Do you ever feel like you go through life dabbling? That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. I’ve been reflecting on all my interests and wondering if I’ve delved deeply into any of them. Am I a Jack of some trades, but master of none?
Admittedly, this blog post calls for bulleted lists. These are all my trades:
- Writing (my focus since childhood)
- Gardening (a newfound love in adulthood)
- Playing cello
- Creating ceramic art
- Relearning Spanish
Plus there’s the “adulting” category, which inevitably involves:
- Being a loving wife, daughter, and friend 🙂
As I’m setting goals for the New Year, I ponder: Will focusing on fewer “trades” bring me true success?
These are my goals for 2017:
- To focus on my professional writing, I will blog once a week, apply to at least three writing jobs a month, and attend two writing conferences and many GLVWG meetings.
- To contemplate my spirituality and my love of literature, I will memorize a short prayer and read it aloud once a month.
- Thinking more carefully about finances, I will ask myself before spending: Would I rather a stranger hand me this sweater dress or $30?
- As acts of love toward my husband, I will show curiosity in his faux finish painting (click here for Jason’s new website!) and continue to meal-plan weekly.
- For spontaneous recreation, I’d like to visit Ringing Rocks County Park and take nature walks with Jason and our newly married friends Asia and Aaron who hosted a wildly accurate Lord of the Rings themed wedding.
- Adding meaning to home-ownership, I will decorate seasonally! I’ll rotate antiques and memorabilia in the display case as well as decorate for Norouz (The Persian New Year that falls on spring equinox), the summer season (welcoming indoors flower cuttings and fresh herbs from the garden), the fall harvest (reaping the rewards of my vegetable garden), and the winter holidays (revealing lights, crystal ornaments, and a fiber-optic Christmas tree).
- Performing random acts of kindness is a beautiful way to brighten up the world. The way I’m describing it sounds cliché, but its impact is real. I’ll continue my new year’s resolution from 2015 to buy gifts for my loved ones all year long. Gifts can come in packages topped with a bow. Others come through action such as lending an ear to the weary cashier at the grocery store who needs to talk or surprising a stressed co-worker with a sunflower in a mason jar.
And so we revisit the question: What brings true success? I feel confident that these goals can lead to my true success, regarding my main roles as a Wife, Daughter, Friend, Writer, and Gardener.
However, is there time for Sienna the Cellist or Sienna the Clay Artist? Do I need to focus less on these roles to master my writing? My intuition answers yes. Calling myself a writer in daily conversation is my overarching goal. To utter the words “I am a writer” stems from confidence, rooted by experience in a pile of trial and error. I will focus on my experience – successes and failures – as inspiration for my writing. In life and on paper, I accept that I will make mistakes.
Margaret Atwood wrote, “If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”
Considering mistakes find their ways into the creative process, I might as well embrace them. Gardening has taught me a great deal about embracing mistakes. Last year Jason and I ambitiously started a massive garden. We tilled up more soil than not. I don’t regret the mistakes we made. We cooked with fresh ingredients throughout the summer. Every morning, we gazed at the wildflower patch outside our bedroom window. At the end of the season, we made half a dozen cans of tomato sauce. Who cares (aside from our neighbors) about the messy patch of perennials in our front yard?
As a novice gardener and relatively experienced writer, nature strikes a chord with me. I particularly appreciate the value of food grown in an organic garden. Starting my second garden at my new house helped me realize that life is truly beautiful when savored and taken step-by-step. I teach ESL at Northampton Community College where I’ve joined the school’s community garden. The people there have taught me that gardening can create calming solitude, but also invigorating unity.
My reflections have inspired direction for my blog.