Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why it is worth bothering to do it yourself

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Years ago I thought there was nothing very important about the things we all need to have done to keep our houses clean and food on the table, and have clean clothes to wear, and so on.I had been through the "Women's Liberation" phase in the 1970s and I was pretty clear that

a. house work was a chore

b. everyone who lived in a house was responsible for it

c. I had better things to do

This quote is from Colin Bevan's book "No Impact Man":

When did taking care of ourselves become something so unimportant that it should be got out of the way rather than savored and enjoyed? When did cooking and nourishing my family become an untenable chore? What is more important that I’m supposed to do instead?

He continues on page 47:

Even modern replacements for priests, rabbis, and Zen masters — the positive psychologists — have something to say on this point. That new breed of shrinks has discovered that happy people spend a lot of time being grateful for what they have and savoring their experience. They don’t rush through “now” to get to later. They don’t make taking care of themselves or taking care of their families something they have to get over with so they can get to the good stuff. Instead, they insist that this moment, whatever it is, is the good stuff.

Over the years I have discovered that there is something eminently satisfying to me about making something from scratch in the kitchen, or growing my own vegetables and arranging the house to be attractive and comfortable.

I especially know I get a big sense of satisfaction from making things myself -whether it is knitting or sewing. Recently for example, I have made this tea cosy.

I also made this hand towel for the kitchen. It works really well, is a generous size and hey -I made it! It came from a book I found at Kmart, of all places, with really easy knitted projects in it.

Over at Consumption Rebellion I found a post which I think sums up how I feel now about why it is worth bothering to do it yourself -whether it is cooking, gardening or creating things for the house.I

For me, the reason why it is worth bothering to do it yourself is a combination of

  • unleashing my creativity
  • encouraging independence (I don't need other people to make things for me)
  • saving money (sometimes - the flood of cheap imports from factories where people are paid a pittance sometimes makes this harder to achieve
  • creating better quality things (this is especially true in cooking at home from scratch)
  • reducing unnecessary consumption -which is a major problem in this old world of ours.
Sure, not everything I make is perfect, but given the list of reasons above, I will continue to do as much as I can myself. This does not reduce my conviction that house work is the responsibility of all who live in it -but it simply says that there is something worth doing in all of this.

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