What Do I Love To Do?

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That, or something like that, is a line that’s tossed around a lot. I’m not sure if I know anyone who loves their job that much…I sure don’t. I have a boring-to-describe job in IT. I’m good at it, I’m well-paid for it…but it’s as interesting as watching paint dry. And not that scintilating metallic paint either…eggshell white housepaint.

So lately I’ve been asking myself, “what do I love to do?” After accepting that “drink beer and watch porn” was both the top answer AND not very useful, I looked at things I do when I get a minute.

A lot of what I do in my spare time is dink around on the internet on my iPad. I don’t love doing that, though. It’s more of an idle pastime when there’s nothing else better to do. So I looked deeper, at things that maybe weren’t even done expressly to relax, or as a hobby or a leisure time activity, and I realized that my overarching love is:

I love to make things.

I find, looking back at my life, that I love creating stuff and working with my hands. This stuff may be a fair amount of work, but I love doing it, and I have been making stuff for as far back as I can remember. When I was a kid, I built model cars and airplanes, and I drew pictures nonstop. I made paper airplanes. When I got older, I made forts in the stacks of haybales in our barn, and I reassembled toy cars into “creations.” I made a sidecar for my bicycle out of 2×4’s and a bicycle wheel. I made a rocket car out of Lego’s and an Estes rocket motor. I wrote poetry and stories. I have always been a darn creative person.

When we bought our first house, we put in a ceramic tile floor ourselves…and then laminate floors…and light fixtures, and screen doors. These projects were not quite creating, but nice. Then I designed and built a patio out of granite scraps. THEN I designed and built a pergola to go over it for some privacy. In a later house, I designed and made a firepit.  THESE projects were things I made from the whole cloth, and they were awesomely fulfilling.

So in recent years, that has been a much smaller aspect of my life as I dealt with the day-to-day of being a husband and father, housework, yardwork, etc. This year, though, I pulled out a project that I’ve had on hold for five years and I finished it, and I realized that it was what I’ve been missing.

So I bought a $3 bicycle at a garage sale just before the twins were born in 2006. I took it apart, stripped the paint, and then put it in a box as we raised the girls. This year, though, I was able to pull it out, sand off the rust, prime, paint, acquire parts and re-assemble it into a red and white beach cruiser that I’ve been riding this fall with my kids. And even though I worked on it mostly after 10 at night; even though I worked on it in a 90-degree garage on humid July nights in Florida…I enjoyed the hell out of the process. Most recently, my wife found an idea to make a garden bench out an old bedframe, and we happened to have an old bedframe handy. So, I completely ignored their plans and instructions and made the bench my own way, re-utilizing the bed’s own hardware and making a really nice bench for $0 total outlay.

“So what?” you probably say. Ah, the dreaded “so what” test. What does all of the preceding rambling have to do with the price of tea in China…or my life or this blog? Well, we are looking at opportunities that may take us away from the great (not really) state of Florida in a year or so, and I have been digging through the job market looking for a job that I would like to do, in a place we would like to live. Although really, I’ve been looking for jobs that are pretty mugh like what I’ve been doing for the past ten years, as that’s where the easiest chance to get hired is at. Jobs I’ve been doing for the past ten years. Jobs that have made me more or less unhappy for the past ten years…and in looking at it that way, I’ve been wondering “what can I do to support my family that I would actually love to do?”

So, I don’t know what jobs there are that combine an MBA, IT and creativity, but if I find it I’ll let you all (you both? I don’t want to overstate my readership here) know what it is.

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