Entitlement got you down? Some do-it-yourself ideas for you, or someone you love, to develop self esteem

hedgeless_horseman's picture

It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.
-Napoleon Hill

I learned that a local Texas church just sent their youth group to Latin America so that they could "help" the poor locals by repairing the sidewalk of their church.  However, I learned it was one of the village contractors that actually repaired the sidewalk, but that the teenagers were allowed to help with some of the tasks, like mixing the cement.  I notice that the sidewalks in front of their own church, here in Texas, are not in good repair.

Here at our home, our children are replacing the rusted-iron fence around our swimming pool.  I first had the job quoted by a couple of local contractors, both Latin Americans, and they each came in at more than $7,500.  Instead of hiring one of them, I purchased a little MIG welder package for my teenage sons ($750), gas, tank, cart, and wire ($400), and new steel fencing ($700).  We already own a grinder, but I did buy some more cutting and grinding wheels ($60).  They are almost done, and I will soon need to buy the paint and thinner for them to finish the job ($70).  

I have not given our boys any instruction, mostly because I do not know how to weld, but also because there is a massive amount of good instruction available for free on youtube.  Mainly, I do not want to steal from them the chance to develop self esteem by doing for them what they can do for themselves.  I did tell them that I reserve the right to personally inspect every weld, and that they would need to redo any that did not look absolutely perfect.  They know their father well enough to not bring up the fact that I have no qualifications to judge a weld.

They have been spending many hours a day on this project. I have heard rumors of procrastination, argument, negotiation, foul language, mistakes, and threats.  I have seen actual evidence of failure, determination, improvement, success, productivity, craftsmanship, pride, and increased self-esteem.  The work I have inspected looks great, and the boys are now clearly enjoying the project.  Yesterday, I was thanked for giving them the opportunity to learn how to weld. 

Here are some do-it-yourself ideas for you, or someone you love, to develop self esteem.  

Grow something edible

Prepare a meal from scratch

Host a dinner party at home


Negotiate for and buy some used tools at a pawn shop

Change the oil, oil filter, air filter, and fuel filter on your vehicle

Check the antifreeze, power steering fluid, brake fluid, washer fluid, and transmission fluid

Rotate the tires on your vehicle (far better to learn in your garage than by fixing a flat on the roadside)

Visit AutoZone and have them download the diagnosis for that check engine light you ignore, for free, then consult youtube on how to address the diagnosis


Repair some damaged drywall in the home and then paint it

Replace the cartridge of a leaky faucet

Replace or repair a broken light fixture

Replace the 1/2" screws holding in your one-kick door hinges and locks with 3" stainless steel screws


Sew a missing button on a garment

Launder and press some cotton shirts and pants

Measure and hem some pants to length


Sharpen your knives

Clean your pistol, rifle, and shotgun

Install Malwarebytes or a similar program on your PC

Install additional memory


Meet with one of your elected representatives

Write an article about the meeting, and submit it to ZeroHedge or your local newspaper


Write your own healthy menu and shopping list

Make your own huarache sandals for trail running

Write your own fitness goals and exercise plan

Learn yoga and practice it 


Make your own monthly budget and follow it

Write your own savings goals, and a plan to achieve them

Get out of debt  (It is OK to get help if you need it)


I hope readers will add their own do-it-yourself ideas and experiences in the comment section.  


Peace, liberty, and prosperity,


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RathdrumGal's picture

Gee, I thought most of these things were just a normal part of day to day life.  I am on lunch break right now, but so far this morning i have done laundry, killed wasps, shirted and washed a sheep fleece (it is hung to dry in the 100 degree sun -- will be my winter spinning/knitting), put a load of homemade goat's milk yogurt in the freeze drier, and started another batch of yogurt.   My husband will be working on the deck he is building once it has cooled off, as we plan to AirBNB the guesthouse.  I will weed the garden, wash my summer car, and clean the goat house.  We use You Tube to learn new skills as we adapt to our lives as subsistence farmers.  I always considered myself a compotent person, and never worried much about self esteem.  

