I must admit that I’m a bit of a ‘Projecteer’. This is a new term that I’ve dreamed up to illustrate people like me who always have a project on the go, have a few in the pipeline and at the same time, on the look out for another suitable project. Serial Projecteers have a pretty strong succession plan of projects, so if one stops due to a break in the process or to find that elusive part, another can be started, or gone back to. For me, having a project (or two) on the go at any one time provides me with the following:
Creativity – projects are never straight forward and always require a level of creativity and problem solving. Apparently, being creative can help you live longer, and it can improve your quality of health and life too. Being creative comes with many ups and downs and can include a high risk of failure. Being able to fail and learn is a human state that not everyone gets regularly into, or are comfortable with. I call it ‘failing forward’ as learning is mostly, a positive thing. Once I see a project failure as something that is survivable, and something that helps me grow, it makes my work better, and crucially, it makes me more confident. Studies (somewhere and by somebody) show that creative people are better able to live with uncertainty because they can adapt their thinking to allow for the flow of the unknown. Interesting huh? I usually end up applying creativity when something like not having the right ‘special tool’ for the job, or something needs to be made to do the job, or something breaks on a Sunday evening when the shops are closed and it leads to the next point……..
Problem solving – it is amazing what can be achieved with some logic, illogic, serious thought, talking to someone, or just Googling information to get to the bottom of the problem. Sometimes the perceived problem is actually only one symptom of the problem and a full diagnosis is required. Problem solving taps into creativity, and it also drives me to seek the expert or experience somewhere when I run out of knowledge or capability.
Hope and deadlines – I live in positive hope of the day that my latest project will be finished and equally, when I can start the next project. I like to set myself a tangible deadline because it drives me to pursue completion and that always provides satisfaction. Deadlines keep me on schedule and without a deadline, the whole project can fall apart and is then sold, donated to someone else, or sent to the back of the shed. Without deadlines, my projects could just fall into the cracks and never be finished.
Planning – if I don’t have a plan for my project, I lose control, and if l lose control, the plan will never be executed and the back of the shed will start to take over the front of the shed as the project graveyard grows. I usually don’t budget for projects, I just look out for what I need and try to get it for the best deal possible. With the escalation in global bicycle Projecteers taking the internet and other places by storm, the cost of one part could exceed the finished value of the whole bike, but some still buy the part. This is when the finished project becomes a ‘keeper’ as nobody likes to see, or admit to, an immediate loss of cash.
Choice – choosing a project happens either by mistake or by design. I have been won over several times by that romantic project opportunity, and caution is required here otherwise I’m just feeding the shed project graveyard again. Whilst the next bicycle or motorcycle project is always on the horizon, I’ll pretty well take on most renovations or stuff that needs to be fixed.
Sense of achievement – there’s nothing like a) amassing all of the parts for the project and b) putting all of the parts together to complete the project. It’s a huge rush of positive anticipation, succeeded only by that sense of achievement when the project is finished, deadlines met etc etc.
So, if all of the above provide me with some great benefits as a Projecteer, l need a project space dedicated to ‘projecting’. Even if it is a cold shed, there is a welcoming warmth and aroma to a good project space. It is also a very personal space. If anyone comes in and starts moving stuff around, it’s very intrusive and probably not going to end well.
My recent projects that have provided all of the above include the (very) successful completion of a 1994 Cannondale Super V. It took some searching for parts, some creativity and some knowledge transfer to get it to the state that I imagined the finished bike to look like. After a few shakedown rides to adjust stuff, it’s a great bike to ride and in my view, looks ace as well.
Another recent project was trying to get reasonably good at making bread. Admittedly, whilst the Cannondale was wholly my own project, the bread has been a joint effort with my wife. This has made it very different from doing a project on my own and had become more of a team goal. Anyway, it’s been an equally fun project to get into, it’s cheap, doesn’t add another bike to the shed, and importantly, we’ve been successful and it tastes amazing.
Whilst on the subject of projects that can be eaten or drunk, we’ve also had a crack at making champagne cider. As we speak, the process is well on its way and has provided some good outdoor apple pressing (below) and now, watching the fermentation take place prior to filling all of the Cava/Prosecco/Champaz bottles that we were forced to empty in order to re-fill them with our own project drink.
Whilst my hunger for good bread has been satisfied by good homemade bread, and the cider anticipation grows, I’ve now got a gap in the project pipeline, which is actually a great place to be, because it means I can dream, go on the search and just see what turns up.
Life as a Projecteer is a good life. I like it. A lot.
All photos by the Author