Today, as always is a low key, relaxing day here at Chez Barbara. When you own three dogs and live close to rec centers, parks and biking trails, the 4th of July becomes a challenge once dusk arrives. Calming drops, closing up the house and using fans and music helps. Still, fireworks are challenge for all involved, and it can be a long night.
Fortunately, I rarely feel deprived on this one. I lived in Washington DC for over twenty years, and for over twenty years saw the best firework display in the world every fourth. Since there are no children around, I am quite happy having an early barbecue, enjoying the yard at it's fullest and retiring to the inside in the evening. It does however mean that after dog stress the next day I am even moving more slowly than my normal non-morning self.
Today, I've been playing with altered houses, thinking ahead to the fall holidays and other events. The houses, paint and decorations sit on my crafting table, along with a couple idea sketches. I spent sometime looking at a couple Santa Fe travel guides, trying to decide how I will spend my week in that lovely city. I've been experimenting with some summer style slow cooker recipes such as barbecue pork. I've decided to begin writing Richly in Retirement, whether it gets published or not. Oh, and I'm jumping into an online art course with Open to Study that begins today.
Some of the projects and plans I'm invested in now will have an obvious end result. Some will change many times before the final product or trip. Some, quite frankly may never get finished, or at least not finished enough to share. For me, this is okay. The truth is that I enjoy the playing, process, and planning, the doing if you will. I am not one of those people who feel that I have to have a positive or even a completed end result to feel that I have accomplished something worthwhile.
During my brief "working world" time, I managed and ran children's programs for various health clubs. I also did birthday parties. One of the most popular parties was a "concoction" party. Not really a science party, not really an art party. The kids would make colored "goop" in Ziploc bags. They would make homemade clay, edible clay and similar items. At the end of the day, some of the children would have all kinds of sculptures or shapes made out of their clay concoctions. Some however, would have nothing but the clays and goop to take home-and they were just as happy. These kids made a shape, kneaded the clay again and made a different shape and rinsed and repeated. While they had less to take home and "show", they had just an enjoyable a time, and were probably more creative than those who departed with finished "art" to show their parents.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy finished products and plans. I enjoy the reward they bring, to me and others. I just also get reward from the doing, and don't think every endeavor needs to be a finished project, or necessarily have an end goal as such. I'm taking the online art course because I enjoy the process. Will there be a finished project to share? Who knows. Certainly my trip planning has a specific end goal. If I get to Santa Fe and decide to go an entirely different way in terms of spending my time, I'll not be upset or bothered. I'm writing the book because I like to write-it may get published, but if not, the writing will have had it's own merit for me.
Recently I've had two instances where I had a wonderful time in the creation process, but there was no end result. In the first case, I altered a recipe. I enjoyed playing with the ingredients. The end result was, well, not what I was looking for. I don't consider this a fail-but rather part of the process. I've also begun encaustic painting (painting with wax). So far I've done absolutely nothing but put colors and wax mixes on paper-which has eventually been recycled. This is okay.
I love a sense of completion. I don't expect everything I do to end up as a product or plan or be part of a product or plan. If that were true, I would never just draw to draw, walk to walk, or experiment with new products or hobbies. Life is meant to be experiential, experimental, playful, relaxed and enjoyable. Sometimes structure or a goal is part of that process, and sometimes it isn't.
And on that note, I'm about to take a stroll. Not because it's healthy, not so that I can get my heart rate up, not so that I can challenge myself, but just because a little walk sounds good. Right now.