My daughter has always had an eye for drawing and taking pictures. She takes the time to really do it just the way she likes, sometimes she is spending hours on a project just to get it to a point in which she changes it later because she has a different perspective when she comes back to it. Artists are just that way, but when I ask her to share her masterpieces she doesn’t like to because they are “just not right”. My dad is this same way. He is a perfectionist and is shows in his woodworking abilities. He has made so many pieces of furniture over the years, and they are all so beautiful, but one of the first lines that will come out of his mouth is to underhand his handiwork. When Tim and I got married, I asked dad to make us a hope chest. It was a simple design in which all I wanted was for it to be lined with cedar. The outside could be in whatever wood he wanted. I can’t tell you the name of the wood chosen, but I can tell you it is a beautiful piece and when I put the special oil on it the red really shines through. Dad seems to always say something about the fact that it hasn’t fallen apart yet.
I notice this in myself too, when someone pays me a complement, or tells me that I am doing a good job. Instead of saying “thank you” I downplay what they have said to me. Not only does this take away their complement but it also causes them to think that since I didn’t take them seriously this time that next time, they just won’t say it. I have been working on this over the years, practicing not automatically downplaying my abilities but also validating what the person said by saying “thank you” to the person.
I am in love with the process of doing things. I am not in love with being the center of attention, or even getting attention at all, but I do need to be seen. I used to think I would be ok if I was just the “behind the scenes” girl, but after doing that for such a long time I started to realize that I actually like it when someone notices that I have creativity too. The problem of getting noticed is that people realize they like what you do and want more of it. You can’t stay an “amateur” when people notice your skills. In the book I am reading “That Sounds Fun” the author Annie F. Downs talks about the joys of being an amateur. You can have fun in what you are doing, because you are doing it for yourself and to do just that, have fun. When my daughter is drawing or painting or doing any type of creativity, she is doing it because it brings her joy. She isn’t earning money for her projects, nor is she having people beating down our door for her creations (though I am still waiting for my original masterpiece from her that she is still “working” on). She may one day do one or both of these things but for now she is happy to sit at the table for hours or hide away in her room to do the thing she loves.
I love to push myself, to prove that I can do something. As I was sweating bricks today trying to keep up with the super sweet but bossy trainer on my FitOn App, I realized that it wasn’t the trainer that was keeping me going, it was me. The trainer is on my iPad. I could turn her off at any moment, instead I choose to follow along because I know I will get energized later because I accomplished the workout. I treat myself the same way when it comes to my Hospice and Palliative Care training, when I am playing the lead role in wife and mom, and when I try my hardest to train people at work to do the job they are being asked to do. Even with all of this I am trying to remain an amateur. I want to keep enjoying what I am doing. It is not always easy because the kids do things their way, the co-worker doesn’t want to do their best, and there are days when I really do not want to do one more squat with a leg lift.
In the world of knowing the latest and the greatest and posting the picture as soon as it is taken so that people can see you do actually do things, being and doing something just to do it starts to disappear. Who says that the world needs to know that you just finished the exercise, or the painting, or that your child just scored a goal in soccer? Why can’t it be that we stay in the moment and enjoy it. When you come to my house, there are masterpieces everywhere. I have pictures up painted by my kids when they were under the age of five. I have a BBQ cover that my hubby built, that is creative and built solid. I have paintings from friends and pictures that I have taken. They are masterpieces to me because I know the story behind them. I know they were created by amateurs just doing what they love, not for the glory. They were created by people who sat down one day and thought “wouldn’t this be fun, or if I draw it this way, it can be built and look the way I want it to”. Simple, fun, and for no fame. Perfect. The world is going to judge us for so many different things, so why not save some things for ourselves to enjoy without the world looking in? Until next time:
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited for all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.Albert Einstein