If you haven't gotten outside lately, you are certainly missing out. The High Country is screaming for people to get out and start doing something.
Emerging from what felt like the longest winter ever, many people are looking toward summer as a time to work on some major projects around home and elsewhere. What you do depends on you. If your house is like mine, there are plenty of household projects begging for your attention, but it's hard to know where to start and how to motivate.
Sometimes the best starting place is that project that you feel the most impetus to complete. Maybe you're thinking of getting a hot tub, and so re-doing your deck to be able to hold the load of a hot tub is the project you think you can put the most passion behind — hint to my husband.
I'm finishing a book by James Clear called “Atomic Habits,” and he writes about how each person has different talents. Specifically, that you should seek out success by first figuring out what things you are good at — those things which seem like a chore to other people but not to you.
In the context of things you want to do yourself, start with a project that utilizes your passion and talent. If you love digging in the dirt, consider changes to your yard or garden. If you are great at simplifying, de-cluttering and organizing like Marie Kondo, maybe you should re-think your bedroom or your kitchen, or help a friend that is not so great at letting go of things. Or, if you just want to make something easier for yourself in the long run, determine the small steps it would take to accomplish that.
My son, Ben, recently started on a quest on his own DIY project.
Now, anyone that knows Ben, knows he has lots of energy but doesn't always know how to expend it. As he's gotten older, he certainly has gained focus in different aspects of his life. He's an excellent student and also athlete. But some folks don't realize that Ben also loves making things.
For years now he would stick things in our bonfire and see how the flames melted or changed whatever he had put into it. Coins, pieces of metal, sometimes a gummy bear. The gummy bear melting was just a colorful, crazy mess that he liked to observe. But the metal — he'd take the metal out with some tongs, start banging on it and create what he could.
Then, at some point, he started binge-watching the show “Forged in Fire.” He watched the episode where local Avery County resident Liam Hoffman won the grand prize roughly five years ago when he was about 20 years old, and now has a thriving blacksmithing business with many sought-after knives and other tools. At 14, Ben doesn't have a lot of income opportunities, but he did start earning some money by helping move wood and doing other physically demanding outdoor work for friends. He saved every bit with little exception. Now, he has an Amazon list of every tool and machine he needs to start his own forge. Recently, he has started purchasing some of what he needs.
Then there was the problem of where was all this stuff going to go. Thankfully, we had a building available but it had been a neglected site for years. Ben took it upon himself to completely clear it out, sort through all the tools — with the help of my husband — as to what was usable, what could be donated and what should go to the dump. He put hours into this job — he swept, cleaned, dealt with a hefty rodent population, built shelves himself, organized every bit of what we have and is ready for the next step and the one after that.
I won't say that this did not seem like to work to him, but I will say that as he looks forward to getting to use his equipment, and has already started using his drill press, a new compound miter saw and other tools; it is obvious how much he enjoys making things. Some are practical. Some are interesting. Some are just him figuring out how the machine works and what it will and will not do. I don't necessarily think he's the next Liam Hoffman, but it makes me smile that he is driven to see something through that is both creative and useful.
When you're a parent, you are constantly reminded of how different your kids are and what their individual talents are. I think it's our job to help our kids discover what is already there and give them the opportunities they need to find success in things that give them joy and satisfaction.
I'm so grateful to have three bright kids that are all making their paths to utilize their talents. They all impress me on a daily basis and also remind me that sometimes the best guidance is that which comes from them. So as I contemplate my next project, I try to keep on giving them support towards what holds importance and passion for them. And I'll look inward for my next big project as well that seems worthy of my coveted time at home.