I’ve never been one who likes to follow written directions. I lack the patience to read every little nuance of how to do something. Instead, I prefer pictures and diagrams that show me the steps in a logical order. Then I can visualize what is supposed to occur, see how I must proceed. That’s what’s always made sense to my brain.
I remember when our sons were little… I always volunteered to assemble the large presents on Christmas Eve. Also, I loved building K’nex and Legos with the boys. Yet, when the kids would become bored and venture to a new activity, I remained focused on constructing the project on hand, maybe even bordering on obsession until the product was final.
Fast forward many years to this past weekend… my husband and I had to assemble two large IKEA cabinets for our laundry room. I started with the drawers. The first one is always the hardest. But once I figured it out (and IKEA uses only drawings, no words, so I was in heaven), the rest came somewhat easily. Then, together, we assembled the frame. Of course I made mistakes. (I need to find a cool sticker to cover where I was a bit too exuberant with a hammer). Still, I had an awesome afternoon doing this. Even when my hands started to blister from tightly gripping the screwdriver, I didn’t want to stop. This made me wonder, if I enjoy building so much, why am I not doing more of it?
Naturally, I know that I can’t just put together cabinets for fun, my boys are way past Legos, and there are no grandkids in the near future for me to “build” with. Still, I can’t ignore the message that I received this past weekend. I have a passion that I’m disregarding. I like to make things. While building might not be practical in my daily routine, how can I alter this craving to create and incorporate it into my life today?
After some contemplation, I realized that building doesn’t apply solely to structures. I can build with words through writing, with food through cooking, and with flowers through gardening. So maybe I am not ignoring my passion. Perhaps this special interest has morphed over the years. Still, can I be conscious of new opportunities for me to “build” in various aspects of my day? Will doing this add joy to my life?
If I feel this way about a somewhat dusty passion, how many others also have sparks in their lives that they are not lighting? Have we diminished the value we receive from following our hearts? Could something that we once loved be expanded into a new pastime? Might we be missing doing something that makes us happy? And if so, how can we find an outlet to add this to our days?
I’ve noticed that there seem to be a growing number of us “on the other half of life.” Suddenly we are blessed with free time just for ourselves. After all, we’re no longer sitting at soccer games or tennis matches. Nor are we carpooling kids or attending school functions. Now is this our time to find what we want to do.
I’m certainly not suggesting that we leave our job and open up a bike shop (but, yes, that would be my husband’s dream). The question is how to continue our current lifestyle AND pursue our dearest desires (especially those passions that we’ve put on the back burner). Is this possible? If so, how?
I think it revolves around giving ourselves permission to play. This is something many people associate as a guilty pleasure. But is it? Aren’t we meant to play? When did we lose this instinct, the wonder of being totally immersed in something that pleasures us? Has becoming adults shut the door on joy?
Let’s hope not. So here is the challenge… think about something that brings you pleasure (okay…. not that) and figure out how you can incorporate an element of it into your life. It’s like rekindling a former love. Light the flame, watch it burn, and feel the warmth!