When I tell people what I do for a living, I get mixed reactions. I hear everything from "Wow, that's exciting," to "You're beyond crazy!" I can totally understand both reactions and must admit I've thought both these very same things about what I do. On most given days, I am beyond excited to know that I love what I do and that is taking one man's discarded trash and making it into another's treasure. But I'll admit there are some days when I ask myself, "Have you gone completely and utterly mad, girl?!!!"
While most people are talking about retiring at my age, I have barely gotten started doing the thing I didn't know I wanted to do once I grew up. Instead of starting to complete paperwork for Social Security and Medicare (which I'm not there yet, but getting alarmingly close!), I am crawling into attics to look at spaces and suiting up for some of the dirtiest work I've EVER done in my life! I go home at night with tired, aching muscles, covered in dirt sometimes from head to toe, and soaked with sweat all the way down to my granny panties. I hop in the shower, scrub the heaven-only-knows-what out of my scruff of graying hair, and slip into my nightgown. I hit the sofa with something good to eat and watch TV until my eyes can no longer stay open, head to bed, and sleep through the night most times like a baby.
For the most part, it's a good life. If I have any regrets, it's that I didn't start renovating houses earlier in my life. But those were days of rearing children and keeping house mostly, and I was mostly happy and have no regrets about that part of my life. But the regret comes in when I think about how having a career back in those days might just have made me happier and, in the long run, a better wife and mother. But, alas, life is lived forward, not backwards, and hindsight is 20/20, isn't that how the saying goes? I have had numerous occupations over the years, mostly which included clerical/office work (semi-liked), insurance jobs in sales and claims (pretty much hated), care giving (uh, not so much), and legal transcription (pretty good job), and photography (which I still love, but which now takes a backseat in my work, except for family and close friends, and photographing jobs that we renovate for the website). Photography is still simmering on the stove, but mostly in the realm of renovation work. But I always try to remember that sometimes we are meant for things at certain seasons in our lives, and that maybe earlier on I didn't have the drive, the stamina, or the wherewithal to be a house renovator. And, yes, you CAN have more stamina later in life; it is a possibility!
So here we are, deep in the throes of another renovation, which is proving to be the most fun I've ever had. As you know, our last reno was the most extensive to date, but this one will come in a close second, or possibly could move up to fill that "most extensive" status as the job moves forward. As I've stated in prior posts, it's a 125-year old gem which has definitely seen better days. Renovating an old house is something I've had on my bucket list, and I am so excited to get to finally cross it off -- but who knows how long it will take? Every single day, we suit up in our protective gear, put on a little Earth, Wind, & Fire or Aretha Franklin or Billy Joel, and rock out to the sounds of boards coming down, the reciprocating saw, and my favorite tool -- the shop vac -- as it sucks up literally pounds of dust and scum from those beautiful old floors and walls! And at the end of the day, we feel as though we have really accomplished something.
Now, I am not arrogant enough, unlike some people that I know (uh, men!), to think that I will always be able to do this kind of labor. I know the limits I cannot exceed even now. But I heard an author speaking about his new book recently talking of the younger generation we call "millennials," and how most of this generation have never done any hard work and, because of that, they don't have the values instilled in the generations before them that are made by the doing of said hard work. I COULD NOT AGREE MORE! When my generation was younger, we babysat, cleaned houses, cut grass and washed cars, worked on construction sites, helped our dads build things or worked on our grandparents' farm. Today, if you have a teenager who does more than exercise his fingers on the computer or his iphone, they are an exception to this very sad rule. You won't regret it if you make it a priority for your teenager or even 'tween to engage in some decent hard work. They will be all the better for it, and it will help build the character they need for real life!
As for me? This late baby-boomer doesn't intend to do hard labor for the rest of her life. For now, it's necessary and profitable for us to do some of the work ourselves and, odd to some, extremely gratifying at the end of the day. But it's getting closer and closer every day to the time where I'm gonna be able to say "You're hired!" as we pass some of the harder jobs on to subcontractors...every single last solitary chore! And then I'll be able to do the work I really love, designing the final outcome in my head and seeing others make it happen while I order them around!
Happy Thursday, y'all!
"We are made to work. We're made to live a life of gratitude to God by loving our neighbor and doing productive stuff. We want to teach our kids that the goal is not to be free from work, but to be free to find meaning in work."
- Ben Sasse
(Replublican Senator from Nebraska)
Posted by CC
I love to write; you love to read...let's share!