You are constantly confronted with deciding between doing something yourself or having someone else do it for you. Should I cook or go out to eat (order-in)? Should I clean my house or hire someone to come in and do it? Should I change the oil in my car or take it to a mechanic? With so many products and services available to cater to your every conceivable want, it hardly seems a difficult choice to make. But, I believe, you end up making a Faustian bargain in making the easy choice.
Last year I read “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” by Michael Pollan. It changed the way I look at food and drastically impacted my eating habits. For starters, I got closer to actual food instead of consuming processed food products. (The only time I felt this healthy was eating my mom’s cooking.) I have discovered a sense of joy, satisfaction and pride in making something with my own hands that I didn’t get from eating something pre-made. And, cooking has let me express my creativity, as it has let me build new dimensions to my friendships – exchanging recipes & pictures of my creations. (Check out my friend Katie’s blog on her experiments.)
I have also found a similar sense of joy, satisfaction and pride managing my own place. (It’s more than just cleaning.) I learned about 5S when I got started in the Quality field: Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. It has greatly helped me organize my life. Repeating the first four steps each week as part of the fifth step has kept me in touch with what is happening in my house. I have been successfully getting rid of things I don’t need or use instead of wasting time and energy caring for them. Putting things in their place has meant being able to find them when I need them without frenzy and panic. Cleaning everything on my own has let me see problems & fix them promptly before disaster struck.
Last weekend I changed the oil in my car by myself for the first time. It’s not anything complicated, but for someone that had never done it before it was a sense of accomplishment. I learned a new skill! And, it’s something that can’t be taken away easily. I feel more empowered for being able to maintain my own car. I feel more secure that the job was done properly. (I’ve never been a fan of mechanics. I’m always suspicious whether they do what they say they did.)
Doing things by yourself helps you grow. You’re not always going to get things right the first time around. Nor is it going to be cheap. But, it adds to your experiences that make for a great life story that you can share with friends and family. It’s your life. You should live it, not outsource it.