Monday

Falling in Love with the Process


My brain moves too fast for me when left unoccupied. It's something I've noticed more over the last few months. It's an affliction I think most people suffer from to a certain extent, but I think for me it's definitely correlated to having more unstructured time since being done with school. I'll be thinking one thought, then I'll remember I need to put my laundry in the dryer, but I'll be in the middle of putting dishes away and carrying on a conversation. Next thing I know, I'm upstairs occupied with something else, laundry still waiting to be put in the dryer. Sometimes I realize this within a few moments, other times it takes hours. 

Because I've had significantly more free time these past eight months, compared to maybe ever, I've been able to devote a lot of time to the activities I actually want to do. The problem is there are so many things I want to do that I have trouble committing fully to any one for a particular length of time. My mind just keeps hopping from one to the next, demanding that I do them all RIGHT NOW before there's no more time! It makes me feel panicky and ultimately disappointed when none of my projects turn out as well as they could.

Having observed this about myself for a while, I decided enough was enough. I have this incredible need to make. To create. To read. To write. I want to do them all, and I want to do them all well. I just can't do them all simultaneously. To accommodate and hopefully stretch my jumpy attention span, I've begun making to-do lists of what I want to accomplish in a day. Instead of setting a specified block of time for each activity I make sub-goals I want to accomplish. For instance, the other day I decided to make a shirt inspired by this Free People shirt in my wishlist. I've made clothing before, but I have to admit that it never comes out perfect/sellable quality. Good enough for me to wear (usually, although sometimes I really mess it up), but not to share or sell which I think might be my end goal.

The reason my clothing doesn't always (ever) turn out great is because I get too damn excited and I skip crucial steps like making a pattern and measuring because I'm in too much of a rush to see the end product. And I usually start feeling guilty about not doing some other thing that I'm "supposed to do." But then I get to the end and I'm always deflated, disappointed that it didn't turn out quite like how I imagined and knew it could have. So when I set out to make my shirt this time, I did it in steps. Deliberate steps. When I felt my mind begin to drift or get bored I finished the step I was on, then took a break. I drafted my pattern, then took a break. I pinned my pattern and cut out my fabric, then took a break. And so on.

Instead of rushing the process over a few hours, I spread it out over two days. And ya know what? I still fucked up the neckline. I was really upset about that. It took away a lot of the pleasure I got from successfully drafting and sewing sleeves for the first time. But I also wasn't surprised that it happened. I had a feeling the neck of my pattern was too wide and I ignored it because I wanted to move on. I'm still jumpy, but I'm making progress. I actually made a pattern and everything this time. 

So what is this all meant to say? Just that I'm getting closer to committing more of myself to accomplishing the things that are important to me. I'm learning to slow down and not be so flighty in my need to create something worthwhile. And maybe I'm starting to get a grasp on my impatience. While my brain demands that I get everything done yesterday, maybe I'm starting to appreciate the process and what I can accomplish in each moment. There's a quote from I think it might be a Redbull commercial, I can't remember for sure, but it says something like, "You must fall in love with the process of becoming great." That's exactly what I'm learning to do.