Finding Enjoyment in New Places
I am about 75% through a major property clearing effort, removing excess shrubs and bushes to protect our home from wildfire risk. Our property isn’t large, but it’s large enough that this is a real effort, and it abuts a large federal wildland property that is grossly overgrown. There is lots of fuel in close proximity, so getting this done is important. Most folks pay laborers for this work, as I did three years ago. This year, however, I felt I could do it myself. Normally, I would do it in the spring when it is not so hot, but I was unable at that time so it has become a summer project. Summer. In Arizona. Yes, it is hot.
This is not level property. Think hillside, think rocks, think lots of scrub oak, mahogany, pinion pines, manzanita, and other assorted varieties of brush. In other words, a lot of work, which I do during the cooler parts that bookend the day. To put it simply, it has turned out to be quite a learning experience.
I’ve learned that my back is the age that it is, but that I can manage it and work with it. I’ve learned how to really use tools that I’ve had a decades long distanced relationship with. I’ve learned how to protect myself against the elements and its inhabitants. Most importantly, I’ve learned that I enjoy, really enjoy, doing the work.
This kind of work accomplishes a couple of things that I find beneficial. First, of course, there is the sheer physical effort required. It is hard work which must be sustained over an extended period. That has not been my norm and my health is showing the benefits. My weight and blood pressure are down; stamina, energy, and focus are up, as is my enthusiasm. Further, the time I spend in meditation and prayer are up as well. Yes, you can meditate and enjoy being in God’s presence while cutting and carrying all the bushes.
A project that I took on as a challenge to myself has become a great joy. I won’t say that I can’t wait to do it all over again, but I will say that I won’t back away from it. Besides, I have a small investment in new tools that I need to get value from!
This fits into a larger pattern. Over the last two years I’ve become something of a tinkerer. I’ve learned to sharpen my growing assortment of pocketknives. I mean really sharpen, as in hair shaving sharp. I now own saws, grinders, wrenches, and other tools that I never used before because I didn’t have the time, knowledge, or interest. Now I do, and the time spent with these new friends is some of my favorite.
The point? Step outside of your comfort zone to engage in new worthwhile, healthy pursuits. You will find it an enjoyable process, and with any luck you will gain a new set of handy tools … or maybe find new relationships and influence