I have a theory that if you want to understand what a man considers manly, you look at his grandpas. So, let's take a brief look at mine.
Ray was a radio engineer in world war two. I remember him being eccentric in his ways with regards to religion, and I find it unfortunate that he developed Alzheimer's. So, what can I say? The dude knew analog circuits. He had a electrical workshop in the basement, and made things out of resistors and vacuum tubes. He had a bit of side business in a cottage factory to make new light sensors for a local company where he used to work. He had a ton of old computers, and is the source for my old-school knowledge of computers. Commodore 64? Check! IBM PC? Check! VIC 20? Check! TRS-80? Check! I learned to operate these computers at a fairly young age which helped trigger a snowball to my current career.
Joe was a veteran, rail road worker, and farmer. He was also a kind man. I don't remember much prior to Joe's move to the country, but I do remember the farm. He had a garden which he worked. He had cows, horses, chickens, and ducks. Actually, I think my grandma had the ducks. Side track, I treat ducks more like pets, so I was mortified when my wife fed me duck eggs. Not only did he farm, but he had a firm grasp of mechanics and could repair his stuff which is required trait for being in rural landscape. In the back of his garage, he had a stocked wood-shop. Their property had a pond, and we kids would fish it. Spending multiple summers there was an educational adventure in how to live.
So, here I am, in my early thirties. In the last couple years, I was forced to come to terms with my mortality and had the prototypical existential anxiety. This gave me an awareness of how short life is. This thinking would lead to answering questions liken “am I preparing for my retirement?“, “what is my retirement going to look like?“, “should I try to retire early?“, and “what would I do?”
These are questions we all have, and it made me think. I'm fortunate that both my grandpas had a builder/maker spirit, and I have inherited this spirit in a weird combined form. For instance, I love making thing with woods and playing on computers. Instead of analog circuits, I'll design digital circuits. I write code for fun. I can find joy in working a patch of land and making it healthier. I love the calm that is found from fishing.
So, I'm this odd combination. Interestingly enough, I'm thirty and I'm growing in all these different dimensions by:
- building out my workshop and amassing tools
- tinkering with electronics
- gardening for exercise and vegetables
- making furniture
And, I'm doing all of the above with my job. If you wonder how I have the time to do all this stuff, then it is real simple. I don't have kids.
Full On Grandpa Style
The hobbies I have are what I would do if I was retired. Just make things for the sake of making it. Will I have a boat? Yes! Because I am going to build the frak'n thing with my own two hands. The irony of building my boat is that I will build it, use it twice, then sell it.
Without the kids
Since the wife and I are not having kids, then this is a great opportunity to share with friends. Oh, Kid A is turning 8, she needs a cool wooden toy set. Kid P is turning 12, he needs a desk! Kid X is a fetus, he needs a crib!
At a core, I believe it takes a village to raise kids right. I kind of hope that the friends I meet will invite me into their lives and let me share myself. Maybe it is creepy, but I don't care. I'm making stuff for fun, it may as well go to someone.