Editor’s note: Nancy Cox is the founder of Research Story Consulting and former CPG corporate researcher. Her work and play include words, sketchpads, cooking (not baking) and the occasional sock puppet.

Passions, hobbies, healthy distractions and even guilty pleasures – discover how the research community plays and how that plays out in their work life. In the Venn diagram of work and play, what happens when work and play overlap? Research colleagues share their work and play stories in this interview series by Nancy Cox. 

I play drums. I started playing drums very late in life. I’m 44 and I’ve been playing a little over a year. I’ve always admired drummers, listened to drums and wanted to play. I think parents, especially mothers, tend to over-sacrifice their own interests and hobbies. Now is the time for something just for me. And who doesn’t respond to a good drumbeat? The first instruments humans played were percussion. Drums get everyone up and dancing. It’s amazing to play the drums and feel the music come through me. 

My dad played guitar, and I played around on his guitar, but drums are my first instrument. Learning an instrument is tough. With drums, learning the limb independence has been so incredibly challenging. I’m learning on a full kit, so I’m using every single limb with a different expectation and a different measure of success for each limb. A friend of mine said it’s like patting your head while rubbing your stomach – then trying to play hopscotch at the same time. 

I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to hold the sticks correctly – tight enough to play but loose enough to let them rebound – and it’s also challenging to learn how the sticks move in your hands. You have to let your sticks pivot in your hands rather than hold them tight like holding an ice cream cone. 

My first full year, I took lessons every few weeks. I’m taking a small break at the moment. I’m...