Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grown-Up Projects

I'm guessing if you don't have kids you may never have visited Lori Pickert's Camp Creek Blog. Or maybe you have kids but you're not homeschooling, so you've never landed there. But no--you need to visit. I'm biased, sure. I like Lori a lot, and I like her book, and I'm using her guidelines and practices with my own children. But now she's begun a series of posts for adults, and I think it's such important reading. Lori feels we all deserve to have the sort of life that some of us are trying to create for our children--one where time is spent pursuing interests and passions--a whole life, I would say. And--and I appreciate this very much--she is not writing lovely-sounding things and leaving the reader to send wishes up to the universe. She's got some concrete steps we can all take. I look forward to Monday mornings because that's when she posts her project posts for grown-ups. And she is saying things I already believe in.

How can you learn to use the time you have? (And you do have time.)

What does your space say about you? Do you need to change it so it reflects the kind of work you want to do?

What kind of negative self-talk do you  have going on? Stop it, already.

These things resonate with me. When I'm on my game, I can get quite a lot of my own work accomplished in the nooks and crannies of my day--because otherwise, it won't get done. I don't care if you stay home with kids or have a full-time job out of the house, it takes mountain-moving to get a hour or two chunk of time in which to focus on your own projects. So you squeeze it in. You learn to work in small increments. Every time I see the advice to leave a first draft (writing, or painting, anything, really) and come back to it with fresh eyes I just laugh, because I am always walking away from a work in progress to attend to somebody's needs. I always have fresh eyes. Lucky me, right?

And my house? My house is...cluttered would be a nice way of describing it. This is a picture of my chair, the one that is so clearly marked as my territory that guests rarely try to sit in it.

My knitting is sitting right there waiting for me. If I have a few minutes, I can knit a bit. If I have an embroidery project going, it's usually on the footstool. The binders on the bins to the left are full of printed-out knitting and sewing patterns. Most of my pattern and reference books are downstairs, but the ones I'm using for the current project are piled up next to the chair. My sketchbook is there, too, along with a zippered pouch of sketching pencils. So if I want to sit down in the evening and work out some ideas, I don't have to go far. The basic supplies are right there. It looks pretty messy. But it works for me. (When company comes I've been known to pick up all the piles and just dump them behind a closed bedroom door for a few hours.)

Projects or fabric-in-waiting is often sitting out on the ironing board. Goodness knows I don't use it for anything else when I'm not sewing. (My husband moves my piles when he irons his shirts.)

These two embroidery pieces are waiting for their respective display solutions. I need to get on that.

Downstairs is also where our art area is. Everything I need is within reach. If I--or the kids--wants to start a project, materials are gathered within minutes. We are so well stocked--I feel so fortunate there.

Ahem. That's just some of the storage down there. It's not very...tidy. It's so accessible though!

In the comments of the third post (which is about getting out of your own way) I admitted my personal big negative self-talk hurdle: "If my passion/interest/project isn't earning any income, it's not worth the investment of money or time taken from the family." This is something I deal with as the at-home non-wage-earning parent. It's completely self-generated. I don't hear it from anyone but myself. But always, in the back of my mind, is the constant circular mumble: Is there a way to make money from this but I don't want to figure out an at-home business it would kill my joy I don't have time for that I'm working quite a bit as it is but why take a class just for fun it doesn't benefit anyone but me that's so selfish is there a way to make money from this?

I could probably benefit from the extra brain space I'd free up if I could silence that inner voice completely.

So. No big words of wisdom here. I'm still working this out. I show up on Mondays and read the posts and get reminded that I don't have to have it worked out, that having my own interests, passions, and joys is necessary for a well-lived life, not to mention it sets a good example for my kids. This is how I've always tried to be. I've always had interests and creative pursuits; I've never stopped learning. But there are periods when I don't work at it as hard, often when life is feeling its hardest--which, of course, is when I need these things that feed my soul the most. So this series of posts is serving as an excellent reminder to continue to value what I need, all the time.


Lori said...

love seeing your famous *chair* ;o) and hearing your thoughts. thank you so much for participating in this and sharing your story. i really believe striving for that “whole life” helps us pave the way for our children to live it, too. and i’m all about concrete steps to get there. ;o)

Dawn Suzette said...

Thank you for sharing this Amy! I hear the same self-talk. So hard to quite that voice!

Julie L said...

Thanks for sharing! I followed you over from Lori. I love her site and attitude and book and forum and ... well all of it really. And I love hearing how someone else is taking what she is putting out in the world and making it their own.

Suburban Correspondent said...

I realized I was never getting to do the things that matter to me, that I enjoy (like knitting or reading, for heaven's sake) because I was always saving those for after I do the "necessary" stuff. So I decided to make knitting and reading as "necessary" as, say, doing the dishes or cleaning up the living room. I'll let you know how that goes.

bells said...

what you've described there about the brain space is pretty much my #1 goal in life. If I can get rid of the negative self talk that takes up SO much of the real estate in my brain, imagine what I could achieve!

It's a life long goal, I think and definitely possible.

I too have to squeeze things in - out of the house for up to ten hours a day sometimes, it leaves pockets of time, which is why I value my bus knitting, my lunch time quiet time away from people etc.

Karen Isaacson said...

Oh, how I love that picture of your chair! Looking forward to reading those posts.

Donna Lee said...

I seem to live in a world where the competition to be "busy" is intense. To admit that you have time for yourself is somehow shameful. I fully admit that even though I work a 40 hr week and keep the house running (laundry and cooking and all the other stuff), that I find time to do the things that fill my soul. I can sew if I want or pull out some embroidery or knit or spin. I make the time. It's all in the priorities.

KC Pagano said...

That chair is epic! I wish my space was still intact. We are moving a month or so and I have slowly moved it all into boxes. I should have taken a picture before to share.

I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts about being the non-wage earning parent. I too hold that position and constantly think about how I could make money. :/

KayKay said...

Amazing ! This is cool!