The words meaningful work have been floating around in my mind lately. What is meaningful work, what does it mean to me?
I’ve always been a dabbler, and by that, I mean, I’ve always dabbled in many different mediums of creativity. As a child even, I was guilty of beginning several different projects, finishing only those that were exciting enough, and moving on to my next outlet. Well, my inner child is alive and well today. She’s trapped inside a 33 year old woman’s body, with silver streaks in her brown hair, tiredness under her eyes, and the desire to create beauty.Never one to replicate my work, I’m always tinkering away at something different. Occasionally, I’ve even received compliments on my resourcefulness, how lovely and thought-filled my work is, and that has always been nice…to hear kind words of appreciation. I’ve always tried to hear it as a compliment when people mentioned how great it must be for me to know how to do so many things.
But as the story goes, those with straight hair, can’t help but wonder how those with wild curls live. What must it be like to be truly great at something? To have studied and become a master. What must it be like to know something inside and out? I won’t ever be one of those people. I don’t say this with a heavy heart. I’m not looking for a pep talk, an encouraging pat on the back that says “you can do it!”. I’m merely stating a fact, the way one states that the sky is blue and that children are young. In the same fashion, I can say, “I’ll never run a marathon”, I also know I’ll never be an expert.I’ll know how to write something someone wants to read. I’ll nurse babies with difficult latches. I’ll grow my own vegetables and flowers. I’ll raise wild children. I’ll sew, bake, draw, design, and paint. I may learn about marketing, or leatherwork, or drumming. I’ll teach children to dance and to hear the beat of the music, and I’ll share my knowledge of herbal remedies. I’ll be a walking book of tidbits of both helpful and useless information, but I’ll never be the next Maya Angelou or Roberta Bondar, and I certainly won’t be the mom with a PhD. It’s not that I lack the intelligence because I don’t.
Some may call it artistry, and some may call it ADD, but I think, it’s simply a combination of the fact that I am so easily distracted by soul awakening beauty, and the awareness that there simply is not enough time while I walk this great earth to see and do all of the things that elicit feelings of awe and pure joy. I just have to dip my fingers into that cool earth and plant this tiny packet of seeds since I simply cannot wait until I get to hold the rainbow of carrots that will surely follow. I have to touch that purple satin ribbon and imagine it woven into a beautiful braid in my daughter’s hair. I must know how those colourful buttons will look strung together on a string, in just that pattern, suspended from a grapevine wreath.
I so admire my friends who have studied and pursued their dreams. I see the value in learning about one subject and becoming very skilled in one’s craft. I can imagine how satisfying it must be to have chosen a speciality, monogamously devoting oneself to a subject of expertise. I also know that meaningful work, in our society, generally implies a decent income or an income in general, a recognized career involving a higher education, and so I’ve spent a long time believing what I do is not as valuable or meaningful. So I set the projects aside that bring my spirit joy and instead I toil away at all of the things that make me grumpy. There’s sewing to be done, but for some reason, I’ve decided that it’s more important to vacuum. It’s only recently that I’m learning to look at my gifts differently. So I’m proposing this experiment to myself for myself, and I invite anyone who wants to to join me. It sounds simple, but I’m certain it won’t be.
For the next year, I’m going to fill my life with beauty. No, despite what it sounds like, I’m not beginning a one-year shopathon. I won’t be bolstering our visa with beautiful things from The Container Store or Etsy, don’t worry Papa Bear. I’m going to spend time doing, creating, and enjoying as many things as possible, in hopes of teaching myself that I have value, that my work is meaningful. . .I’ll try to make the boring bits more beautiful by believing that my time is well spent in spending an extra few minutes on details. I’ll check in here occasionally to post an update or two to keep track of what I’m working on and how easy (or not) it’s been on the journey….I mean, I do have a newborn after all. This means that I’ll have to let go of things that are not serving me….that’s the part I’m going to find tricky. Wish me luck!