Living

What's Your Favourite Pastime?

There is an adage that if you pursue your passion the money will follow.  But what about pursuing your pastime just for sheer pleasure? When I hear the word pastime, I remember a book from my parents’ house when I was a child. It was called Thoughts and Adventures, its cover was a soft and elegant watercolour, and it contained an essay titled “Painting as a Pastime” by Winston Churchill.

I am writing this on a flight from Copenhagen to Toronto, where I am enjoying one of the best parts of international travel, which is the uninterrupted personal time. This will soon change of course when in-plane wifi becomes more readily available.

I have just spent a few hours reading the International Herald Tribune (these days referred to as the International New York Times) from cover to cover. When I slow down and savour the experience, nearly every post seems to prompt me to reflect.

And it occurred to me that reading printed newspapers is my favorite pastime.

I love how it feels to linger and lazily read about things that I don’t need to know about. Like a commentary on William S. Burroughs: the literary bad boy who wrote a short story called “The Lemon Kid.” I had heard his name, of course, but had never read anything by him. But I loved this phrase that he wrote: “They penetrated forbidden swamps with a faithful native boy and lived in the native quarter of Tangier smoking hashish and languidly caressing a pet gazelle.”

Somehow I bet I would have missed that sentence if I had been skimming the business section before rushing off to a meeting!

I am quite clear that my love of reading will not directly contribute to my retirement savings plan. Does your favourite pastime make you money? Or is it like mine, a luxurious escape from the pursuit of anything to do with money?

While I am asking questions…where do I get a pet gazelle?

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