Diy ‘till I die
Despite the fact that I’m at times so clumsy that it’s a straight up miracle I actually have a right and a left hand instead of two of the latter ones, I like to build things. I like stuff that is unique, one of a kind and customized to my liking, preferably by yours truly yourself.
A couple of summers ago I was doing an internship during my vacation. For about two months, I was working nine to five while most of my friends were traveling. I was looking for something to keep me busy when I got home every night. I needed a side hustle. When I was eight years old, I started playing drums. Obviously, the first drum kit I owned had already been upgraded for a slightly bigger and better version, since ten year old Pieter would beat the shit out of it for two hours a day, every day. But it was still in my possession. About ten years after I put it there, I decided to get it out of the attic to restore it.
The next weekend, I went to the hardware store and claimed the shed in the back of my parent’s garden as my personal workspace. When I came home every night, I used to spend hours and hours working on that drum set. Stripping all the shells, sanding, cleaning all the screws and small parts, painting, etc. All I had, were some How To-YouTube video’s and a good amount of persistence. The result was magnificent. I mean, the drum kit looked decent and all (definitely better than before) but it was the satisfaction I got out of it by playing something I created, that did it for me. I was hooked. Literally a week later I bought another a completely worn out and rusted drum kit for 50 euro’s and repeated the process. A couple of months after that I got my hands on a vintage early 70’s kit and started working on that one as well. That feeling you get when you finally assembled everything back together and play it for the first time after all those long hours of work is indescribable. And I can tell you right know that it’s at least ten times better than when you just take a brand new one out of a box.
After a while the rebuilding drums stuff got pretty out of hand. I now own five different kits, which are all sitting in my rehearsal space. A room that can actually just fit one drum kit and the rest of my band (yes ladies, I’m in a band). So last summer I decided to do something else, bikes. Most of the family on my mother’s side are big cycling enthusiasts to say the least. So I asked around if they knew someone who had an old racing bike lying around which I could then turn into the ultimate hipster vehicle. After a couple of days a close friend of my grandfather hooked me up with an old frame and I got a set of old wheels from my kid brother’s girlfriend’s stepdad (it’s all about connections). Armed with some sanding paper, a few cans of orange spray paint, YouTube tutorials (again) and some help of my granddad I got the job done. Also, a family friend who owns a garage was kind enough to spray paint the frame professionally so if anyone ever wants to buy a new Mercedes Benz, make sure to buy it from Dirk Sels in Westerlo. Anyway, if anyone might be interested in my biking adventures, follow me on Strava!
If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering what I’m trying to say. Well, the point I’m trying to make, is that it is fairly easy to create value out of things that might seem worn out or ready for a garbage can. Understanding the work that goes into making or building things can really help you to appreciate certain things in life. We live in a time in which it’s easy to go online, buy shit and have it delivered onto your doorstep by the next morning. I get it, I do it all the time. But every now and then, experiencing that anticipation can help make things way more satisfactory, believe me. So get off your ass, go out there, create something, fuck it up and start all over again. And who knows, you might learn a thing or two.