Repair or replace?

It is now much easier to replace things than to repair them. There has been a massive shift in our culture, my parents’ generation had an avid repair industry driven by the attitude ,mentality and necessity of “make do and mend”.  They were forced to develop practical “life skills” and try to fix things. Sure, my generation can install an antivirus system, disable a firewall and organise our social life on an iPhone but few of us could fix a dripping tap. In the 80’s  over seventy per cent off people had basic house maintenance skills, by the nineties this had fallen to sixty per cent, it currently stands at just 30 percent  and if this rate continues these skills will be extinct by the middle of this century. Sewing kits and machines were once a household necessity, hemlines were adjusted with growth, rips were repaired and buying new clothes was a rare treat. But with the rise of


cheap available clothing retailers fashion has become  a disposable, replaceable commodity. Over 40 years ago my father built beds from discarded pallets and scraps of wood they lasted until the arrival of Ikea. Simple carpentry has declined in popularity, because cheap mass produced furniture has made it easier to revert to the ikea allen key than the hammer and saw.  The previous generations were just more resourceful, they were willing to try new things and risk failure, and they used this advantage  in all aspects of their life – even in running, and they were better at that too. Yes, elite world records for running may be improving year on year, and we may be on the verge of a sub 2 hour marathon but the average marathoner in the 1980s was far quicker than the typical modern runner. In the last two or  three decades, marathon running times of recreational runners been on the decline – we are  now the slowest generation. Our parents in the 80s just hit the street night after night and ran. It was uncomplicated and simple, no GPS watches, no real sports gels or fancy isotonic drinks, it was just unpretentious running. They applied the their pragmatic experience of their life to their running lives. They approached the world differently and developed the ability  to “self-teach” through curiosity, willingness, patience and previous success. Many had no training group or coach, they tried things and made individual adjustments depending on what worked and they ran faster than we do.

Many of histories most celebrated figures – artists, scientists, writers  and even runners – share a common trait, many were either partially or completely self-taught.  These days it can be more challenging and sometimes impossible to fix things  with products using more computerised parts that can’t be easily dissembled. Some companies make it difficult to buy replacement parts and actively discourage self-repairs. We now tend to farm out our smallest problems to professionals without evening trying to find a fix for them  There is an expectation in running, as in life, that we should consistently progress and develop ourselves.  At least with running this progress is easily measured in numbers. Running faster and for longer is a reassuring triumph, achieved through training.  But if you want to run faster and longer you can’t ask someone to do it for you and it may be a case of firstly learning to fix the dripping tap.

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

One thought on “Repair or replace?

  1. You will be heartened to hear that when my daughter was in college, she and her friends took up knitting! And they were all in engineering school!
    They told me that knitting and even sowing were common hobbies at school.
    Many people are helpless, but many continue to pick up the handy krafts and skills from years gone by.

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