Workshop Philosophies #2: Midlife ...

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 03-01-2011 09:29 PM 1577 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The Justification Formula Part 2 of Workshop Philosophies series no next part

Neither crisis nor revelation, more like meditations….

“Before one considers whether the glass is half empty or half full, you should ask yourself ‘Do I want to even drink the beverage?’” – Me

I have been giving much thought,lately, to the definitions of success as I enter (what I hope to be) my middle years. My company has been recently sold to an offshore company and I am starting to see the usual panic that naturally occurs when this happens. I will not publicly comment on any aspect of the decision. I only bring it up because I was asked “What are your career goals?” Not an easy question for me to answer because I don’t think in terms of career. I have always looked at earning a living as the thing that provides the necessities and items that may add some enjoyment in life but not anything that I personally live for. My response, wise or unwise as it may be, is that I do not have career goals but life goals.

Fortunately, my lifestyle is rather simple. I do not watch much tv and I do not have any credit cards. If I want something bad enough, I save up for it or make decisions in order to purchase the item outright. My only debts, at present, is my mortgage and the support I provide for my boys. My house is a fixer upper, but it works and the payments are less than many I know pay for rent. I was teased a little about the purchase but, after the housing crisis, those that teased seem to be going with a house at all, so time has tested my philosophy there. So, while I contemplate the future, I think I will write down what I consider to be some of my life goals. Most should note that none of them are really dependent on what I choose for a career.

1. I always want to make my boys feel that they are the best things that have ever happened in my life. That they are loved, appreciated, and that they bring out the best that I am or ever could be.

2. Someday I want to be the crazy old guy that sits on his porch with a guitar singing songs nobody remembers or probably ever heard of. The neighbors think I am crazy but the grandkids love to visit him and wonder how their dads could have ever been bored in that house.

3. I want to always find simple pleasures the ultimate that life can bring. Seeing birds in the feeders and houses I build, rafting down a shallow river that is close to my home as delightful as some find yachting in the Florida Keys. To always be able to look at the skies in wonder and find sharing a few beers by a firepit the ultimate in night club entertainment.

4. When I need a piece of furniture or something around the house, the first inclination is to consult the lumber yard and go to my shop, rather than a big chain store.

5. To always remember that one cannot legislate morality, change, or a better way of life through any governmental system. One changes the world by the decisions they make in their own home.

Regardless of the future, how I make my living, what “great” things I do for a corporation, I will never consider myself a success if I forget where true success lies.

Not woodworking per se. Just consider it a woodworkers philosophy.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

10 comments so far

View Ritty's profile


63 posts in 4081 days

#1 posted 03-01-2011 09:52 PM

thanks david for the insite maybe i need to sit down adn think about what my lif goals should be. you have truely opened my mind.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4321 days

#2 posted 03-01-2011 10:18 PM

Success for me is to be able to create, overcoming whatever problems are in my way. Enjoy what I’ve created and pass it on.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4225 days

#3 posted 03-01-2011 10:39 PM

Its a good call in my opinion, career goals should only be considered after life goals has been established. You list 5 VERY good ones!
Way to go on choosing a simple life style. You are not alone, I have no TV by choice, no credit cards, no debt, no microwave,no shiny useless stuff. Soon, I,ll have no utility bills either, solar here we come! The simpler the better. We have 2 daughters that we homeschool, I’m with you on the kid thing too!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5445 days

#4 posted 03-01-2011 11:09 PM

sounds familiar
- contributing to the greater good and the next generations
- respecting, honouring, celebrating nature
- living in the moment rather than for things.

You are teaching your children well – whether they know it or not.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4394 days

#5 posted 03-02-2011 03:32 PM

Thanks all for the comments. Obviously I was having an emotional day yesterday :) I am glad I am not alone in the concept that quality and success are words that cannot be simply defined by possession or bank account. I appreciate the positive feedback.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5531 days

#6 posted 03-03-2011 04:55 AM

It took me almost dying to figure out what was the MOST important thing in my life. You said it in #1 Family and being remembered by your family as a good person, a good example and worthy of their respect. Great, deep thoughts David. I admire your outlook and goals for life. Love ya man, mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4089 days

#7 posted 03-04-2011 12:49 AM

Keep hangin in there Dave.
Sounds like you are doing all the right things. You’ve got to walk through all the cow-patties in the field before you get to the green grass, I guess. But, stay focused, stay strong, cuz there is some green grass out there. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4449 days

#8 posted 03-04-2011 05:49 PM

There are times of crisis and times of uncertainty that help define who we are…........and help us understand who we are.

My job, career, whatever…......... is a rather complex entity…...not easily separated from my home life. Basically people find me to be the same person at home and at work, although I am more structured at work, to say the least.

So perhaps, my situation is different for a variety of reasons. Another way of looking at it….....I have the opportunity to apply the same principals of living at my job and home. Sounds neat…......but the discipline required is exhausting.

Don’t think I have any words of wisdom here. Like my father would say…...’just keeping the wolf away from the door’. I just try to do it with integrity and a constant regard for humanity as a whole, and as an individual. The Golden Rule works, so does ‘reverence for life’.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4394 days

#9 posted 03-04-2011 06:33 PM

Thanks for the encouragement. I think my post was more of a reflection on where I am going and what I really need and want out of life more so than any despair about my current situation. Lets look at the material side for a moment. When I was a kid, I might think something like “Wouldn’t it be cool to have an arcade…” or “Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a workshop where you could just make anything you wanted?...” and these would seem like fairy tale dreams at that age. And yet, 30 years later, the video game consoles that sit connected to my TV are more robust than the arcades of years ago (and much cheaper than the investment of quarters I made at that time). Between my camcorder and computer, I literally have a movie studio, radio station, publishing house, etc. Artists from the 60s-90s would have killed for that kind of capabilities. And for the couple of grand I have invested for all the tools in my workshop, I am really only limited by my imagination and own work ethics. There really is very little that I couldn’t make if I had the proper motivation and time.

I will hear my kids say things like “I want to be a musician” or “I wish I could be a writer.” The sad truth is that what is really wanted is to be a FAMOUS musician or a RICH author. The emphasis is not what we can do but applying some material reward for that effort. And that, my friends, is where the real problem lies.

Off my soapbox now :)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4321 days

#10 posted 03-04-2011 10:45 PM

True, its not what you’ve got its what you do with it that counts. Also ‘famous’ artists/artisans tend not to be the ones who seek fame but those who seek to enjoy what they do. You are right there is ‘nothing you couldn’t make’ but hitting yourself over the head with that thought is not going to achieve anything. It may be corny but I’m beginning to understand those people who told me that I tried too hard and I’d only ever achieve something if I did what I wanted to do. Let it happen rather than trying to make it happen. I’m now on the back foot regarding creating things and finding its possible to achieve far more than I ever did when I tried harder. I am constantly amazed at, with the passing of time, the technology that has become available to us all. Given that we all still work within the limitations of what we have. The secret is that marvellous thing inside your head that you inhabit, the human mind. It can make so much from so little. Its brought all those things that you mentioned.

Think on this though. Its all of it made from old bits of long dead stars, even us and our beautiful minds. We truly are children of the universe. Not only that but we have pretentions on shaping it too.

Or is it all just the beer talking. After all its Friday night where I am now.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

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