Warning: This life lesson applies only to leisure and retirement hours, not to real work in the real world.
A dear friend once told me I never seemed to finish a project. I was a stay-at-home mom at the time, so unfinished projects consisted of everything from college to crocheted granny squares never assembled into a final product.
My friend was right. A couple of years later, I went back to school and finished work toward my bachelor’s degree, then began a career in business. At work and at home, I finished everything I started, and I only took on tasks I knew I could complete on time.
If I began reading a book, I stuck with it until the end. If I took a class in advanced accounting theory toward a master’s degree, even if I hated the class, I stayed the course and earned an A.
But I grew older, as we humans do, and wiser. I retired from that real world job. And I rediscovered a long forgotten talent—the ability to abandon a task before completion.
I no longer finish reading every book I buy or check out of the library. The first ten pages have to grab my attention and the next ten pages must keep me reading. And if the story loses me fifty or a hundred pages later, I set it aside. Life is too short to waste time on a book I don’t enjoy.
The bananas I buy for banana blueberry muffins might get mashed with lemon juice and stored in the freezer…..until I have to throw them out because of freezer burn. I love the idea of baking, and certainly enjoy the finished goodies, but I am a champion of procrastination when it comes to gathering ingredients, preparing the muffin tins, and turning on the oven.
I may take another painting class one of these days. I still have a couple of blank canvases and a few good paintbrushes. I’ll need all new paints, of course, because the old tubes have dried out. Watercolors were especially rewarding. I still have the one decent painting I completed before abandoning, perhaps temporarily, that hobby.
The camera needs to have its battery charged….again….before I go out to practice what I learned at an all-day beginning photography class at the local community college. I bought the camera and took the class almost two years ago. Maybe that’s what I’ll do next instead of writing or foodie blogging.
I don’t need to finish every project I start. I can dabble, return books to the library unread, try something new for five minutes or a day, sign up for a class and drop out if it doesn’t meet my needs, flit from idea to obsession and back again. If I write five pages of a new story and decide it’s a stupid idea, I can hit the delete key and write something better.
The feeling is liberating and challenging. Hopefully I have enough years ahead of me to dabble and flit to my heart’s content.
If you're willing, please send the Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble link for Dead Wrong to one good friend who enjoys reading suspense novels and thrillers. Two friends would be even better.
And please put in a request for your local library to purchase a copy of Dead Wrong by Patricia Stoltey ISBN-13: 9781432829865
I'll be extraordinarily grateful.