I like to live in a Depression mindset.
No, no no. Not the drop-everything-and-dial-a-hotline depression you’re probably thinking of. [Though I won’t lie– those bouts of elongated sadness do rear their heads occasionally. *weak laughter*]
Nah, I’m talking about the historical Depression, the one that booted so many out of jobs, out of homes, out of their comfort zone. The mindset that what you have today may be totally gone tomorrow. The mindset that you need to use everything around you to your advantage. The mindset that commands your attention to details, and the constant use of creativity. My grandmother grew up through this time, and for her, living the inventive, penny-pinching, ingenious life was how you survived.
Luckily, my grandmother passed down her frugality to my mother, which has so obviously rubbed off on me. While I know I’m not as good at these frugal habits as my mother [I’m very impulsive, I’ve got lots to learn, and I have an expensive taste >.<], I do understand the power of using “every part of the buffalo”, having minimal waste, and being forced to think outside box and draw outside the lines.
I thought of my grandmother today amidst my planning for the next month– life has been insane with getting my Etsy shop started, figuring out this hidden treasure trove of skills I want to learn, working two jobs, and packing for a vacation in the meantime. My planning, albeit a bit scattered, is part of what gets the shit done for me. I recently stumbled across a certain strategy in the book The Organized Mind, by Daniel J. Levitin [which I know I’ve mentioned here so many times before, it’s such a good book you need to read it okay end rant].
What you do is take a big board (I use a whiteboard, this could easily be done with cork and made way cuter, come to think of it!) and divide it into 4 sections, labeled
and my 4th category is “MISC”.
In these sections, you’re supposed to put sticky notes with tasks on them, according to when you’d like them completed, giving you a really helpful, visual representation of your otherwise formulaic, overwhelming to-do list (though if to-do lists are your thing, that’s great too!).
I didn’t have sticky notes, though, [and this is the part that made me think of my grandmother] so I ended up cutting up strips of paper I’d written on, fastening the strips to my organized board with the remnant outlines of sticker paper, the sticker paper excess that had come from my recent craft order.
After putting everything together, I admired my handiwork. It was messy, it was disgruntled, it was less than perfect. I thought about re-arranging the notes of paper on the board to look more aesthetically pleasing. I thought about re-writing all of the tasks in fancy calligraphy to make it more “instagrammable” [I hadn’t posted anything yet for my art Instagram so I was looking for something to post!].
But then I stopped.
What was I doing?
Over the past week or so, I’ve been submersing myself into the work of others, the feeds of others, the blogs of others, the copy of others. Unfortunately, my mind would fall into mini-comparisons. Oooh why can’t I have these gorgeous mock-ups? They have so many likes?? How? This Instagram feed is so UNIFORM omg why can’t mine be like that? If only I had that many followers…UGH if only I had this [software/fuzzy white rug/piece of machinery/shiny camera] to better boost my work!] and other relevant chips away at my self esteem, yada yada etc.
…And those naggy bit of thoughts would just race around the inside edges of my head, until I had a sit-down with myself. I recalled a snippet I’d heard from a friend not long ago:
Goddammit, Steph. Comparison is the thief of joy.
I needed to step back and take some inventory. Everything I have right now [artistically, personally, and financially speaking…] at this moment of time…. I made that.
Whether it was with my own two hands, whether it was something I thought up, something I designed, something I just decided to get up off my ass and finally complete?
Yeah, I did that.
So often I think we get caught up in what’s missing, what’s wrong, what we need to change, how we’ve failed. We don’t take a minute to appreciate what’s left behind us in our wake, the awesome creative havoc through any mess that has happened that has led right up to this moment.
Now, the goal of this post isn’t to just rant about success or the path towards it, but rather to remind you [and myself!] to take a minute from time to time to give yourself that pat on the back, that moment of pride. That moment when you look around with a dumbfounded budding grin, like “oh shit, did I do that? Something a year, a month, a week or two ago I never thought possible? YEAH I did.”
And I did do it. All teh things.
Like this planning board. It may not look super sleek or super shiny. It may not be killer Pinterest content or Insta-ready. It may not be awed and adored by every person who trips over it, or be perfect in any capacity– but that’s who I am. I’m not completely together [I don’t think I ever will be, LOL!]. I’m not super neat [just ask my roommate *sob* sorry son, I love you]. And I’m sure as hell not perfect.
So why should my content be?