanded the amount of time we spend alone. For some, COVID-19 has given us time to focus on hobbies as a refuge to escape isolation. In some way or another, much of the global population is facing isolation. Even if you were a homebody working from home, you must admit things are not the same as before this time last year.

If we can, let us not fret over things we cannot control so long as we can keep ourselves safe. Within this net of safety, the pandemic has had minimal effect on the US consumer economy despite its growing toll on lives taken. Spending on sporting goods, hobbies, musical instruments and bookstores went up eighteen percent compared to 2019, according to the New York Intelligencer.

In an interview with Eric Bonesteel and Brian Read, we learn how two hobbies have become fulfilling endeavors during the pandemic.

Brian Read in front of his music collection.

Indeed, Brian has amounted to a massive collection of compact discs and records surpassing a thousand albums. There are many genres in Brian’s music selection, ranging from his favorite musicals to global sensations only regional audiences know.  During these extended periods of isolation, Brian has enjoyed creating music mixes for all occasions to share with his friends. He has a mix for any party, season, time of day, type of mood. If you need a music mix for a luau on Christmas that went all day after a funeral, Brian would be the expert to go to ensure everyone had a grove.

Brian described his first accounts endearingly for his passion for collecting music. When he was a little kid, on Sunday after church, his dad would always take him to FedCo afterward. “And right to our left [of the entrance] is where the records were, and I would always go where the musicals were. If I found something I did not have, I would go to my dad and ask him to buy it for me.” He seldom recalls a time when his dad would deny his musical indulgences.

Eric Bonesteel at his sewing machine making face masks for friends.

Eric learned his skill when he was a kid from his grandmother. But sewing did not impress Eric until he applied it towards making Hawaiian shirts. Some years back, he purchased a new sewing machine, and he found himself making all sorts of costumes and dress wear for themed events. Eric is a sociable extrovert who finds joy in keeping busy. As a furloughed service industry worker, Eric has found himself with some time, lots of fabric, and a demand for protective face masks. Lively patterns fill his sewing room for creating fun face masks for friends. Eric explained, “It takes a ‘minute’ to get into the groove. Once you get into the repetition, it’s a form of therapy.”

One of the modern world features that have made the pandemic tolerable for many is the internet. The ability to search and learn a hobby has never been easier for most of us. Both Eric and Rob suggested beginner start off soft and with something easy. If your interest is music, begin with making complete collections of your favorite artists. If you are interested in sewing, start with something simple. There are endless unique hobbies suitable for any interest which can bring people thoughtfully together. YouTube offers many hours of “How to” videos on any hobbies or interests.

Eric’s face masks feature bright fabrics and fun prints.

Online shopping makes it easy to maintain a physical distance. However, convenience can be costly over time. It is essential to know there are also many small businesses within our community, run by people like us, struggling to keep their doors open.  Many local hobbyist locations a run by experts and can offer specialized insight into your hobby, saving you money and hassles over time. When purchasing supplies for your hobby, consider taking some time to find a local business to support. There are endless unique hobbies suitable for any interest which can bring people thoughtfully together.


Brian Read, personal communication, October 25, 2020

Eric Bonesteel, personal communication, October 1, 2020

Josh Barro, August 16, 2020, Americans Are Shopping As Much As They Were Pre-Pandemic — For Now. New York Magazine. Retrieved from: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/08/americans-are-shopping-as-much-as-they-were-pre-pandemic.html

Cover Photo, Free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0, September 11, 2018. Retrieved from: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1449029