Posted by: simplysheridan | August 18, 2010

MANual Labor

Today I spent much of the day helping my parents attack some pretty tenacious weeds. With all of the rain and sun we’ve had this summer, things are more robust than usual.

Because I have allergies to pollen/dust/mold/etc., I’ve been able to avoid yard work for much of my life. I’m still not a fan of large lawns – I believe the space would be better used for forest or food, but I have to admit a sense of accomplishment though from my time in the yard (and a little pride for a number of deep scratches gained in battle), the kind you don’t get winning legal cases, raising money, doing civic education, or even mentoring. I have done a lot of outside work before, but I’m just reaching the age where I appreciate the hidden beauty of what I would have considered a boring or tedious assignment when I was younger.

Physical work might not be glamorous as the creative economy and there are times when it’s downright unpleasant , but I think it’s really good for us (even the girls who are certified princesses ;-). So instead of outsourcing things we can pay someone else to do as a matter of course, it’s probably a good idea to try to do more ourselves (insourcing?). Some jobs are beyond our abilities, but where we can get it done, it makes sense to feel like a real man or a woman and save the money.

While I’m an optimist, all the talk of many baby boomers outliving their money has me thinking my generation is even less prepared to live to 95 or 100. The government and the economists want you to spend to stimulate the economy, but I think at least a little bit of increase in saving/selfishness is good. Save it where you can and if you have more than you need in 50-70 years, your kids or your favorite non-profit will be happy to take any extra cash off of your hands. As an alternative, doing some things yourself might save enough cash over time to justify some custom furniture or other household items, designed and built by a local craftsman or craftswoman.

So, in my mind all work is of equal dignity and every human being should test both his or her mind and body on a regular basis – the easiest way is probably by moving towards a slow food approach in the kitchen, but your home or apartment (or your parents) probably presents lots of opportunity for both personal satisfaction and savings…


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