Guilty Pleasures....

Have you ever felt guilty about this "hobby" of yours?

Have you ever asked yourself this question: "Shouldn't I rather devote my time and money to things that is more important in life?"

I have one of those guilty feelings tonight... or let's just say that I have been made to feel guilty...
This breaks my heart - it puts me in a very tight spot. (and no - I am not even married or engaged!)

Kind regards,
Dewald Visser
I hear you Dewald. I've spent 20 years building up my main system and it sounds superb now (but wait till I get the last few tweaks done)! Yet 92% of the people who hear it don't realize how good it actually is and how much work went into it. And on top of that, it sits there dark and silent whenever the family TV is on. If I had the money it is reasonably worth, I could travel, buy new clothes or maybe a car...

I would think all that were a good reason to feel guilty if I could be sure that my hobby was compulsive, a way of fleeing reality rather than a way of taking pleasure in reality. As long as it is not a compulsion, an obsession or an addiction I need not feel guilty... IMHO.

What is it that your guilt tells you you should do? Would it be realistic and healthy?
No & yes, perhaps should have devoted more time & money to other important things. It all depends on what you regard as important ie: savings for the future, helping a friend in need, contributing to society, learning new things....etc. IMO, it's about striking the balance & I 'm sure most of us who are reading this will know when it becomes an excessive indulgence in this hobby.

I am 23 years old - my passion lies with music.
I am busy developing a radical turntable and tonearm - not for my personal pleasures but for the fellow music-lover.

It is my mother that don't understand! I wish I could fly away if you know what I mean...

I am not compulsive - all the gear I have is 'recycled' vintage stuff that I saved from the rubbish-bin.

I sometimes feel guilty (especially after dropping $18K on amps) but I have a very understanding wife. I make sure I pay all the bills, put money away for retirement, and provide everything my family needs first. I have been lucky in that I have the means to devote resources I have into this whacky hobby. Overall, this is my chosen hobby and make me happy which in turns helps make me a better husband and father...hey that sounds pretty good. I need to make sure I remember that so I can use it on my wife the next time I want to buy something big....:)
i don't feel guilty at all. this hobby is about a challenge to create a presentation that i enjoy, and having attained that would not find it necessary to search for other components. the sound i am looking for is not the sound most people want.

i realize that in terms of life's priorities, there are many others which are more important and i try to keep this fact in perspective.

i don't obsess about my audio interests in the presence of other people. it is a very private hobby. fortunately, i don't listen for hours and ignore evrything else that is going on around me.
Hmmmm.......with due respect, your Mother always understand. She has probably been there, done it & everything else. I think it only make sense to rationalised with her "disagreement", if there is any & perhaps communicating more at the same level & compromise on any differences.
All the best....
Whatever the guilt feels like, Dewald, and it can feel horrible, you don't have to use it to beat up on yourself. Developing a radical turntable and tonearm is sure to teach you a lot, and bravo for your salvaging and recycling. IME the most awful feelings will pass if you let them do their thing without trying to get rid of them by repressing or acting out. Maybe you and your mother need to have a talk, perhaps with a neutral party present if one or the other of you is not sure they'll have a chance to be fully heard. Good luck!
There is no need to feel guilty, what needs to happen is to build a system you are happy with and stick with it. An audio system is a tool for playing back your favorite music. That's all there is to it. Once you leave the obsessive compulsive behavior behind you and stop obsessing over other components out there, you will find you have more time for everything else including music and the expenses also stop.
Well said Tboooe. That hits it right on in my view.

As long as you have your priorities right; your family is not wanting; you're saving for your future; you have no debts; and, you have some disposable income left over, then what's the harm. If everything else is taken care of, then why should a person not enjoy some of the pleasures that life has to offer in the short time that we have on this earth. Enjoying life is not something to feel guilty about.
One thing that helps me rationalize the huge expense of this hobby, is that once I get my system to a certain level, I've tended to stay with it for 20 plus years.

So, once you do the math and spread it out, and consider the amount of enjoyment gained, it actually seems pretty cheap.

It also keeps me out of trouble, Audiophilia is awfully tame compared to a great many other things I could be doing with my free time.
Okay, I could have bought a country club golf membership (around here 50k plus 500 bucks a month plus a food charge) and been around my family less with nobody enjoying it but me.. then add food, misc, a cart) but I would rather golf with my friends at the local muni.

I could have bought an exotic car that I could take one family member in who would complain about the wind, the noise, drive it twice a month on Sundays, move my wife's car out of the garage, pay insurance, upkeep, etc.

I could have bought a boat, forced the family to go there every weekend, pay the payments, the slip fees, the barnacle scraping fee, the fuel, the upkeep, etc.

Instead I bought a stereo that my whole family can enjoy, that brings me great joy, that keeps me at home, that uplifts the soul, and satsifies my need to tinker,that is a per piece charge, no monthly maintenance fee (other than bigger electricity bills) that soothes me when I am tired or stressed. If I want to upgrade, I can try it out, I can wait on the finances, I can buy something for 12 dollars and have a new piece of joy for the rest of my life. I can pass along my love of music to my kids, amazingly, one daughter in in three dance clases as a teenager, the other plays cello and drums, wonder if they had done that if I was away playing golf three times a week instead of playing music every night?

All things being equal, I can think of a lot more selfish things to spend money on.

The one thing I can see that makes this harmful like many other things is we make this hobby and stereo we obsesed about for so many years into our God.

It may take priority in our lives and my be something we think about to much only to spend less time with family and more important things as some of you others have said.

I make myself sick sometimes that I can spend endless dollars on this while theres millions of kids dying yearly due to hunger. I ask I doing what I can or am I into myself wasting more money on my own little audio world I call my Home theater room.

Yes Dewald, I beat myself up too, cause my life has gone down in some areas since I became a bit obsessed with this. Its funny, but when I look at the issues of my life such as not have the focus and desire to serve my Lord and some other things It all began at the time this audio thing started. I cant serve two Gods!

This has been bothering me too, and I know I can get the balance back into place and still enjoy this hobby.
I can see that this hobby can quite easily become an obsession. Thankfully due to financial contraints, I couldn't get too carried away. After some soul searching, I got to the point that what I had was good enough. I wasn't in a competition with anyone (although I can be pretty competitive), I just wanted a system I could really enjoy listening to music.

I stopped looking to improve my vintage system a year ago. I spent about 10 years in building, upgrading, tweaking. obsessing, etc. The chase is over, I don't move stuff around, I don't try to tweak more info out of it. I just listen to it and enjoy. I do spend some time and effort in building up my music collection, but thats about it.

If in my local travels if I find a nice peice of equiptment at a giveaway price, I buy it and sell it to recoup some of my previous audio expenses. I think I have finally found some balance in my audio life.