When I was about six years old, our family went to visit my mom’s sister in California. It was an epic road trip even then. I was too young to remember most of the trip, but I have a clear memory of the afternoon Aunt Carol tried to teach me to knit. After struggling for an hour to help me concentrate on the repetitive knit-one-purl-two steps , my patient and fun-loving aunt threw in the towel and declared to my mother, “Judy will never learn to knit!” She was right.
It was the first time I remember my patience being an issue, but certainly not the last. I dash through tasks and am, admittedly, NOT attentive to detail when it comes to repetition. I’ve tried my hand at many hobbies, but always get bored quickly. Then I rush to complete the task and my attempt reflects my lack of effort.
Being a journalist was a great fit for me. Nothing was the same on any given day. I was so busy being focused on the news story details that I didn’t notice I was repeating the same tasks day after day so I got good at it. Now that I’ve retired, I discovered the same sneaky teaching technique in cooking. Precision cuts may be important for professional chefs, but in our home kitchen the exact cut isn’t really important. That means I can relax and enjoy what I’m doing rather than stress out about the precision. It surprised me when I realized I was getting pretty good at my kitchen knife skills.
Imagine my delight when I discovered my new hobby and its utter flexibility with precision. Glass arts, specifically glass fusing, are very forgiving. When I took a class to learn to make flowers, the instructor pointed out that no two flower petals are alike in nature, “so don’t get too worried if yours aren’t.” That was music to my ears! My flower isn’t perfect … but I really like it.
Now I’m taking another class. The instructor included a supply list that says I have to cut 72 ½-inch clear glass squares, then glue them together to make 36 double stacks. Uh oh! I’m in the midst of completing that list and ever-so-grateful that I don’t have to be too precise (at least I hope not!).
Travel is like that. You can always spot the people with patience standing back and admiring art for seemingly hours on end while I zip through museums. As I get older, I’m increasingly optimistic that my self-awareness is contributing to my ability to slow down a bit.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Be comfortable enough with your struggles to enjoy the adventures ahead.
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