Saturday, 9 May 2009

The little things…

I’m trying to live more in the moment. I’m one of those people who are always eager to get on to the next thing, plan ahead, dream big about the future and how I see us living in our ideal world. There’s nothing wrong with that, I don’t think. You can always scale down your dreams.

But suddenly you hit your thirties and start to realise that hold on, “this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time” – to quote one of my husband’s favourite films, Fight Club. Now I realise that my elders will probably scoff at this and think that I still have so much to learn. But this is where I am in life, what I’m learning now. So bear with me.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have an extremely active mind. I drift to sleep at night with a head full of ideas, words and images, and thoughts assault me within minutes of waking up. Needless to say, my mind is full all day and, yes, I often find it difficult to focus. This is where the little things come in.

Food tastes better when you slow down and focus on the taste of what it is you’re eating. Learning a new embroidery stitch – whipped blanket, in this case – is so much more enjoyable when you make a concerted effort to focus on nothing but the flow of your needle and perfecting each stitch. Taking the time to sit outside and identify the trees you’ve been gazing at through your windows for a year – using the book you got as a gift almost a year ago – is a simple but engrossing task. It took me almost an hour to identify a Common Whitebeam, a Red Horse Chestnut (Plantierensis variety) and a rather rare Sichuan Birch. But what a pleasant way to spend an hour, particularly as I thought of nothing else but these three trees the entire time.

The thought “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” comes to mind. Life is the same, I guess. If you focus on doing the little things well and enjoying the time you spend doing them, it makes sense that the bigger picture of your life will be a mass of happy achievements.

As proof I offer a little slice of my stitching life. I’m an ardent admirer of Inspirations embroidery magazine, as those who read my blog will know. The projects are not always to my taste – that’s par for the course. But the attention to detail, beautiful styling and photography, and positive attitude of the editorial team put the magazine in a class of its own. So it’s only natural that I would consider being a part of it a rather significant achievement. And based on the way I write this blog, because I’ve taken the time to write post after post, I got to write for issue #62. I was expecting a small column of text down the side of a page, but recently got my complimentary copy (complete with hand-written note – attention to detail) and saw that I’d been given a whole page, with three of my embroideries featured as well. Needless to say, I was rather chuffed.

More than anything though, I’ve proved to myself that it’s important to take the time to focus on whatever it is that I’m doing, do it properly and to the best of my ability, and squeeze every ounce of enjoyment that I can out of it. It won’t be an easy creed to live by. But hopefully one day I’ll be able to look back and say honestly that even if my life didn’t turn out quite the way I dreamed it would, it was happy and calm and fulfilling and who the hell am I going to leave all these embroideries, quilts, cushions, blankets… to in my will?


Anonymous said...

I thought that was you when I read it last week. well done!

Clare W said...

Yes it's so true and Mindfulness is something I have to remind myself of from time to time because it's so easy to get swept along. Here it is 4am and I can't sleep because of the rush of ideas as soon as I stir in the night - I know how you feel!

Sheryn said...

I totally agree, its amazing how quickly life sweeps you away again and you forget how important it is to focus on the little things. I really love your coasters Kel, so fantastic.

Jenny said...

We'd all be better off if we slowed down and smelt the roses, or is it coffee, but easier said than done. Hope you find the balance, great article by the way.

UK lass in US said...

Congratulations on your article

I think that I like making things for the very reason that it makes me slow down. I can not knit or crochet fast. If I try to sew fast, I'll make a mistake.

Life is so much better when you slow down and see the details. I was comparing visits to the Lake District yesterday. I did several multi-day hikes there while in school, but formed more memories on a leisurely family trip, when I could stop and soak in the views any time I wanted.