10 Reasons It’s STILL Cool to Fix Things

CoolFixNearly 3 years ago, this was one of this blog’s first posts. In the spirit of the renewed New Year (and to get myself blogging again) I’m reposting it, because it still rings true.

Why it’s STILL cool to fix things:
1. We live in a throw-away society, particularly here in the U.S. Repairing the old whatsit, so you don’t have to go buy a new whatsit, may seem like placing one small twig to hold back the flood of consumerism, but if everybody started doing it, we’d eventually have built a big ol’ dam, and become a more self-reliant people in the process.

2. There is beauty in function, and satisfaction in restoring it. This is true whether you’re finally hearing an engine roar to life when you turn the key, or watching a webpage load flawlessly after you’ve debugged the code, or fastening the new button you sewed on your old shirt. Fixing something feels good.

3. Material things decline. It’s just a fact of life. Weather, friction, wear and tear, being mishandled, getting bumped or jostled or sat on all take their toll. Not unlike plants or us humans, come to think of it. But material things lack our organic resilience. It’s up to us to give machines and other objects a new lease on useful life.

4. It can save you a bunch of money.

5. You truly understand how something works when you take it apart and put it back together again. This doesn’t mean you have to fix everything yourself—after all, that’s what auto mechanics and seamstresses and plumbers and electric motor repair technicians are for—but knowing how to fix at least one thing you use regularly can give you a sense of empowerment and confidence. It helps you feel part of your life and its accessories in a more immediate, connected way.

6. Fixing things makes you want to take care of things. When you know how it works—or what it takes to fix it—you have a hard time neglecting your tools, your car and all the other equipment that makes your life easier. You become a steward and a caretaker, instead of just a user.

7. It’s fun. Humans like to figure things out and make things better. See number 2.

8. It’s healthy. Fixing something teaches your brain and your hands to work together. In addition to the physical benefits of hand-eye coordination, as you build your skills in repairing things, you’re more likely to achieve flow—that optimal mental state characterized by a feeling of focus and creative absorption in the task at hand.

9. Old stuff carries a history with it. And it often looks cooler than new stuff. The lines are curved, the colors seem more random, more exotic. The dents and scratches make you wonder where its been, and who’s been there with it. (Thanks to Laura P. for this one!)

10. Repairing the broken cultivates compassion, an attitude of hope, a belief in restoration and a view that care, attention and one’s own effort can change something for the better.

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