But now I feel badly that I don't know how to weld. 

Dumpster Elite's picture

Another "skill" I find useful, is being able to put together your own PC from parts. I taught myself how to do that (YouTube is great for that as well), and have built many for myself and others, and am in the process of teaching my kids how to build their own. It makes computers a lot less mysterious if you know what the parts are under the hood. Very similar to cars. If you do all the work on your own vehicles, identifying problems is a whole lot easier.

CoonT's picture

Buy 'Where did the Towers Go' off Amazon, and read the whole thing.

sister tika's picture

A few months ago, my next-door neighbor insulted me on my own front porch for no reason. I then taught him how to go fuck off. He caught on very quickly and has not appeared on my porch since.

Is America a great country or what? We learn from each other and adapt. Everybody's happy. Problem solved.

Excellent missive, h_h.

Casey Stengel's picture

Great Thoughts, HH. Mrs. Stengel and I moved to a farm when the three Stengel boys were very small. Bought and raised dairy heifer calves and gardened. Had a horse at one time as well as chickens, goats and a duck. We built farm buildings and worked smart and hard. Years later one of the sons passed many PhD's in a job interview because he knew how to get dirt on his hands and boots and knew the soil science required for the position. As a vocational teacher I loved getting together with the math and science teachers to see how I could put the equations and theories into real life practice.

Kalashnikov545's picture

Teach young boys how to fight. They will need to know these skills under the best of conditions.

discopimp's picture

Great list H_H, If I may be so bold to offer another item:  "Learn about virutal currencies, and determine if they work for my situation; and, if so and when ready, teach someone else how to transact and store them, or join / start a Meetup gropu to instruct others."  

Casey Jones's picture

Fantastic list. A big one for me and mine is

Learn to play a musical instrument
Write songs
Start a band

I'm hear to tell you that learning to play music in mid life has kept my mind sharp; you're using parts of your brain matter that don't otherwise get lit up. Plus women dig musicians.

geno-econ's picture

If you have a 4x4 vehicle, purchase a light wieght Snowbear residential snowplow ( about $2,000)  and plow your own driveway.  Pays for itself in a couple years in Northern regions. Can also plow neighbors driveway and be a hero or make money..   Also learn to clean your own oil furnace---  It is a dirty job but  saves a few bucks. 

Xamune's picture

Big fat thumbs up here! It reminds me of how little many people know how to do DIY maintenance tasks and upkeep. At least I can say I can do most of the tasks listed here :)

Secret Weapon's picture

H2 - Always enjoy your articles.  Thanks.  SW

New_Meat's picture

h_h: great list. 

That and the comments have lotsa' old time Boy Scout philosophy and syllabus.

- Ned

{and Tom Leher -- "Be Prepared" comes to mind as well ;-) }

Oldwood's picture

"Get er done" is being replaced with "I'll wait till someone else does it".

New_Meat's picture


"Boys, it's gonna' be cold tonight, sure hope you get enough firewood."

ebear's picture

Five things you never want to learn on your own.

Flying a light aircraft.

Driving a heavy truck.

Operating an excavator.

Running a railway locomotive.

Steering a ship through the Welland Canal.


shutterbug's picture

Great article to read...

Especially about kids growing up doing and learning things without some "professor" telling them what to think,
which is always colored by their world view...

HRH Feant2's picture

I cook at home everyday. Dinner tonight was wild Copper River salmon (yes, I bought a whole one and froze it in portions) along with roasted organic asparagus and linguine with Parmesan, butter, and pepper. Not fancy. Pretty plain. I like to sear the salmon skin (after making sure it is scaled and all the pin bones are removed) and once the skin is crispy I flip it over and finish. Time to complete dinner? Less than 30 minutes. Including prep. (I thawed out the salmon in the fridge, that took about 18-24 hours).

