Yes, it's been awhile!!!!
While I have been enjoying my slightly slowed down retirement schedule, the last week has not been in that vein. I've had some full volunteering days due to some special events. On Thursdays my church has a short service, a dinner and presentation, and the current one has to do with multi faith relationships with a Muslim educator and a Rabbi and so on, and I have been engrossed (look for a blog post on this topic and tolerance). Add that to a couple deadlines and I have, literally been running this week. Hopefully next week will return to a more even retirement keel.
Meanwhile, in a post-Christmas post, I previously shared with everyone that I was blessed to receive a serging machine for Christmas. I also received a full set of art supplies after I commented that I would not mind some paints or colored pencils. This set included oil paints, watercolors, acrylics, water color pencils and regular colored pencils-and that was not everything in the box. Basically, everything I could possibly need to draw or paint or color or anything else artistic.
Believe it or not, until this weekend I have not done anything with the art stuff except use a few of the colored pencils on grid paper to design and color in potential quilts. As of this week though, I am ready to begin experimenting with all my fun stuff-but on my own.
No, I am not taking an art class to improve my skills and be truly proficient (although I may eventually). Right now, I am simply playing, "dabbling" if you will. On my desk, I have paper, water, brushes and all of these supplies and more. I have no plan, I've just decided that each day I will do something that is fun or an experiment. Nothing more. And if I don't get to my art stuff each day, that's perfectly okay as well. I don't feel the need to be "artistic" or to "develop my skill" as such, but just to have fun, and possibly learn a few things along the way.
Since childhood, we are taught that if we are to do something, we should do it well (and forever). When our kids drop out after one year of ballet and wants to do tap, we object and say things like "You need to pick one thing and stick with it". If a child wants to play soccer one year and softball the next, we think they are "flighty". What about creativity, experimenting, or even learning what we like through trial and error?
There are some things I like to do that are passions, and I am constantly and consistently learning more, advancing my skills and perfecting. Quilting would probably fall into that category. There are some things that I love to do that I will probably never be more than "okay" at-but that has never, ever stopped me doing them. There are some things that I like to do but do less than passably. I do them anyway, because I love it. Singing is definitely in that category. And finally, there are things that I try and only like enough to do once or twice, as well as things I try at and completely fail at. And of course, as in every life, there are those things that I do poorly or don't love that must be done as part of life (cooking, for me is something that has to be done and I don't do it well. Eating, that's another thing entirely)
All of this is okay. Retirement (and life in general) is about learning and doing and having fun. Don't get me wrong, I am all about learning new skills, improving ourselves and life long learning, as I have shared more than once. But every thing we do in life does not have to be at that level or intensity.
I did check a couple of art books out of the library and will probably get a couple more. Only, these are kids art experimentation books, which are the perfect level for me. After all, the joy should be in the doing, no matter the result.
While most of the example above are craft related, I have experimented with many things in my life, most of them temporary. Sometimes the end result was so so, somethings good, and on rare occasions, horrible. But rather than decide by the end result (as long as no humans or animals were hurt during my play time), I judged success by the enjoyment I experienced at the time, rather than the end result.
I am not the queen of the world, as family members regularly remind me. If I were, I would say, go and take that pottery class. If you don't like it, just don't take another. Go out with friends to cocktails and canvas, and darn it, hang that picture on the wall when you are done. Join the 50 plus singing group at the rec center-even if you know your singing is best done in the shower. Think about the fun you will have and the people you'll meet. Take up golf in your sixties, and keep playing even if you are, well, not great. You'll meet other women (or men), have fun, be outside and get lots of exercise.
I don't know about anyone else, but for me life would be pretty boring if I only did what I already knew, knew I was good at, and knew I liked. Where's the fun in that?
Admittedly, I may have more than my share of the dabbling gene.When I see something that looks like fun, I generally want to jump right in. Occasionally I "wait for instruction", but just as often, I jump in with both feet. I learn as I go, and enjoy the process and end result no matter how amateurish they may be. I'm sure more than one of the results from my upholstery attempts qualify as epic fails. On the other hand, I do have the painting I made at Kanvas and Cocktails on my bedroom wall!
So no matter how good or how bad my painting is at the end of this journey, I still will have had fun, and have a full sketchbook of memories to share (or not!)
And so it goes this weekend in retirement. Why is it that on the nicest days, my leg hurts the most from top to bottom??