The Need To Build

I have been talking to my dad (the subject of this Father’s Day tribute) lately about hobbies. We both take a lot of pride in our cooking and often share recipes and new ideas with each other, and I enjoy cycling and reading. But lately I’ve been feeling the itch to start something new, to find a new outlet, and to learn some new skills. That is partially what led me to Bald & Bearded with Conor – the need to create something that would be seen and judged by other people.

One hobby my dad and I have both discussed is woodworking. One of our good family friends has essentially turned his family’s garage into his own workshop. He made a mantle for my parent’s living room and cribs for his granddaughters, among other smaller projects. He is knowledgeable, creative, and highly skilled, and I envy him, not just for his level of talent (that certainly took plenty of time and practice), but also simply because he has a creative outlet through which he creates things that are of value to the people around him and will be remembered for years to come.

When we started this blog, we wanted to talk about issues that were important to us. We wanted to talk about how being a better man could possibly make the world around us not quite as a bad of a place for the other people in it.

Along with that, we wanted a space that we could pour our creative energies into. We wanted something that people could see and reflect on. We wanted to challenge ourselves with something new that would make us and our readers think a little more deeply. Simply put: we wanted to CREATE.

I believe the desire to create sits somewhere deep in the core of what it means to be a man. Not in the sense that we are all meant to be carpenters, construction workers, painters, writers, etc. I think it goes deeper than that, that this desire comes from our need to leave something of worth on this planet. Whether it’s something we built, wrote, a child, etc., we are filled with a sense of accomplishment when looking on something we are proud enough of to show to others.

It’s part of what leads young people (like my young male friends) to start/join projects like breweries, food trucks, blogs (here we are!), to take up writing, painting, drawing, hiking, biking, triathlons, marathons, cooking, or even local rec leagues. We want to do things of consequence that we’re proud of, that people will remember, that leave a legacy.

Older generations, especially men, defined their lives by the jobs they held. They asked what our name was, followed by what we did. But when we retire and ultimately leave this earth, our jobs are filled and the work continues on. There are millions of “Bobs from Accounting” in this world, and the numbers they crunch will be crunched again by countless other replacements.

We desire something more than that. We need to leave behind more than that. We want to build something of value, something that will be looked upon after we’re gone, that will validate our existence on this rock. That’s what brought Conor and I together – the need to help change or influence the world around us in a manner that people will remember or at least think about. I no longer think of myself as an executive assistant at a large foundation, but instead as someone that has a job so I can pay the bills while I continue to explore this new passion of mine.

It excites me to hear about young men exploring new paths outside of their jobs, because I know they’re starting to think about their legacy too. Maybe it’s not that deep to them initially, but they’re truthfully working towards finding a path that brings joy to them and those they want to help, serve, feed, entertain, etc. They’re thinking about their roles in this world outside of what happens between 9-5, and they’re thinking about making this world a more creative, cultured, and overall better place.

– The Beard


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