After several weeks of what feels like being under the gun to meet deadlines, it is time for me to take a breath. Not a long one mind you, but there are things to do and see and experience and if I don’t take some time for myself, I think that I will go crazy – or at least feel a bit burned out.
Now for most people, taking some time off means relaxing and doing little. That is OK for them, as everyone is different and has different views of what ‘relaxing’ actually is. For me, it means doing the things that I ‘want’ to do rather than the things that I ‘need’ to do. Since I love crafting and creating in many shapes and forms, sometimes it is difficult for others who are looking in to see the difference between the two. Actually, sometimes I produce more when I am in ‘relaxing mode’ than I am when I am in ‘working mode.’ It just turns out that way.
I have so many things that I have been waiting to do! Many of them have been in the back of my mind for weeks (or even months) now, and I would tell myself that I would get to them ‘when I got caught up’ with things. But it just so happens that more things take the place of the tasks that I finish, sometimes faster than I can tick the other things off and I am finding that I haven’t spent any time at all on these things that I wanted to do for myself. And that is frustrating.
I used to brand my Sunday’s as days when I could do what I wanted. Usually I spent it doing some decorative painting and making ornaments for my friends or decorations for the house here. Many times I would work on patterns created by my favorite designers, as it was a breath of fresh air for ME to follow THEIR instructions rather than having to figure things out all by myself. Some people couldn’t understand this, but I know my painting friends really do. It seems that no matter how much we design our own pieces, it is still fun and refreshing to use techniques that others have developed and as a result, we also learn from them and create some outstanding work. It allows that “figuring things out” part of my brain take a little vacation, which is much needed at times, yet it still allows us to be creative and productive and is very satisfying.
But it seems that it has been a long time since my Sundays have been dedicated to my own ‘playing’ and I am starting to feel the result. My designs have been coming, but they are a bit more labored and I find myself not quite my usual cheery self these past couple of weeks, as the cycle of “work” and sleep seem never ending.
Today was trash day and as I took the garbage to the road this morning, it was just getting light outside. I could hear the sound of the river rushing by, as the trash bin is on the opposite side of the road which is on the river bank. The leaves are all gone from the trees and I realized that not once this autumn did I take a walk in the woods to see the beautiful fall colors. With woods behind me and all around me, there was simply no excuse. Who knows what tomorrow will bring and if I will even be here next autumn? (Nothing tragic is planned, but hey – life happens)
It was as if this realization just punctuated these growing feeling that I have been experiencing over the past couple of weeks, and it made me think that it was time to do some things for my own pleasure.
I am at the rare point in my work cycle where everything is as ‘caught up’ as it gets. The patterns are completed. The site is updated. The deadlines for now are met. Of course there are more deadlines and things to do, but I refuse to be a robot that keeps spitting out designs without taking any time in between to enjoy the people and things around me. Business-wise that may not be the best decision, but I never claimed to be the best businesswoman in the world anyway. I have often quoted the phrase “It isn’t about the destination, it is about the journey” and I truly want to live by those words. For what good is reaching a destination, no matter how successful you may seem, if you were so driven by your goal that you neglected to enjoy the journey along the way? To me, it would be quite an empty life, and one that I do not wish to lead.
So I am going to take a breather today. And I am going to take down the few autumn decorations I have around the house. And fix my little ‘all season tree’ up for Christmas. And perhaps I will bake some cinnamon rolls, which I wanted to do this past weekend and never found the time. And work on some of the ‘surprise projects’ that I wanted to do just for myself – not to sell or make patterns for. And I think I will take that walk in the woods. Because I find the woods to be a place that I find comforting and serene and beautiful, no matter what time of year it is.
The holiday season is upon us. To many, that means that our fast-moving lives kick into an even higher speed. While many look forward to this time of years, it is also exhausting and stressful. But we need to remember that we are in charge of our own lives. We need to live them in a way that makes us happy. If we don’t take time to do the things that are a comfort to ourselves and our families, then we lose the entire meaning. More so than not, it is the simple things that make this time special. Not the most presents or the biggest tree. It is those moments in between where we take note of the wonderful things in our lives and appreciate them. No matter how simple they may be.
I wish you all a wonderful day!
“Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind. Their leaves are telling secrets. Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks. And their roots give names to all things. Their language has been lost. But not the gestures.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"