No B.S Friday: Maybe they don’t make ‘em like that anymore, or maybe we’re just not trying.
I have a mate of mine who lives in a nice apartment community up in Cairns. It’s a bunch of stylish, low maintenance unit towers. For that reason, they’re pretty popular with retirees and people in the twilight years of life.
He’s also on the body corporate. He was telling me the other day that the biggest problem they have is how to keep the old fellahs out of the garden.
The community is low maintenance by design. Someone comes to clean the pool. Someone does the gardens. Someone mows the lawns. The gardener puts the bins out when he arrives and puts them away at the end of the day.
By design, there isn’t much to do.
This drives the old blokes crazy.
Most of them have come off the land – off one of the sugar farms that surround Cairns, or off the rich agricultural land in the Atherton Tablelands.
And they’ve spent the full working lives, from 17 to 70, 7 days a week, sun-up to sun-down, working the land. Working hard.
They literally don’t know how to stop.
Suddenly they go from managing several thousand hectares, to a few square metres. They don’t know what to do with themselves.
Their energy and work ethic needs an outlet. And so they try get involved with the garden. They want to put the bins out. The roller gate is a little squeaky so they get out the tools to have a tinker.
So then the body corporate gets complaints from the gardeners because someone’s been messing with their program.
So body corporate puts up a sign that says: “Please do not help with the garden.”
Most body corporates should be so lucky. A lot of body corporates end up with signs like, “Please do not urinate in the car park.”
But the poor old farmers go crazy. They’re cooped up in the apartment with nothing to do. Crosswords and day-time tv only fill so much of the day. And they
want to be doing something. They want to be productive. They’ve barely wasted an hour of daylight their whole lives. They just don’t know how.
And it’s a cruel irony. They’ve probably spent their whole lives dreaming about moving to the coast and putting their feet up. Now that they finally have the freedom to do that, the dream is sour. They just can’t enjoy it.
And they get a bit depressed.
You gotta feel sorry for them. I admire these tough old bastards. A tough life made them tough. They weren’t given an easy run of things and they rose to the challenge.
And I find that inspiring. When I feel like things are getting tough, I sit back in my large leather chair, take a sip of my ¾ skinny latte, and imagine I’m out in 40 degree heat or 40 inch rain trying to wipe the crap off an angry sheep’s bum.
A little bit of perspective goes a long way.
The other thing I remember is that hard-work is a skill, and skills can be learnt. I’ve seen this with my own journey. I often hit points where I think I’m past full-capacity. Like if I keep this pace up I’m going to blow a gasket or something.
But after a while, the hard yards become your new normal. You surprise yourself at what you’re actually capable of.
In time, you’re able to knock over a week’s worth of work before morning tea time.
Never underestimate what humans are capable of. Never underestimate what you yourself are capable of.
Life is long. You can get a lot done.
But at some point, you’ve got to give yourself permission to take a break.