I often say, “I’d rather be dead than stop learning”.  The deeper truth to that statement came to me in the wee hours… I thrive on challenge.  I love to push myself to do hard things.  I love it.  LOVE it.  Give me something to learn, something to sink my teeth into.  Give me a project to do that will consume my thoughts, push my body, require me to develop new skills.  I couldn’t be happier.

When I lose my focus on learning new things or haven’t got something new to work on, I substitute in busyness.  I *don’t* thrive on being busy, I get stressed out and grumpy with a to-do list that’s too long and over-committed.

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to connect these two things … I should have learned this lesson when I was still working.  My second-t0-last job had me challenged to learn and develop new things until the last 6 months I worked there, at which point it switched to doing ever-more work until I burned out.  And then I quit – suddenly from my boss’ point of view.  (You know that story where they replace someone with two people and still reduce the workload? That was me).

It was traumatic… why didn’t I learn that lesson (18 years ago)???  Harumph.  Nope, I do this to myself.  Every time I get bored, I stack things on my to-do list until it topples over – usually on top of MY head.  -sigh-

Things I don’t like:  Re-doing things.  Maintenance.

I mean, I’m okay with doing things over occasionally… like, I’m sure I’m going to keep making the same shirt for DH pretty much forever.  But ever-more-perfect.  The pressure of perfection, of making it *better* than I did last time, that makes me happy.  (There is also the sheer pleasure of fabric).  But I don’t like doing repeats in a row.  Why every time I do crafting for the holidays or something, I get burnt out almost instantly – not that I mind making a grocery bag, I mind making 10 of them.  Okay, I mind making five, let’s be honest here.

Maintenance is the same thing.  “Didn’t I just do this?”  I *hate* that feeling.  Plus, the time I spend on maintenance is time I could be spending doing creative work, and I resent that.  It’s why I don’t garden much anymore.  All the weeding.  (The annual maintenance, where you prune, I’m good at that.  See:  Occasional, challenging, projects).  I know I have to weed to be able to go on to do the thing I want to do.  I  go, I weed, the weeds come back before I can get my gear together to do the project.  It makes me crazy.

I finally learned to clean by not thinking about it and just making it a part of the rhythm of my life.  Also, I’m good at phone-a-friend.  🙂  Think about something else, make your hands busy.  Oh, and I know that I don’t create well in chaos – so a clean working space gives me more room to be creative.   I *like* having things clean and beautiful, so working to keep them clean and beautiful is worth it.  I don’t go for perfect, because that level of clean takes all my time and then what’s the point of a clean house if you’re not using that lack of visual noise to create?

I have to create or I get nuts – fast.

Also, I like to talk over whatever I’m currently obsessed about.  I’m fair, though – I’ll listen to you yammer on about your obsession too.  I’d rather listen to a photographer talk about light and shadow (which I understand) than listen to someone gossip or make small talk.   If you’re interested, and can explain why your obsession is fascinating?  I’m there.  I want to know.  I like knowing, because I like learning!  Maybe I’ll take up your obsession someday… always glad to sock away good info.

Something that isn’t true is that to be interesting, you should be interested.  I’m interested in lots of stuff – people don’t necessarily find that interesting at all.  -sigh-  I’m also interested in people, but mostly people don’t like to open up and get real, and endlessly sitting around on the surface level is similarly boring.  Deathly boring.  I’d rather watch paint dry.

I’ve tried being a more ‘disciplined’ person who does things routinely … it lasts about two weeks.  Miserable weeks.  Part of embracing who I am is embracing that I’m a creative, and working with that, not against it.

And that means finding challenge – not more stuff to do.


7 thoughts on “Challenge

  1. magistratrium

    I’m weird, too, but in a very different way. It sounds like you are very intense in your creativity and passionate in your pursuits. I am, too. Isn’t it a joy to find someone else like that because even if they have different pursuits/intensities, they dont’ get scared off. 🙂


  2. elspeth

    This is helpful to me. Thanks. One of the things missing in my current season of life is challenging myself to be more engaged into the things I want to be better at. I almost always give in to the tyranny of the shoulds. Or worse, I allow the overwhelming feeling of impossibility to push me into a stagnant state.

    Thanks for something to consider.


    1. hearthie Post author

      Yes. Yes. And Yes.

      I’m in process of doing something uncomfortable and necessary right now – I’m writing down those assumptions, the shoulds I carry with me, the rules I really live by. Some are good. Some aren’t. Regardless, it’s time to let them go.

      There will be a lot more writing in the weeks to come.


  3. fiberaddict

    :rofl: Wanna watch paint dry? I just did the kid’s bathroom, and need to do the kitchen next. :rofl:

    I NEEDED this – you made me take a hard look at last year, and why I have lost my ability to maintain my happiness. It’s because (mostly) I didn’t Make Stuff last year……and I NEED to be creative. So – this year? I focus more on creating and less on trying to fit into society’s version of How Women Should Look. (I still want to get into better shape, but it’ll be along with making stuff, and not instead of.)



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