I can do it all! (Well, I can at least start it.)

I absolutely love to be creative. Some of my incessant need to do something innovative and unique comes from being an only child and having a mother who was always prodding me to try things. She worked full-time and was hell-bent on me not getting into trouble. Boredom was not to be tolerated. My grandparents who were like the FBI were there to make sure I kept busy.  As a result I learned to knit, sew my own clothes, play the piano, write stories, cook, garden, paint and read books. I was also the family mascot. My mother would encourage me to perform for company with one of my funny skits. I had a Charlie Chaplin outfit and was quite good at imitating him.

My only downfall was that I would fall so in love with all of it, that it was difficult to stick with one thing. My mother would often become totally exasperated at my desire to do more than one thing at a time. It was not unusual for me to be watching television, knitting, and reading a book. As a result there were projects I would start and never finish. My love of texture and various colors can be seen to this day by opening a box in my closet that is filled with knitting yarn and needles. There are partially done sweaters and scarfs, half an argyle sock, part of an afghan and half a hat. I also have a box of almost done needlepoint projects, canvasses with some paint on them, dozens of cookbooks, and a library full of books. My love of movement drove me to buy a myriad of “how to” tapes that included yoga, tai chi, aerobics, ball room dancing, and meditation.

All of the above segued into my married life and being the mother of three children. Not until I was divorced and in need of a career to sustain myself and my family did some of the above become distant memories. However, the foundation of who we are does not dim easily. My career necessitates a certain degree of reinvention and the ability to be relevant. Needless to say, I have become invested in my computer and all its ancillary functions. Why not create a brochure about my latest workshop while I binge watch Breaking Bad and finish a painting? Now I can track how many steps I take a day while cooking a new recipe. I’m tired of chastising myself for not finishing everything I start and have simply started relishing what I do. It’s not a crime to begin a creative project and not see it to completion. There is no one doing community service for not finishing a scarf. I am simply going to be grateful that I can still get excited about something!


Take Your Time

There are many reasons why people are overwhelmed today but the bottom line is we still have some degree of choice as to how we handle our lives. This is especially true if you value your life. Perhaps therein lies part of the problem. Do we value giving ourselves permission to relax, hang out with those we love, and have fun, or is getting things done more important?

Perhaps valuing one’s life grows exponentially with age. I am very aware of the passing of time now. As a young woman my days were spent trying to be superhuman. I could have doubled for Wonder Woman. I drove myself nuts and I’m sure many around me with my inability to just “stop”. After all I had to live up to my mothers’ expectations and the inner critics that would reprimand me if I wasn’t perfect. When you have this mindset you also have a need to make everyone around you the same way. After all why should they rest if you’re not?

Today the culture expects far more.Technology has made it literally impossible to remove yourself from someone’s demands. When I first started my career someone would ask me for a proposal and I would be able to take some time and then mail it to them. Once faxing entered the picture, immediacy became part of the picture. Waiting is a lost art. If you don’t give someone what they want right away they move on to someone else. They assume you’re just not interested.

Believe me I’m not advocating for letting things slide for weeks on end, but what ever happened to being able to take your time in order to get the best possible outcome? Over the years I have talked to more and more people who are so overwhelmed by the pressure of getting things done “right now” that it is becoming virtually impossible to have a moment to oneself.

The ability to produce excellence is predicated on our mind/body and spirit being in a good place. If we don’t start recognizing this we are training future generations to essentially become robotic. I already am witness to watching people dining who have their cell phones at the ready as if they were members of a swat team. I have felt the nervous energy from some people I am conversing with who are anxious to speak their piece and move on. I have listened to some of my colleagues rattling on about how busy they are and how little time they have to accomplish it all. I often want to respond with “good for you, you’ll be dead soon”!

Take time to smell the roses because if you don’t you will have a very “thorny” ride.