Monday, March 07, 2011

The Want-Tos and the Have-Tos

I had a great conversation this morning with a friend of mine, Brenda, who is in her 70s (I think; she's very energetic, so I'm not entirely sure) and recently had a hip replacement. We hadn't spoken in some time, but over the course of getting caught up, she told me that she's always found it difficult to get around to doing the things she really wants to do because she's so focused on getting done all the things that "have to" get done. She said that she feels like she has to tackle the "have to dos" before she can allow herself time for the things she wants to do.

I realized that I'm much the same way. I set all kinds of priorities, many of them arbitrary, and most of them woefully inattentive to what I would actually like to be doing. Ultimately, it seems to lead to stress about what I have to do, but what's worse, I get stressed out about what I *want* to do, too, so that even those things seem like a chore. Or they seem like an unattainable reward--unattainable because I feel like I'll never tackle the "have to dos" to my satisfaction.

I haven't figured out a solution to this yet. I suspect the answer lies in simply taking time for the things I want to do, and not worrying about it. Letting it go. This sounds so simple yet it's so difficult. Both parts of it are difficult. I even tend to feel I must prioritize my "want to dos"--I want to make new artwork, so that should take priority over playing a video game, practicing the piano, or (here's a brand-new one) knitting a hat with ear flaps, all of which I also want to do. (Here's one hat I'd love...probably too difficult for my rudimentary skills, especially if I want to make it big enough for me...)

And where does exercise fit? Is it a want-to or a have-to? If it's a have-to, is it more important or less important than, say, working on writing, or attending to my freelance work?

Questions like these rapidly cause me to spiral into completely unproductive paralysis, so clearly my current method of addressing the issue is inadequate.

At least I did manage, a couple of weeks ago, to take time to sit in on Rob's class and do some figure drawing. The first two images (sets of 3 drawings apiece) were done using only my thumb dipped in Speedball ink. The third image was done using a Tombow pen, plus a brush and water. Currently the Tombow pen is my nemesis; this was the only acceptable drawing I did that day with the pen.

I'm hoping I can use one of these sketches, or another sketch, for a new set of artworks that I'm rather excited about. They'll incorporate block printing, found text, and other mixed media alterations. Finding the time...that's the problem.

3 comments:

tanita davis said...

Because my ticker is still dickey, exercise for me is a "have-to," and will continue to be so - I'm getting all geriatric and stuff, so I have to pay attention to the bod. Reading for me is the big pull - I have to BRIBE myself to write by giving myself hours of reading. I haven't knitted or sketched or made clothes for my paper dolls or done anything else in ages - but then, I am learning to understand that winter is REALLLLLLY low-energy for me in this climate. All I want to do is read, eat, and sleep, and occasionally perform ceremonial ablutions and read some more.

The whole have to/want to thing gets set aside in favor of "if you want to be a writer, you must write," and me forcing myself to at least see to a chapter a day - revision or writing - and then allowing myself hours of reading.

I'm not balanced, this time of year, but it's always veggies before dessert for me - always. That's just how I was raised. Fortunately, it's only a SERVING of veggies, and if I like them - and am in a good space - I can continue and be proud of myself, and bank some credits for another day when the wrap-in-blankets-and-read thing is too hard to ignore.

You'll find your center - and spring is coming, when people tend to be better aligned.

aquafortis said...

I thought I was the only one who had to bribe myself to write with hours of reading! :) I do that, too. Reading is my primary reward for just about anything, unless I'm in one of those horrible moods where everything I read is evidence of my own lack of writing ability. Sometimes I can read magazines or nonfiction books when I'm in that zone, but I sure as hell can't write. I was there for the past couple of weeks, but I think I'm emerging again.

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