Well, hi. How are you? Things here are cold, so cold that they just decided to cancel school because of it (We Okies don’t do too well with winter.) So now the kids and I are all at home, mostly thinking about things we can eat and drink to keep us warm. It’s frosty and chilled in a way we don’t usually get, and the word is crusted with ice. The streets seem ok if you’re careful, but I’m am fully committed to not wandering outside my crunchy, frozen yard.
These last few weeks have been mostly home-centered as I work on little projects (like these mitten below) and also some big projects— we had our shower re-tiled (by people who knew what they were doing, but it also was a most fantastic mess and disruption) and then we decided to cap that off with repairing cracks and repainting our bedroom. Now, I’m just sort of looking around at all the little messes I need to clean up and also stopping to admire the new work ever so often.
All these projects, as well as conversations with a good friend, have gotten me pondering all the stuff we do because we genuinely enjoy or it, or are things we get ourselves into because we think we should enjoy it, and then realize we hate it. Or at best, just don’t enjoy it like we thought we would. I don’t know if this is a phenomena of just the last decade or two, but everything we do or think or enjoy seems to quickly spiral into ‘a lifestyle.’ There is no middle ground, no dabbling. There are countless books and blogs and shiny instagram accounts whispering in your ear that if you enjoy one thing, you should dive feet-first into a whole ‘lifestyle’ that goes with it, and this typically involves a lot of money. A typical rabbit hole is– “So you like to knit, huh? How about you buy a flock of sheep and a 100 acre farm and process your own yarn and care for your animals? That is what you do if you love to knit!”
Now, I know many wonderful people for who this is a natural and soul-gratifying progression. But it’s definitely not for me. I love to knit, and even spin, but I also love doing these things with pristine wool that’s already washed and that I don’t have to feed or sheer. But there are so many things scenarios this floating around on the internet— there seems to be no room any more for ‘picking and choosing’ or ‘just doing what you can.’ No, everything is a ‘lifestyle’ and it’s often accompanied by an undertone of “well, if you want to do this correctly, you must do all these other things too.” Do you like to cook? Well then, you need a half-acre garden! Like your dog? Then you need a farm full of animals! Want to be a good parent? Then you must homeschool your from Pre-K to Senior Year! Like to sew? Open an etsy shop and take custom sewing orders! Etc Etc Etc…..
I have discovered, however, that many times one thing does not always lead to another. And if you have an interest, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create a whole lifestyle around it. That sounds like a great way to get burned out at best, or have a nervous breakdown at worst. It seems that we have forgotten how to live in the middle ground. In all sorts of ways. But what a wonderful place the middle ground can be. You can, funnily enough, see both sides of things. And you can take a step in either direction as you see fit. In the middle ground, perhaps, there is more room to breath?
I don’t know if you’ve ever had these feelings or thoughts. But these are some thoughts I’ve been having and I know I can’t be the only one. A friend of mine recently admitted to me that she gets overwhelmed by social media telling her all the things she needs to be doing, and feeling guilty that she has no real interested in doing them. I think that is something we can all relate to— we see others truly enjoying something and think ‘well if they like it, shouldn’t I?’
If you’ve been struggling with feelings of burn-out or guilt for not wanting to do the things ‘the internet’ tells you should be doing, you’re not alone. And I am here to 100% support your decision to just buy the sour dough bread instead of make it 😉 or knit 3 dish cloths and then abandon your knitting needles for the next 6 months. Or buy a bouquet of roses and leave the gardening to those who truly enjoy digging in the dirt. We all have those things we are passionate about, but we don’t have to fanatically revolve our lives around them. Often, we will find our passions and interests changing as life progresses, I know I have. And sometimes you put something away for a season or leave it behind all together so that you can try something else. And that’s a good thing. We gotta leave room to grow.
At any rate, these are my thoughts on a very cold day in early February, just doing what I like and leaving the rest behind….