By Riaan Reay | May 1, 2020

It was the 14th of March 2020, when I originally wanted to publish this article but due to personal issues, I have not published it until now.  The reason for this, that I believed that the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) would have been something of the past.   Being a pharmacologist and not a virologist must have something to do with this.  Or, was I just naïve?  You can choose. 

During this timeframe, my original article has not changed much, the core still stays the same.  So here goes…

It was on the first night of our annual leave when my wife and I finally got our daughter to sleep that we realized that our new found haven was quiet, peaceful and that this tranquillity here caused you to hear the silence, your own heartbeat and your own thoughts.  What an amazing place to stop from the chaos in this world.  Well our daily world, that is.  Little did we know, but this world would become much more chaotic as time progressed.  I have decided not to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic since this virus has had more coverage than my articles.  In addition, COVID-19 had more coverage than any other positive story in recent months. 

Therefore, I have decided that the core of my article would remain on the same trend as initially thought.  Just one more thing.  This thing, actually the main thing, that leads me to write this article is the following.  My family pharmacist/mentor in pharmacy/tutor/ ”father” recently retired and sold his pharmacy.  His whole life, energy and passion were placed into his work.  Even though very successful during his career and obviously retiring as financially secure as many of us would only dream about, his life now lacks something that many professionals (pharmacists in retail) lack.  It lacks meaning.  Being the centre of a community for 40 years gives you a reason to wake up and grab the day.  Now, this reason is gone.  Let me add that he was well-loved in the community he served and was central to my success as a pharmacist and his advice on life was worth more than textbook knowledge. 

How does he/me/you get value in life when something changes?  Find meaning.  As easy as that.  During the second night on our holiday with the silence filling your ears and new thoughts forming I have heard the following discussion between me and myself:  Me: “you need a hobby”.  Myself: “Yes but I have many”. Me: “like what?” Myself: “cycling, golfing and canoeing”.  It continued until I realized that these hobbies were sport and not hobbies.  What an eye-opener. 

After doing some soul searching and reading on what hobbies are and which ones, I would like I have come to the following conclusion.  My hobby needed to be multi-faceted.  It needed to have the following so-called ingredients.  I need to use my brain and my hands.  I need to see it develop before my eyes and it needs to add value to the community.  Central to this, this hobby should not have anything remotely to do with my current job, nor with any sports activity.  I need to be able to do this well into my 80’s (if God prevails) and I need to be able to hand it over to a future generation. 

This is a tough ask.  Honestly, after the three-week break and the easing into work (due to COVID-19 lockdown procedures) and being completely mentally rested I have found one that can answer to each of my multi-faceted hobby ingredients.  I am not going to spoil the beans yet, but honestly, I have not been this excited in years.  Why have I not started yet, well as everything these days, blame it on COVID-19. 

Truth be told, do not blame COVID-19, thank COVID-19 for it has given me the time for introspection, silence in the chaos and answers to the damaging effects of the spin-out effects of this pandemic that we face. 

Please be safe and adhere to all the information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.  Find a hobby that fills the gap and keeps you focused during times of lockdown and times of loneliness. 

Hobbies fill the shortcomings in life that nothing can fill.  Please take a positive message and start something to switch off your mind while having a stressful career so that you have something to live for when everything else (money, loved ones, work, etc.) falls away.

Thanks for reading.