Well, that's a good question. Just exactly what kind of hard work are we talking about here? Rita and I have been doing landscape construction for right around 40 years. Just think about any movie you've seen where the prisoners have been sentenced to hard labor. They always show the prisoners swinging a pick, or a sledge hammer, carrying something heavy, or something else that would make most people cringe. Basically, they're landscaping. No kidding. Anything to do with building anything is going to require doing at least one of the cringe-y things a lot of people just dread. Not everyone though. So when there's something heavy to be lifted, who usually gets to lift it? 'Get one of the guys to lift it'. Men are definitely stronger, that's for sure. But what do you do when you can't find anyone, men or women, who want to do hard physical, not to mention, seasonal labor anymore in this digitally run, WI-fi'd world? Well, you have to pay the bills and put food on the table. Then you have no choice but to either get out of the business, or do it yourself.
I once had someone say to me 'and you choose to do this kind of work'? This person was more inclined to get someone else to do something that they didn't want to do. I'm sure a lot of people are. There have been a handful of occasions where someone said something condescending about the kind of physical labor we do. Not very many times, but I've never forgotten even one of those times. I read an article in Forbes that stated during the 2008 recession, over 600,000 construction workers left their jobs, never to return. That's 100,000 more people than have died from the CoVid pandemic to date. Some view manual labor as demeaning, looked down upon. Sure, I get it. That's their prerogative. There are countless things I didn't want to do. But mostly as a kid. But I wanted to at least try to do it myself. I thought to myself, 'what if I'm by myself and there's nobody around to do it for me, could I do it'? I've always been interested in outdoor survival. Would I have the skill set to at least last awhile until help came if I were in a dire situation? Would I be completely in a panic, or would I have a bit of a skill set to give myself a fighting chance. If I had some kind of experience with basic skills, I would have an advantage psychologically, anyway.
Here we are, Rita and I. Two women in our 60's working like men. In a nutshell, I enjoy working hard physically. There's something therapeutic about it. Physical exercise, whether it's a workout routine or working hard for a living releases endorphins and stress. Yeah, you've heard all this before. But more so than that, I've found that the entire process of making a project come to fruition is incredibly rewarding. From understanding the needs of a customer and translating their needs onto a plan. Taking that plan and implementing it into reality. To see an unusable space become something not only functional but beautiful. Taking a customers yard that used to give them a sinking even irritated feeling every time they looked at it, and transforming it into something that surrounds them with peace, something beautiful. A place that draws them in to spend a well deserved moment, relaxing, and enjoying a brief respite from the duties of life. It brings great joy. Yes, it's hard work. But anything that's going to fulfill the experience I've just described above is. It's intimidating to learn something new, sure. But every single time we do something new, where there's a learning curve, yes, it's uncomfortable and it brings apprehension. But, it creates another tangent of opportunity to learn something else new. Stepping stones to creativity don't happen unless you are willing to at least just try to do something you've never done before. We love building stuff. We love making something beautiful. We love making someone happy because of what we build. We love thinking outside the box. We love challenges. Sure, we're nuts. But every day of work I literally am so grateful that I'm able to do the things I do. I feel fortunate that I can still be productive. I do indeed have so very much to be grateful for, and hard work is one of those things.