In the last two years I’ve had step out of my comfort zone.
Then again, I’ve stepped right into it.
There’s both, and it’s all mostly good.
In stepping out, I’ve sold and bought houses and cars. I’ve negotiated with air conditioner technicians and auto mechanics. I’ve tackled home improvement projects that would have been in my husband’s realm, not mine.
I’ve had to pay attention to things that never, ever, would have warranted my attention in the past.
In stepping in, I’ve explored interests I never realized were interests before. I’ve discovered I love creating something out of nothing and the bigger the nothing the better. I’ve built lighting fixtures and tables. I’ve attempted free-flow abstract painting. I’ve sculpted and worked with rocks and wood and tile and resin. Most lately I’ve poured artistic-themed geodes, sparkly resin earrings and grown borax crystals.
I like to share my work with friends. I guess because it gives me joy and joy doesn’t work well in isolation. I don’t purport that any of my projects are art-worthy or even good, but they bring me fulfillment and that is something. They also help to fill an empty house—and that’s another.
I realize my projects are all over the place—from furniture to lamps to planters to decorative items to art to jewelry and so on. Sometimes I wish I could focus on just one thing. To specialize. But that isn’t me. I’m a squirrel—all over the place. I like to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
A Jill of all trades, if you will.
I’m decorating my house with my projects-slash-art. It really doesn’t matter if they are beautiful (although I think they are). I like looking at them and seeing what my hands created.
People see my work and often have the same question: “How do you dare try that? Aren’t you afraid you’ll mess up?”
The answer is a quick, “No.”
I’m not afraid I’ll mess up, because I already have. I mess up nearly every day. It’s happened many, many times so there’s nothing to fear in that. It’s already been done.
Mistakes are part of the process. Part of learning.
The items I display in my home are the end result. They aren’t necessarily the first attempt; they most often are the fourth, fifth or thirtieth attempt.
Hardly any of us get it right on the first try.
But if the first try ends in failure and you stop there, how will you ever succeed? Worse yet, what if something looks so complicated that you never try at all?
I don’t know of one baby—in the history of humankind—who learned to walk on the first try.
I don’t think even Michelangelo, Curie, Mozart, Angelou, da Vinci, Einstein or Dickinson got it right on the first draft.
And look at where their third, fourth and fifth tries took them. (Insert awe-inspired sigh here.)
I don’t claim to be Amadeus Mozart or Emily Dickinson. Not even close. But I can aspire. I can try. I can create and I can allow that to bring me joy.
I don’t have to get it right the first time, or even expect that, because we all learn as we go.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, because life never is.
But perseverance? Continuing? Trying, and finally, in the end, succeeding at some level?
That, my friends, is what it is all about.
Keep at it. I’ll be doing the same.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author.
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