Damn HH, I got one of those notices from my HOA. I know the trim needs painting. It has some butt ugly color that has faded to an even uglier color as it gets the sun. Took a walk over to the HOA president's house to ask him how to fill out the form. I don't need to make three copies (ain't that good!) and I do need to attach paint chips. Okie doke! No worries. I wasn't planning on painting my house pink or purple or any other weird color.

But I did have an interesting conversation. Guy was very proud of his house. He had mentioned to me that he had paid $4k plus to have it painted, with two coats. Semi-gloss as a matter of fact. You know how those builders are, cheap! Anyhow, that builder's paint job has held up just fine for 10 years. All except for the trim (which is currently white) and the accent color (which is a crappy faded mustard yellow). The HOA has no list of approved colors. You are advised to wander around the neighborhood and pick colors you like. When I told the guy I liked his trim color he said that it didn't have enough contrast for my house.

Who knew you had to incorporate color theory when painting your fucking house a boring color? The thing is I have been an artist all my life and my home is filled with art in various mediums: pencil sketch of a horse when I was 13 years old, watercolors, oil pastels, needlework of all kinds including cross stitch, embroidery, crewl, crochet, tatting, and photography. I have an iconic photograph from my trip to Monet's estate in Giverny that I captured with a 35mm film camera. A photograph of the pond with the landscaping reflected upside down and the only steady, clear image is that of a few lily ponds. It was early spring. I adore that photo and gift it to people I like.

So forgive me if I am offended by someone being wrapped so tight that they consider the exterior colors of a house to be that important. It is a house. And some of you know I don't use the P-world in my house. Or outside of it, either. What is the P-word? Perfect. There is no perfection in the earthly realm and, yes, I am a god-fearing woman. This world is imperfect and we must suffer than imperfection until we are reunited with our maker. God forgive me because I am a sinner and I know I will never, ever be perfect.

Seriously. Some people have too much fucking time on their hands.

I met two neighbor's while walking around looking at paint colors and they both bitched about the landscaping. One was a the HOA president. The tops of the arbor vitae were not equal. I am not even fucking joking. I looked at the bushes and looked at the guy and looked back at the bushes and said "wow! I never would have noticed that!"

What I wanted to say was not in a million years is it on my list of things to be concerned about as to whether or not the arbor vitae are trimmed at the exact same height. This guy went on to lament the costs for the landscaper (the richest person I know and he works his ass off by the way). Apparently the landscaper is paid $100K per year. Okay. So what? My cost per month is between $50 and $100 a month. I am happy to pay that fee or I wouldn't have bought the house!

Guy went on to complain and said the HOA group looked for other landscapers. They got various bids and one person bid $200K per year. So they decided to stay with this landscaper. I asked the guy, well, you know he hires guys that speak English, what about that? It came down to that was too much money and, apparently, we are being ripped off. I mentioned that it used to take me 4 hours, or more, to mow the lawn of my first house which was on two city lots (about 1/3 of an acre) and when I asked about hiring someone (this was 2004) they told me it would cost $60 a week and $240 a month. This is the reason I am so happy about the cost for maintaining the front of the house is between $50 to $100. A bargain.

Anyhow, I know this, because I hired the landscaper to do my back yard too, he is a cool guy, I found out why his crew is white. He hires folks on work release from the local jail. Which is why they are white and speak English and are polite. I have never had any problems with the crew. Ever.

Did I mention this to the jackass that is the head of the HOA? No.

So I had to ask this guy about the form. Since my trim is currently all white can't I change the color? I had no idea I could paint my trim two different colors. Am I going to pay extra for that? No. I would rather spend my excess cash on silver or BTC.

Anyhow, in the process of getting bids for my painting project. Never had to do this before it is quite a process.

Rant /off.

PS: depending on the bids I get it very well may be the case that I end up painting my house myself. Not sure yet.

