What an experience this first few months have been! I can tell you one thing; nothing will challenge your body and mind like deciding to start a construction business again in your mid-50’s. After 6+ years of working at a non-profit and sitting behind a desk I took a deep breath, and with Tami’s blessing put on my tool bags again. Not that I really ever stopped construction, being a remodeler at heart. But working on one’s own house is very different from drumming up work and having the future depend on my skills. I went from the comfort of heat and air conditioned spaces to whatever weather the Oregon coast decides to bring.
In the beginning it was challenging to say the least. Not only did I have to whip my body into submission when it groaned, but I had to reopen all of those corners of my brain where the all of the construction and remodeling knowledge has been shelved.
My son Matt is a quick study, so just a few weeks into this he was making smart decisions and questioning me on decisions, something I love to see (dads aren’t always right). We have a very good relationship and I think he understands that a big part of why I’m doing is for him.
Many of my stubborn habits have reawakened, and I am learning to swallow my pride and get with the program. My fingers have band-aids all over them from slices, slivers, and minor infections due to my habit of not wearing gloves. Actually, I gave Matt my gloves on the first day since he didn’t have any and I haven’t replaced them. Still, I prefer going gloveless, but yesterday broke down and wore a new pair all day. By the end of the day my hands were still clean, had been protected, and Tami gave me kudos for doing the smart thing for once. Actually, she didn’t say it like that, but I will. You see, as we get older we settle into habits that don’t break easily. I am learning to once again eat a cold sack lunch everyday, and if I make a bad decision or cut a board wrong, it costs ME money, not the other guy I work for (there is no other guy anymore).
Tami is working hard to figure out taxes, acceptable deductions, and all of the legal stuff. I just have to find the work, convince them they need to hire me, and then complete it to their satisfaction. So far, so good on that point. Right now the weather is mostly dry, so people are talking decks and exterior siding. In the winter they will be wanting bathrooms and kitchens remodeled…I hope. It’s a risky proposition, going into business again, but I still have something to give, something to teach, and lots to learn. I intend to be free to pursue other dreams because of the flexibility that self-employment offers. At the same time I guess I’m proving to myself that I’m NOT an old fart, destined to sit behind a desk until retirement. I’m learning that I’m not too old to get out there and still get it done!
Till next time,
If you know me at all....Jerry here....you know I love to write and tell stories. I think this is going to be my favorite page of our website!