I’ve never really considered myself a maker. A creator, yes. But a maker? Nah.
When my dad built his retirement home he constantly talked about how he wanted a workshop in his garage. I didn’t get it. I grew up with him making a few things. He’s mechanically minded. We worked on cars a little bit, and built things out of wood.
I wouldn’t have considered it enough to warrant an entire shop. I didn’t understand his obsession with it.
I’ve always liked to take things apart, but it was always just tinkering. There was no real purpose or reason behind it. I was way more interested in academics and using my brain. Although I’ve enjoyed the physical aspects of things I’ve gotten involved with:
The creative process can be physical and I like that, equally as much as the brainy parts.
This last weekend opened a new door for me. There have been some projects around the house that have needed to get done. I went to Home Depot with a specific amount of money and a huge list of things. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get everything on my list. Turned out the wood I needed was on sale. I got it all.
When I got home, I got to work. I finished the backyard electrical that’s been unfinished for two years. I finished a windowsill, which was a feat considering my tool selection is pretty limited. I built an arm table for the couch.
I’ve never built any of them, so starting and finishing them within the weekend was extremely rewarding. There is something about building with my hands and having it look decent and function the way it’s supposed to. It’s a piece of me that’s not me.
The most significant aspect for me was adding to the house. I know that the house is mine I bought it. But, someone else designed it, and built it. I just live in it. We decorated it, styled it to our way of life, but when I put that windowsill on it started to become mine.
I added to the existing house. It’s now architecturally different than every other townhouse in the complex because I added that windowsill. That’s pretty awesome.
I know that that windowsill is going to have no impact on the world at large. But, it will have an impact on the day-to-day life of my family. On a small scale it parallels the idea that it’s harder to live for a cause than to die for one. Living is taking small steps daily dying is one giant act. It’s easy to get lost in the minutia of the daily.
Working on those projects this weekend sparked the maker in me. It’s helped me understand my dad’s reason for adding a workshop. His desire for a space to call his own where he can have the tools he needs to make and to build. To make his life uniquely his.
A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with my friend Peter Sham. He brought up death and how he can see it in the distance and he’s in a furious race to get as much work out as possible.
I want to make things. Not just to make things, but to make my life better.
When I say, “I want to make my life better” there’s a part of me that fights back. That responds with, “Who the hell are you to make that, to do that, to be that?”
It’s hard not to believe those. To push through that resistance that my inner gremlins create. But, when I sit with the results of the work after the fight, it’s worth it.
What projects are you working on? If you’re not working on anything what’s preventing you from diving in?