George and I are very different people. He's into triathlon, which sounds rather good for you until you start talking about distances. The Ironman race is pretty insane from most people's perspective (140.6 miles of swimming, biking, and running in under 17 hours). It doesn't make sense to me, but at no point have I stood in George's way or discouraged him from pursuing Ironman glory.
In fact, I carry his bike pump on race day and am proud to retrieve his tired bones from either the medical tent or the finish line. I encourage him to train when he feels guilty for the time it takes, save money for him to buy new equipment, and listen to his debates over which wheel set or running shoe to buy.
Triathlon makes him happy. Very happy. It's his thing. It doesn't have to make sense to me. It makes sense to him. And that is enough. I certainly have my share of unusual interests that are harmful to nobody, although I usually spare George the long debates over whether or not I should buy a die cut machine and the excruciating details of why I hate the novel Pope Joan. His eyes glaze over. It's enough to know that he will support my decisions no matter what, if only because he really wants a new wet suit next year.
It takes courage and enthusiasm to stick to interests outside the norm...courage and enthusiasm that should be celebrated. I love this quotation from Simon Pegg, who plays a pitch-perfect Mr. Scott in the two most recent Star Trek movies.
It also takes courage to allow others the freedom to express their inner geek, whatever the source of their geekiness.
What interests do you have that have been mocked or ridiculed by loved ones? How did you deal with it? Have you ever given up something because you felt silly or because someone else didn't like you doing it? Do you have the courage and enthusiasm to do what makes you happy and celebrate your inner geek? Who supports you in your interests? How can you be supportive of others?