Singelguy's picture

What in god's name are you doing living in an HOA and what possessed you to buy a house in that environment? An HOA is just short of a FEMA camp. You own your house but not really since the HOA commandos can make your life a living hell if you do not comply with their interpretation of the rules. Why would you subject yourself to approval by some idiot neighbor of the color of your house? They need to get a life. If I were you, I would sell that house (before the next crash) and buy a house outside of any HOA. Dealing with the city and county government is bad enough, never mind those HOA communists.

HRH Feant2's picture

Calm down. I hear ya. I lived in an area with no HOA. Had one neighbor that left his dogs chained out in the yard laying in their own shit. How do I know? I went to water those dogs on a very hot day and ended up having to scrub dog shit off the bottoms of my shoes with a scrub brush. Very nasty situation.

It is a hassle but I find it both instructive and amusing. I don't want to paint my house some horrible color. Really. And I respect my neighbor's. And I love the landscaping crew! Those guys totally rock! (Since I don't have to mow the lawn, thankfully!).

An HOA is a pain in the butt. However, living next to a guy that chained his dogs and had them live in feces wasn't fun either. This isn't where I am going to live forever.

Tough choices we all have to make. This place is a temporary pit stop for me. And my next home? Dang, no fricking way am I going to have a yard! I am into the natural landscaping look.

The thing that freaks me out is realizing that people are watching me 24/7/365. I can't tell you how freaky that is.

This property is a long-term investment based on the location.

Anyhow I appreciate your concern and your advice. Thank you!

Brexit Ala. Expialidocious's picture

Well thats a fine, How do you do? Now ain't it Feant2?  Sorry you had to go through all that.  Thanks for sharing all the same.  The Hedge always provides thought-provoking comments when he contributes. Were you at Marfa?



HRH Feant2's picture

Glad to get that off my chest! Nope, didn't go to Marfa. Didn't feel safe, for me, taking into consideration that a Supreme Court justice died while on holiday near to that town. Made me skittish. Single women need to stay smart, alert, and on our toes. That kind of alertness has kept me alive and gotten me out of more than one tight spot. At my age I prefer to avoid tight spots.

Marfa seemed a little too sketchy for my taste. Just saying. And way too fucking hot. Not my cuppa tea. I like snow and I like cold.

PS: so the previous owner had put some type of reflective film over the windows in the garage. Has anyone else had to deal with removing 10-year old reflective film? One of my neighbor's was flippant and said she had peeled hers off.

Okie doke. Out of eight window panels I was able to remove the film from three. It took me an hour. The glue? Well I sprayed the windows with Windex and covered them with plastic so, hopefully, the glue will be dissolved in the morning. If it isn't dissolved? No idea. Have to go back to Utube to figure out how to remove glue from film that is left after you have peeled off the film.

Five more window panels to peel. And three window panels with stuck-on film glue.

It never ends.

I hope those people that thought my house was ugly are totally pissed off during their dog walks in the morning. Oh my god that house with the ugly garage window panels! Watch out! Danger ahead!

Wrenching Away's picture

I know this post was weeks ago, but if you still need to get that film off, a heat gun and a razor blade scraper are your best friend.

HRH Feant2's picture

This is an addendum.

I went to a trade school for carpentry and worked on several remodels. It was a great way to learn about all of the trades.

I have installed sinks and plumbing and replaced lighting. It isn't that hard. The key to cutting a Formica counter is tape and a fresh jig saw blade. Did it in one day. Not that hard.

I have installed my own GPUs for years. Same for ram. No problem cleaning my heatsink fan or replacing the heatsink goop (sorry forgot the technical name for it). I had a neighbor stop by my place and they were surprised that I worked on my computer. I told them I actually turn unplug it before sticking my hands inside. Not sure if they got the joke. Long time electronic techie so call me a nerd. It won't hurt my feelings one bit.

Yes, chicks can use tools. And cook. And do needlework. Not too proud to say that the idea of painting my house sucks.

New_Meat's picture

the technical name for "goop" is "heat sink shit"

Singelguy's picture

Sell the damn house and don't spend a dime on paint, unless you know it will improve the resale value.

