I spend my days working with words, shaping them, sorting them, putting them on paper or into teaching speech. That’s what I get paid for. Right now, as I type this, I’m thinking fondly about working on airplane engines and making furniture. Both of those activities require brain power, but they also demand hand power, and produce something you can look at and touch.
I miss that right now.
I spent Saturday doing handgun stuff at a local gun range. This was in part a range check-out, and in part to see if I’m still physically limited to revolvers (the answer to that is: maybe.) It was part brain stuff, and then almost an hour of hand stuff. 1. I don’t like shooting off of a bench rest, because I’m short and it is a lot easier for me to hold my hands at shooting position than to rest them on a padded block and shoot while seated. 2. It’s wonderful to have no greater concern than “why is my group a vertical line?” (Anticipating, and taking my finger off the trigger between shots. Don’t do that.)
I used to work in aviation restoration. You can see the results, or lack there of. There are more parts on the bench, or fewer parts on the bench. The sheet-metal is bent, rivets are there or no longer there, and so on. At the end of the day, my hands were dirty, often scuffed, I wore various fluids and goop on my clothes because of getting into the guts of the plane to do what was needed, and I’d accomplished something. I could look at the project plane(s) and see what we’d done that day.
Ditto wood working. At the very least, you’ve made sawdust. At best, you have furniture, or cabinets, or toys, or what have you.
House cleaning and gardening can be like that as well. The dust rag turns from [color of former tee-shirt] to “whatever blew in this week.” A five gallon bucket gets filled with weeds. You can see results.
Brain work . . . isn’t quite like that. Yes, I see the word count for the project, but it’s not the same. I can’t show my word-count to someone and say, ‘See, I did that. I’ve accomplished this.” I don’t turn the bar of soap black at the end of the day when I wash my hands. [I used to joke that you know you’re working when you have to wash your hands before you go to the restroom.]
I need to make something, or sew something, or just produce a tangible thing.