It’s Never Too Late To Start


Disclaimer-Captain DIY and highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!

I have a diverse group of clients for whom I do electrical work. They come from all walks of life, they have all kinds of life situations, they reside in a huge variety of income levels, and almost all of them have something in common: they try to do most of their home improvement projects themselves. The only reason they hire me is because they realize that some aspects of home improvement may be beyond their capacity, and they want to be absolutely sure it’s done right.

Yesterday I was doing some work in the basement of a gentleman who has spent the last 60 or so years in academia, and has just undertaken his very first DIY project. He wanted to finish his basement so he could have a place for his grandkids to set up a train set and play, and he wanted to get his hands dirty in the process.

This is a person who has no knowledge or experience in the use of tools. He made his money with his mind, not his hands. He has, in his seventies, taken a huge step outside of his comfort zone, and he will soon be hanging drywall on the stud walls he put up along the periphery of his basement.

Now, he has had some peculiar requests for me, such as strategically placing my electrical boxes so they land on the edges of his drywall. He is concerned about cutting openings, and feels he has a better chance if the cuts aren’t in the middle of the sheet. No problem, I’m happy to oblige.

We can all learn so much from this gentleman. He has spent his life working with his brain, and has decided to leap into the world of DIY with a fairly ambitious project, but he is well aware of his limits. He knows what he wants, and he knows what his DIY level is.

It can be hard sometimes to accept the fact that we don’t know how to do everything. Believe me, as Captain DIY I feel like I should know everything, but I accept the need to continuously learn new skills. My client knows that he is a DIY beginner, and he is also willing to push the edges of his comfort zone just enough to grow without becoming overwhelmed.

The main point I want to stress here is that this is someone who has never worked with tools, but has picked them up for the first time in his seventies and is now elbows-deep in a basement finishing project. It’s never too late, folks. If you’re feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing, and you think you’ll never be able to learn a new skill at this point in your life, remember that there is a man out there in the world who has started anew in his “golden years”.

There are more and more classes popping up, at least in my area, for people who want to learn great new skills such as carpentry and welding, but aren’t looking for a new vocation. These are for people who want to be able to do these cool things just for the simple pleasure of building something with their hands. And most of the people who take these classes are in their later years.

What have you always wanted to learn? Is there a skill that has been tickling the edges of your fancy? Do you look at someone building a house, or carving a statue, or welding a frame, and wish you could create something like that? Go do it! There is no reason you can’t at least give it a try, and if it seems like maybe it’s not as cool as you though it might be, you can always move on to something else.

It is never too late, and if I am sounding redundant it’s because the point bears repeating. We humans are incredibly adaptive, and we can learn anything we want to if we really put our minds into it. No matter where you are in life, you can always learn something new. And if that new skill helps you do cool things to your house, even better!

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