I used to be a do-it-yourselfer.
I truly believed that I should be able to grow it, cook it, can it, build it, and paint it… all while running my own business and adopting every wayward plant and stray human who crossed my path.
Paying someone else to do a job I was sure I could do, if only I spent enough time talking to the Home Depot guys, was sacrilege. Being personally, hands-on responsible for everything in my reach was practically a religion.
Part of my doctrinal relationship with DIY was economic; I was spending so much time doing all this other stuff that I wasn’t spending much time doing the things I do best, which meant I was barely making enough money to cover the mortgage.
Part of the problem was attitude; I needed to do it all if I was going to be an independent, well-balanced semi-survivalist, which was my own crazy interpretation of feminism (note I said crazy – this was not a rational, thought-out view of feminism; it was a convoluted fairy tale that had I created).
The other piece of my DIY fixation was a story I told myself that went something like this: no one likes these jobs, therefore it’s not fair to ask someone else to do it, so I should just suck it up and do it myself. I was morally attached to not making others do my dirty work.
I remember one night – when I lived in an old Victorian in Beacon, New York – balancing drywall on top of both my head and a large wooden T. As I screwed it to the ceiling, tears ran down my face because it was heavy, and my neck hurt, and I was so bone-numbingly tired.
I told myself this was just one of those jobs that nobody liked but somebody had to do.
Imagine my immense surprise the first time I saw the drywall guys laughing on their stilts as they quickly hung a ceiling.
So, be honest, has your love of “Do It Yourself” become your personal path to “Do Yourself In?”
Here’s how to find out:
- Do a myth check. It’s kind of like a tick check in your brain. Examine your thoughts around activities that leave you tired and grumpy and un-invigorated. Scan the nooks and crannies of your noggin for any ideas that are bleeding you dry or causing headaches and exhaustion.
- Pay attention to the activities you continually put off. Procrastination can be a sign that something is out of your skill set
- Recalibrate your abacus: it’s time or money, baby. If you spend your time making money doing something that is within your special skill set, then you have money to pay someone else to do the things that you are inefficient at, made miserable by, or find mind-numbingly dull.
Find yourself protesting that you need to know it all, “just in case?”
Remember that human beings have lived in tribes, forever. If the apocalypse comes, we will still live in tribes. The chances of you ever having to do everything yourself: pretty slim.
On the flip side of DYI is both the time and the need for self care:
- Nourish your adrenals: bee pollen for your B vitamins, hibiscus tea for your vitamin C, and herbal vinegars to up your mineral intake. A pinch of licorice root added to your tea will support adrenal health (too much licorice raises blood pressure, so this is not a more-is-better situation!).
- Start adding a small amount of seaweed to your meals (buy dried aramay or hijiki dried, soak a teaspoon in a 1/3 cup of water to rehydrate and add to whatever you are cooking).
- Unplug: walk in the woods, read a book, take a bath, chat with friends by candlelight. Time away from the electronics allows us to more deeply relax and appreciate the gorgeous color we choose to paint the living room… back when we did it all ourselves.