HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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The members of Generation X were born between 1965-1980. They were known as the latch-key kids. They were more on their own, so they became entrepreneurial and individualistic and were (some of them felt) misunderstood by other generations. School problems focused on drugs. They were raised in the transition to digital knowledge via a new vehicle called technology. This generation has multiple career shifts in their lifetimes, unlike previous generations. There were more single parents. They are not the savers of earlier generations so credit card debt can become for some a way of life.


Generation Y or Millennials were born between 1981-2000. They were nurtured by omnipresent parents and told they are special. They feel the pressure to succeed academically. Millennials have great expectations for themselves. They value work but prefer a more relaxed environment. They prefer digital literacy because they grew up in a digital world – they’ve never known a world without computers and the Internet. They thrive on unlimited access to information, living in a world that demands skills earlier generations didn’t need or have, and they want to succeed quickly in life.


The Cyber Generation or Generation Z was born between 2002 and the present. They were not born when 9/11 occurred and have never known the safety previous generations knew. They have benefited from better education about health and wellness. They are Web-based learners with a new range of toys. They were exposed to SMART technology from infancy. But they have short attention spans, these multi-taskers who prefer images to words (think emojis and Instagram). They value relating through social media and yet want their privacy. They show entrepreneurial tendencies and are concerned about their future prospects in the world they know today. They are our future. And like previous generations, they have hopes for a better world through protecting the environment and seeking world peace.


It is fascinating to view your family through the eyes of each generation. What remains the same is family is family. Regardless of what generation one belongs to, we are still more alike than different. This holiday season, take time to look around and see what each generation represented brings to your family gathering.


Sources and Resources


HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: REFLECTIONS ON OUR GENERATIONS


The next generation is referred to as the Silents. They were born between 1927-1945. They are the Korean War and Vietnam War generation. Their characteristics include discipline and self-sacrifice, as well as caution and caring. They walked to school, said the Pledge of Allegiance and saluted the flag every day. The most serious school issues they faced included passing notes and chewing gum in class. This generation heard the early calls for civil rights, equality and feminism and had a shared sense of trans-generational common values.


The relatives and cousins at the holiday gathering who were born just after World War II (between 1946-1964) are called Baby Boomers. This is one of the largest generations with some 77 million members. This is the first television generation, the rock and roll generation. Recreation and exercise were a regular part of their lives. They introduced the country to free love, societal non-violence, self-righteousness and self-centeredness. As health care improved, they began to focus on aging and became the first generation to use the term “retirement planning” to mean enjoying life after the children left the home and work was over.  

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut and Professor Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Department of Gerontology, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky.

more articles by dr thomas W. Miller

There are six living generations – fairly distinct groups of individuals with their own sets of likes, dislikes, thoughts and priorities. In a family with a centenarian and a 3-year-old, all the recognized generations are represented. What does each bring to the holiday table? Answering this question can be a very interesting adventure that brings a unique perspective to family gatherings.


The 100-year-old great grandmother is part of the GI Generation. Members of this generation were born between 1901-1926. The great grandmother was born in 1918. She endured many struggles during World War II. She was a youngster during the Great Depression and often shares lessons she learned, such as avoiding debt and cleaning your plate. It is important to hear her stories because they laid the foundation for this family. Her generation saved the world and then built a nation with energetic savers and doers. This generation was community- minded and focused on personal morality with firm standards of right and wrong. Loyalty was for life in marriage, jobs, groups and schools. There were no thoughts of retirement because people worked until either they couldn’t work anymore or they died. This generation witnessed the age of radio and air transportation. They are the generation that remembers life without their own cars, airplanes, television or personal phones. They grew up without modern conveniences such as refrigerators, electricity and air conditioning. They have earned the designation as “The Greatest Generation.”