HRH Feant2's picture

I hear ya. Interest rate is 2.875, fixed and PITI is $1000. I can easily rent this place out for $1500/1600 a month.

Paint is basic maintenance and I always keep a few grand on hand in my emergency fund.

Shit happens. House is in a decent neighborhood. I don't plan on living in it too much longer. Perfect rental house, though.

Thank god I have my "shit happens" cash fund. Don't even have to touch my PMs.

Cruel Aid's picture

I have accumulated all the tools necessary for most major projects using this very philosophy. In fact I'm ripping out walls and gutting for yet another massive project.
Everybody should get qualified... oh yeah, friggin asbestos!
Sup smudge

a Smudge by any other name's picture

Bygods HH your love for the people is so abundant.

The day God made you? That was the day when he retooled the assembly line and you were the first model that came out. You are made to spec.

Love you bro. And thank you. On behalf of my people, thanks for beign you. And all praise to the One who made us all.

Anonymous_Beneficiary's picture

Any goddamn monkey can pull a MIG trigger and stick two pieces of metal together. Whoever gets self esteem from that should get the same from a hot glue gun.

What the fuck is this, Hints from Helpful_Heloise?

Did you also tell them to youtube how to read a tape measure to so they could make sure they're actually making things square and center? Those pickets that are a half inch off should be a real self esteem killer.


TheWrench's picture

Hey bud, you got the link to the you tube video on tape mesures? Always wondered how to use one. Thanks in advance.

Oldwood's picture

The self esteme that we gain from actually creating something...accomplishing something is the true currency devaluation of our society. There seem to be so few jobs out there that offer much in terms of accomplishment, and our society has largely denigrated anyone who actually works. Coming home at the end of the day with a bit of filth and odor is not acceptable, and anyone who does go to work and actually applies themselves is seen as a sellout or fool. People lack the experience of accomplishment to actually understand or have any appreciation for it. And so many parents deliberately try to shelter their children from WORK.

I was brought up in construction and taught to expect NOTHING not earned, and even then to not be too terribly surprised if nothing was earned regardless of effort. But effort was the key. Applying one's self, putting in the effort was the only sure way of achieving.

I own a business of 32 years building custom furniture, but have done just about everything that employs a tool. At 64 it still rewards. Just built an irrigation pond, setting 1500 bags of concrete for a retainment wall, largely by myself...and I'm still alive! That's 75,000 lbs of concrete loaded and stacked on pond banks....by hand. Still more to do.

Silver Savior's picture

Dude what were you thinking? lol.

Oldwood's picture

When enthusiasm is lacking for my projects, I tend to do them myself.....which partially explains why after 30years of business I have only five employees.

Golden Showers's picture

This is a legendary posting. Thank you HH.

100% agree there is more one can do oneself than one knows. My better half was given a truck. Needs a new timing belt. Well, it went. Shut the truck off, tried to start it. Wouldn't start. Was very lucky the belt did not go while running. I spent $100 on the tow, less than $300 on parts and tools. Another $100 on oil, coolant, filters. I took this thing apart and discovered 14 teeth missing from the timing belt. I replaced the belt, front camshaft oil seals, front crankshaft seal and a coolant hose that one can only get to behind the whole mess in front of it. Started right up. Only thing I've done before was change the oil. The job took me two weeks, lots of hair pulling, looking at youtube, and basically realizing that I prevent myself from achieving because I lack a measure of faith in myself. The end result is that I gained a bit of esteem through the ordeal and succeeded in my efforts. It does lead to further adventures. Went on to replacing rear axle bearings, starters, and troubleshooting electrics on vehicles.

I've grown produce in raised beds. Fixed pipes and computers. Had a neighbor who built his house work me hard. Sometimes I forget what it's all about. That one of you has a brace and bit inspires me. Having hand tools and keeping them sharp is a craft in itself.

