The virtues of our hobby: Patience

I’d like to start a series on the blog about things this hobby has taught me. Allow me to wax philosophical for a moment.

The virtue of patience.

I have anger issues. Not holy-terror level or anything, and I’m never physically violent. I mean I get very frustrated sometimes. Who doesn’t, right? Over the years I’ve benefited from meditation, martial arts, and just trying to be calm. There are always things and people that can push my buttons, though. For some reason, I rarely lose my patience over hobby issues.

Despite significant setbacks in my Imperial Knight project, I never gave up. I did get upset about the cat breaking it at one point, but I got over it. I can hobby for literal hours on end. It’s become a sort of meditation for me over the years.

Nothing clears my head faster than the pungent smell of plastic cement and the bitter aftertaste of Agrax Earthshade.

This is not a great hobby for those who lack patience. At least, not for those of us who model and paint more than we play. You can paint fast, to be sure, but you still need to dedicate some real time to the project. I paint slowly. Very, very slowly. I have no problem with metal recipes that are 12 steps (there’s got to be a joke in there somewhere about 12-step programs).

I once had the idea that I would find a fast recipe for my Eagle Eyes marines, with the intention of playing more games. After a long time, I realized that I really don’t care that much about playing games, and I wasn’t really painting the ‘fast’ scheme very fast at all. Why not enjoy the process as much as possible? So, I rethought the process and laid out my recipes and steps. The armor is base color, wash, a layer, two highlights and a glaze. On top of that, weathering. Because it’s fun.

I am a patient man. I like painting, and there’s no need to rush it.

How does the virtue of patience apply away from the hobby table?

After chatting online about how complicated my paint recipes and techniques are, I got to thinking about it a little. I really need to work on applying this patience to other aspects of my life. I decided to start documenting the virtues I find in this hobby with the intention of being more mindful of them.

If I could be half as patient with my loved ones as I am with a paintbrush, I think I’d be a much better person.

The truth is, I let life’s struggles get to me far too often. Did I cry when I nearly melted my knight’s leg armor? No, I turned it into battle damage. So why was I so upset with my job when I was having a rough week at the office? I think I need to take a step back and relax, and see the setbacks for what they are: minor in the grand scheme of things.

In real life, pressure and deadlines are always looming. The destination often takes my attention and I forget to enjoy the process. These are things that simply don’t apply to my hobbying. The deadlines and pressure become motivation and drive. The end goal of playing a game with a piece becomes simply the first step on the path to a completed piece in my collection.

I will be making a much more concerted effort to harness my finely honed patience skills and putting them to use to make me a better person. After all, we all want to believe that what we do has some deeper or greater purpose than just tossing dice around with our buddies or blowing off steam.

How about you? Have you learned to be more patient because of this hobby, or is it something you struggle with? Do you lose patience with your painting projects?

Let’s talk in the comments below. I want to hear what you think.