Wednesday, June 6, 2012

In case you were wondering, you can't have it all.

The longer I live the more I realize this statement is TRUTH:

"You can do anything, but not everything."
- david allen

I've been thinking about this idea for a long time, especially as of late... and then when I saw this pin on my dear friend's pinterest page last night, I was like, "AMEN! TRUTH!"
Why does the media tell us over and over and over that we CAN have it all?
Not to get all philosophical on you, but I recall a favorite scripture in Ecclesiastes (3:1) that says "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

The reason this topic is especially relevant because I recently had a mid-life crisis (of sorts).  With the coming and passing of this spring's quilt market and the announcement of a most generous gift bestowed by my sister, Becca, of a brand-spanking-new website (she said we can get started now so it can be ready by my birthday in August), and the upcoming arrival of a new baby----well, I had a legitimate melt down, to be frank.
(a little drawing of Cal I made a few months ago)
In regards to the website, I kept trying to figure out what I'd actually want to put ON the site---mostly cards? random doodles? mostly patterns? (which I have a billion of at this point that have never seen the light of day) prints? etc.?  make it an e-commerce site (one where people can purchase directly from me, rather than thru ETSY)? ---all these ideas were swimming in my brain.  Several times Becca and Aaron kept asking me, "What is the goal of this website? What do you want it to do for you?"
(one of the billion patterns I've made)
That was a good question.  I had no idea.  And, I'm still not completely sure how it will all turn out... but it brought me to another question, "What do I want to do with my creative life right NOW?"

I do have time before this baby comes to use my creative brain (believe it or not, this isn't my first rodeo. In fact, it's my third.  I'm quick to remember that life (as I know it) stops completely for the first 5-6 months of their tiny life, then we slowly return to a NEW normal).
(from my sketch book back when I went on tropical trip with Em to St. John)

Do I want to get crackin' on new listings for my shop?  Finally post all the prints I've been creating?  Create more announcements/invites for people? etc.  Spend more time developing ideas for new patterns?  Work on more fabric lines?  Try to get a booth ready for Surtex (a surface design trade show where big companies see your booth/designs and enlist your skills to design paper/fabric/wrapping paper/bedding/mugs/plates/etc. for them).
(sketch book balloons to computer)
See? lots of questions.

Anyway, I remember Aaron asking me one night, "Melissa, what if you were 'just' a mom? (I want to emphasize in no way was he belittling the concept of motherhood by saying 'just' a mom)  You always talk about wanting to make dolls for Tillie, or do new paintings for the kids' room... why don't you take the time to do all those things?"

What a concept!!

Honestly, I've been completely satisfied doing projects/side jobs for people who email me to design things for them.  And, if I've been busy or travelling, I have been able to easily say, "Sorry, it won't work for me right now."  And, it's been fulfilling and wonderful and great.  Why step it up and go into high gear right now?  What is my rush?
(another bridal party job I did a few months ago)
So, alas... I'm going to do what I've been doing... with the exception of making MORE time for doing fun projects I've had on my mental "to-do list" for the past few years.
Things like:
Finishing that quilt I started (ahem... over four years ago).
Making that maxi skirt I bought fabric for (over a year ago)---p.s. I just made two this past weekend.   Bam!
Finishing huge mantel painting I started for fall/winter season.
Finally start making some home-made dolls with Tillie.
Start making lots of place-mats (I've really been into this idea lately).
Drawing in my sketch book more.

Another resolution?  Sure.  (Let's pretend it's January.)
In light of the concept "I can do anything, but not everything." I've decided that if my house is really clean by the end of the day, that dinner takes the back seat.  And, vice versa.  If we have a really good meal planned/created, the house is going to be a disaster.  It's how we roll.  I'm learning BOTH can't happen these days (well, maybe they could with a live-in Nanny, but that's not happening in this lifetime).

Here's to mid-life crises. Here's to starting and finishing projects. Here's to putting energy into people/things that matter most.  Here's to realizing that we CAN do ANYthing, but not EVERYthing.


Shannon said...

Wise, very wise, Melissa. Thank you for this post and just for your incredible desires and passion for life in general. You amaze me to no end.

becca said...

Agreed. Wise Words.
I like the idea of more quilting. Too bad you are going to miss the modern quilt guild meet up :(

lyssa beth said...

I think that realization comes as more kids come into the mix. I had the same realization when Luke was born. you just can't have it all especially when you've got a family that relies on you! Once they are all big and grown, then I feel I can indulge in things I want to do and it won't harm the raising of my kids :)

Adams Family said...

Love your blog. Love your cute designs. You are mad talented! I think your best creations yet have got to be those darling kiddos of yours. Thanks for the reminder that we can't have it all...oh but we do. ;)

emily snyder said...

i like the example of either getting the house clean or dinner. so real. so okay!!

Kristen said...

Don't stop posting. You speak from my heart! I'm jealous of your house you get to build, and that you are the kind of mom that can handle kids back to back, and that you are so creative you can sit down with your kids and just create. I wish I had the skill of doing that instead of stare at them at the table and ask what they want to draw/play.

Congrats on the baby BOY!

ps You should post more pics of your sketches. They are ah-mazing!

Aaron and Stephanie Cousins said...

love you.

good choices.

Katie said...

So true Meliss! I couldn't agree more! It's hard to make those kind of descisions, but thanks for your example of putting your family first! Your kids will benefit most from your talent!

Tara said...

Love your posts and love catching up on your cute, cute family. You are so talented. I love seeing what new things you've come up with. The beautiful thing about your gift is that there are so many ways to use it...meaning you can choose how busy you want to be. A wise post indeed. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Melis- You're a wise woman for learning such lessons early on. You're so full of ideas and wonderful things that we would all love to share with you but you're creating your greatest masterpieces at home. I struggle with priorities all the time, every day. Thanks for the reminder.

Kim said...

How funny that this is exactly what has been going on in my mind lately. I love designing and I love photography and want to do both, but having four kids makes it not so easy to keep up on the demands to have a profitable business and still let them know that they are the most important things to me. This week I took a break from it all and you know what . . . I didn't miss photography or designing one bit. I loved just focusing on the kids all day every day and they loved it too.

It's a hard thing to realize, but oh so important. This is your cousin Kim by the way :)


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