Try brewing your own beer. That is a bit of work but rewarding. I've never met anyone who does not want a free bottle of home brew. There is a method of un-learning that occurs when one decides to go it on one's own and just do it. Un learn the idea of "I can't". Because it is a false program. If anyone can do a job, you can too.

One thing that is so important: invest in your own tools. Only get what you need when you need it, but as in HH's example he's got a mig welder now and there will be other jobs. The welder investment paid for itself on the first use. Also welding skills are sought after. One last note is to improvise. You'd never guess you can use that random socket on your shop press and get perfect contact and clearance. I prize stupid stuff like free paint stir sticks and shims. They have saved my ass in a pinch numerous times. Axle seals on my bucket needed pressed in 5mm deep into the tube. So I used a stir stick and cut out a 5mm deep side and very carefully punched that seal to depth. No leaks, no problems. No expensive toolkit that I need one part of.

Just do it. We all can do more than we think we can do. Realizing that you did it and can do it again is tremendously gratifyinig. Be proud of who you are. Know yourself and like yourself. We need to like ourselves before we can like others. Take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. Love oneself before one can love another. And know oneself before one can know others. It's all about you. We can all reprogram ourselves with careful effort and at the end of the day, it's just us.

stacking12321's picture

Well said and nice avatar.

Silver Savior's picture

This do it yourself thing has gone way too far. Consumers are getting so many messages from all over they can do most anything themselves and they can't. I work in retail and it's a freaking headache nightmare trying to deal with these armchair contractors. 

First of all they want to half ass everything, cross thread fittings, do insane stupid gas line adapter work, ignore all warnings etc. They think ductwork is stove pipe, trying to connect propane tanks to appliance lines omg and all those fucking faucet cartidges might as well throw the fucking faucet away than trying to find the exact one they make a million of them. 

It all goes with the deteriorating third world status of the country I suppose. I am not surprised.

Oldwood's picture

I have contended that all of this self home improvement has been a winner for contractors given all the shit everyone is fucking up and then having to pay a contractor to fix. And what a fucking mess some of these people make....but then again there are a lot of contractors out there faking it too.


Silver Savior's picture

I guess do it right or have it done right later. I suppose all this do it yourself crap helps the economy after all. The think they can do it themself people buy shit and install it bad then have to rip it all out and get a contractor to buy the right shit to make it right. It ends up costing more! 

Sorry but I have no patience for their shit. To top it off they all want to take advice from me who does not fix anything and can not stand DIYers. lol. Dude, I just stock shelves, I know Jack schitt, leave me the fuck alone. Bullshit!

matermaker's picture

Sweet Jeebuz does this self absorbed man ever STFU.   You have a 'homestead' and you don't even know how to weld?   Have your kids learn on youtube instead of have one of your neighbors[surely you get along with them, right?] show them?  'cause you know, some folks are hands on learners. And after all, you never bothered.   Posting selfies of his maters...  Preaching on and on...   Never heard a peep after your little get together, hedgless.   Total flop maybe?   I don't know what size your hands are, but I bet they are sure soft.   Which one of the tylers to you blow on a regular basis?

People who actually live in the country and make a living at it scoff at your punk ass telling others how to live like we do.  Bought your kids a bunch of overpriced welding equipment to go fix your damn swimming pool... then told them to watch youtube 'casue you don't have a clue.  how inspiring!   With any luck they went down the road and found some old timer who could teach them, cause dad doesn't know shit.  Here's a novel idea.  Go learn to weld with them you high and mighty punk.


Acoustic Medicine's picture

Mater, WTF?  HH is tyring to inspire people and you trash him?  I have been a member here for a long time, but rarely comment.  I don't get it.  I was laying here in the dawn light reading the post and comments thinking of projects I can do with my young kids (already have a garden, chickens and try to do as much as I can myself and with them). Your comment was like someone ran through my bedroom with a Hillary mask on blowing one of those hand held air compressed boat horns and banging on pots.  I was actually inspired to do some positive things by his post.  

