What makes you tick? Does a pen and paper scratch at your soul? Do scraps of fabric and yummy bits of yarn weave through your dreams? Maybe a storm of spices and the sizzling of olive oil in a pan stir you? Or perhaps, like me, you can’t settle on any given thing for too long. One minute you are totally immersed in something so deeply you are sure you’ve found your passion, your talent, your this-is-what-I-was-born-for calling! The next moment the siren song of another hobby lures you away be it the next week, the next day, or even in that same sunny afternoon when the light is just right in the garden for picking tomatoes or the thought of a new recipe makes you drop your tangle of yarn into a heap and bound into the kitchen for some good old fashion let’s see what we can make today-ing.
I use to fight it. I thought it was a flaw in my nature that I couldn’t finish a project before the next one lured me away. I would look at my collection of half finished stories and my heaps of yarn and half-knitted scarves and hats and think “what’s wrong with me?” Others beamed with pride at the fruits of their labor. A sweetly knit hat. A perfectly polished sketch or painting. Collections of short stories ready for the publisher. A cookbook where once only a scribble of recipes on sticky notes was. “That will never be me,” I thought. And I despaired over it.
Lately, something has changed. I’m not sure when it happened. I’m not sure what triggered it. I do know that it’s a good thing. Recently, and by recently I mean within the past year, I’m no longer despairing over unfinished business. I’m letting myself enjoy the process. I’m writing because I love the feel of words and the sound of a pen scratching across cheap paper. If a story doesn’t take the right turn and I ends up at a dead end, I don’t get so freaked out. I just enjoy the ride. If I start knitting a pink cotton scarf and then find a beautiful lace pattern and some yummy blue mohair perfect for it, I tuck the scarf away and pick up the lace. The scarf will still be there. And in the kitchen I feel free. I’m no longer worried about what goes into the pot or what comes out (I cook gluten free for my husband’s sake, but I don’t stress about it like I used to). I’m trying new things and new techniques. I’m not using cookbooks as rule books but studying them for their ideas, their pictures, their information and then creating my own vision using their inspiration. And I don’t despair if my meatloaf is dry or if I forget to put the beans in the chili (true story). I mean, everyone ate that chili. Heartily. And the beans got used in a salad the next day. I’ve learned that the earth completing its rotation is not dependent on me completing my daily tasks. The sun will come up. And if it doesn’t, well, that has nothing to do with me.
Realizing this is bringing me a new peace to enjoy life in a way I haven’t in a long time. I’m starting to understand what makes me tick. What gears have been at work to bring me to the place I am right now and how to keep those gears running smoothly for many, many years to come.