The end of another year has me thinking a lot about what has been and what’s to come. I’ve always assumed that having been an active amateur radio operator for 46 years meant that I would ride this hobby into the sunset. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If there’s one lesson life has tattooed on those of us of a certain age is that all good things eventually end. I’ve enjoyed my time spent pursuing multiple interesting facets of ham radio, or at least I think I have.
Radio has never been absent in my life from high school thru a long career in engineering and now into retirement. My ham radio story is a little different from most who got into the hobby early, dropped out for decades, then rekindled the old flame in later years. Having never had a break from this hobby I’m sometimes left to wonder how things might have turned out had I followed a different road.
Sorry to bore you with blather, but these are the kinds of things a retired fellow has time to wonder about and put into words on a chilly gray day less than three weeks out from Christmas.
When it comes to putting ideas into words, I’ve been building walls of text about ham radio for more than two decades. Sometimes I wonder if I would still be interested in this hobby if I didn’t also write about it? It seems a fair question. Do we produce content as a byproduct of amateur radio, or is our participation in amateur radio a byproduct of making content?
For instance, I can’t say with certainty that many ham radio YouTube creators would drop out of the hobby if they could no longer produce videos about their participation, but it wouldn’t surprise me. The fun isn’t “just” radio for everyone, it’s radio PLUS the video production process and subsequent likes and feedback that fuels the passion. So I wonder, is that why I’m still blogging after more than 20 years and after this form of publishing has been irrelevant for at least the last decade?
That notion caused me to think about why I continue writing this stuff and I arrived at an answer that suffices for me; writing provides clarity. You’ve probably heard it said that “writing is nature’s way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is”, and knowing how sloppy your thinking is allows you to sharpen it, test your arguments, etc.
I discover my understanding of something is much less when I sit down to write about it than when I’m just thinking about it while doing anything else. I change my own mind on things a lot when I try to write them down. It’s a powerful tool for finding clarity in your own mind. And once you have clarity in your own mind, you’re much more able to explain it to others.
Writing takes time. Writing well takes a lot of time.
The bottom line is that another New Year is fast approaching and I plan to continue this lifelong radio adventure and I’ll probably keep writing about it too. But these plans are made with the full knowledge that life, health, and time are all finite resources and who knows where we will end up on another journey around the sun?