It’s 6 pm on a Thursday night, my phone buzzes and I open a text from my mum – she’s asking if I want to come home at the weekend to help move the hay in for winter, clear the muck heap and have a big tidy-up bonfire. To some people that may seem like a lot of hard work but to me that proposal had me grinning from ear to ear as a weekend of ‘shitty jobs’ is exactly what I needed.
‘Shitty jobs’ in my family involve hard work, manual labour and sheer grit but we love them. ‘Shitty jobs’ leave your limbs heavy at the end of the day, they make every mouthful of food taste so much sweeter and fill your heart with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. In short, I love ‘shitty jobs’.
Some of my happiest memories with my family involve working myself to the bone in unfavourable conditions; such as digging by hand the foundations for my mum’s new greenhouse, in sub-zero temperatures with snow falling around us and a bitterly cold wind that left fingers and toes numb. We kept each other supplied with endless amounts of hot tea and all collapsed on the sofa that night in front of the fire feeling like we’d really achieved something – and every day I visit home and see that greenhouse, or sit amongst the plants that now grow there, I’m reminded that we made this. We did this, together, as a family and now we get to enjoy it as one.
Something I’ve grown to understand is that my mind and body crave ‘shitty jobs’. Hard manual work makes me feel my best self, it proves to me how strong I am, how much I can achieve and the power of perseverance but most of all I’m addicted to that feeling of satisfaction and contentedness which always follows. If I’ve had a mentally draining week or am feeling particularly stressed or low I physically need manual hard work and the simple pleasures that it brings.
So you may not find me participating in a local 10k any time soon or signing up for a tough mudder, but instead, i’ll be in the garden dragging the branches of a fallen tree to the bonfire or helping to tackle the next ‘shitty job’ to come my way.