    You running him down because he has "no idea how to survive in a rural setting"  is total bullshit.  HH and Cognitive Dissonance are two of the best posters around.

   And Silver Savior, trashing people for trying to do things themselves is ridiculous. Your comment was about as welcome on this thread as Anderson Cooper barging into my living room with an 80's style ghetto blaster cranking Boy George tunes.   Damn.  People are trying to be self sufficient.   Maybe people are doing dumb things , but as you said, you are a fucking shelf stocker so how would you even know?   

   So you two holier than thou self righteous douchebags who have contributed nothing of substance in a forum where some people (like myself ) find interesting and sometimes life altering inpirations remember this:  

    This is fight club.  Not dickhead club.  

So really,  go troll somewhere else..

hedgeless_horseman's picture


Never heard a peep after your little get together, hedgless.   Total flop maybe?

Happy to inform you that it was a success...


matermaker's picture

Surprised I didn't hear them laughing all the way from zapata and starr county.   Quit typing and go learn to weld with your kids.   Your ego could use a break.  Ohhhh great link!    There were like 20 comments on that 'ZERO Hedge" article written by you talking about how great you and your 'event' was.  Several from you.    Might be a new ZH record for reads and comments.     but hey?  great you have those lightening fingers to give us a link reminder.  The majority of comments saying how they were NOT there.  Just admit it.   You have nof effing idea how to survive in a rural setting.  I'll grant you that you may be trying to learn.   But going on about how much you paid for welding equipment and then sent them off to fix your swimming pool is just over the top.   nobody is going to respect you for that shit.  especially your kids.

matermaker's picture

You sir... are what we called in Texas, and call up here....... ALL HAT AND NO CATTLE.

Friedrich not Salma's picture

Matermaker got triggered by HH's mater "selfie?" Too much!

jmack's picture

Bless your heart but your reading comprehension skills are being adversely affected by the hatred you have for HH.  Or you are just an unmitigated asshole.   But keep up the commentary, it is hilarious.

John_Coltrane's picture

Very good ideas. I agree with one commenter who stated that many or most of us older ZHers have done most of the things on your list.

The key thing is you gain the confidence to try new things that all the experts tell you you can't possibly do yourself. You learn to think for yourself-to think critically and solve problems. You start out tuning up a vehicle (a VW bug), and finally you tackle redoing the rings, valves and heads on a sports car and overhauling an engine and a transmission on an old truck (still have both of them). I had the resources to buy a new one, but the satisfaction, after trial and error of knowing you did it is the essence of self-esteem. Also installed an auto air conditioner from a kit. You know if you screw up you may have ruined your car. When you're done you've learned a lot of new things and you appreciate the cool air in a way you never could in a new vehicle.

I still get an enjoyment looking at the rooms and garage I added to my house. Even the storage room I added using my own design. I always use my own designs. You make more errors but you learn so much more.

By the way, I'm a professional scientist and you might surmise this gives me an advantage and it does in terms of general problem solving. In reality I've really only met a few scientists who have done even a fraction of what I have done in practical areas such as plumbing, automation, electrical wiring etc. Motivation is just so important and as you point out the earlier you develop the right attitudes and eliminate fear of failure, the better. So, when you do the things on your list you are doing science at the most important level. You are learning how the world works by tinkering. And nature is the ultimate tinkerer.

Learning Yoga and its breathing techniques is one of the best practical survival things you can master. For gun nuts like you and I, learning to re-load is quite gratifying especially for expensive rounds like .457 magnum or .50 action express. Never stop learning-it will keep you young.

Scooby Doo's picture

Grow a garden, put up the produce. Learn how to tend fruit producing trees & vines.

Archibald Buttle's picture

do not forget to teach others. most specially the chilluns. they will be, after all, the future, for better or worse.

Archibald Buttle's picture

learn how to improvise to keep your flock of chickens alive when it's 120 fucking degrees outside. (so far, so good btw)