Sometimes I dabble. I’ve been known to dabble. I’m dabble-y, a dabbler. Even though some people find their one thing and stick with it for years on end, I have a smattering of interests that come and go. Sometimes they don’t come back, or they return with a renewed intensity. Maybe it has to do with the barometric pressure??? Here are some examples of things that ebb and flow in my year.
Don’t stop reading. I know scrapbooking is a deal breaker for some people, but stay with me, okay?
Scrapbooking is interesting to me, and I want to record the lives of my children and family. It’s just that in order for me to really make pages I like, I have to drag out a bunch of stuff which I then have to put away. That’s no fun. In addition, I don’t really work in an organized fashion, so I have to play around with stuff and discover what I want to put together. That makes me a slooooow scrapper. That means I pull out all that stuff, only produce two pages, and have to put it away. Or, as is more often the case, I have hopes of finishing a couple more pages tomorrow, so I leave out the gear…and it sits on the table, getting in the way of everything, for the next two weeks.
I am finding solutions in a couple different approaches to scrapbooking so it doesn’t require quite so much effort/work. More on those another time.
I love to work in the garden. I love flowers and dirt under my fingernails. I do not love nettles, Creeping Charlie or allergies. I also do not love sweat in my eyeballs. And did I mention the weeds? Most times I start out strong, but fizzle out as the summer progresses and the humidity makes me drip just by throwing back my sheet in the morning. But the payoff of those flowers keeps me coming back.
Maybe it was only implied above but I should mention my short attention span. I’m challenged by anything that requires more than a couple days of work or slow progress of any kind. There have to be a lot of built-in rewards and successes. You’ll never see me knit an entire sweater. You might see me finish one enormous mitten, but only one, since it would require too much work to fix the first one and plus, it is pointy like a stick and who wants to wear a pointy mitten anyway? (Can you tell I speak from experience?) It is also not nearly as much fun to knit in the summertime, so it is reserved for a winter activity.
Where’s Your Follow-through, Man — er, Woman?
Contrary to what you may think, I’m actually quite comfortable with my dabbling.
The few listed above are only a sampling of the things I’ve tried along the way (friendship bracelets, beaded safety-pins come to mind), and that’s okay.
These are all experiments with different types of creative expression.
Some of them are steps to build upon, some of them are ways to find out what things don’t work. It is easy to decide something is lame or outdated if you don’t have the context in which it was discovered or used. Each of these expressions have been tied to relationship in my life, often times a shared activity or an outgrowth from a friendship. Some of those friendships were tied to place, season of life, mutual interests or proximity. Those things changed over time, and that’s just part of the natural cycle of things.
Just because you try something, it doesn’t mean you have to go all-in, and it doesn’t mean you have to commit to that one thing with all your spare time for the rest of your life. I think pressure like that keeps people from trying new things.
Let’s talk about tennis. What if you wanted to try your hand at it? (I pick tennis but you could insert almost anything for this illustration.) Fun sport, you can play it with more than just one other person, good exercise, nice to be outside OR inside. What if you could only pick up a tennis racket if you were committed to the grueling training and match schedule that would make you become a competitive tennis champion. It’s champion or nothing. You’d probably resign yourself to watching it on TV — who has the time, talent and finances to commit what it takes to become a champion?
It’s a silly idea, of course, but it’s almost as if we place that level of expectation on ourselves when it comes to trying new things. We rule ourselves out because we think in order for it to be “worth it” we have to be as “good at it” as a professional or make that level of commitment. We limit ourselves before we even try.
Come Back on Monday
I’ve discovered a new kind of mischief that taps into a couple of my interests, and I think it has staying power. It combines my spiritual walk (or wrestling match, as the case may be), my love of words, and a chance to use images/color to convey ideas or emotions. It’s called art journaling — have you heard of it? I hadn’t, but I’ve stumbled into this whole other world of expression. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, but I’m having fun and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Here’s why I think you’ll like it:
- You can’t do it wrong
- If you try something and you don’t like it, you can keep going and transform it
- Because you can’t do it wrong, you can release your perfectionist expectations
- It taps into creative parts you didn’t know you had
- You can discover an unconventional way of “doing devotions” or spending time investing in your spiritual side (if you choose to focus on that while working on your art journal)
- It’s stinkin’ fun
Did I Mention Come Back on Monday?
I wish I knew how to do fancy giveaways, because this blog could probably use some. Since I don’t know how, I think I’ll make my own rules about it. If you come back on Monday, you’ll get a chance to see a few samples of this new mischief, art journaling, and I’ll give away some “equipment” (which may be just a bottle of acrylic paint…but maybe something more!). I’ll hope to see you early next week!
In the meantime, I’d love to hear about fun activities you enjoy. Do you play a sport or make time to work on certain projects? Have you heard of art journaling or have any experience with it? Tell me everything! When you have some free time (“free” meaning you don’t have to be responsible and use it picking up groceries or running errands), how do you spend it?