I love “truisms“; this is my word for phrases that always ring with truth. In my quilting studio, I have a plaque that says: “My quilts don’t have to be perfect. Only God is perfect.” This is a great reminder to me that a hobby is to be fun and not an exercise in frustration. Georgia Bonesteele says: “If it looks good on a galloping horse, it’s probably okay!”, or something to that effect. In other words, most of us have a tendency to take a microscope to our projects, focus only on the mistakes, and never take the opportunity to enjoy the overall presentation. I mean really…if your points are chopped off on a baby quilt that is going to be washed until it turns to shreds, is this cause for anxiety and distress? Not hardly.
I’ve talked about my love of “Woodenisms” as well. Coach Wooden has influenced my thinking in so many areas. For example, not letting what I can’t do interfere with what I can do, drives my life’s actions. Like many of you, there are situations in my life that I can do absolutely nothing about to effect a positive change. I can either be paralyzed by the negativity of it, or I can find a new way to cope. The benefit of growing older is learning to leave what you can and to keep what you really need.
Back in the spring, I was momentarily overwhelmed by life’s negatives. I took that energy and turned it into a question for myself: What could I do that might counteract this negativity? Drawing from high school algebra, I knew that to bring a negative to a zero, I would have to apply a positive of equal value. Someone has said, “Success is the best revenge!” What could I become successful at that would negate a harmful attitude toward me?
I chose to enroll in an online creative writing course. It’s been a long while for me since I functioned as a college student. Yet, I have completed my course and have a sense of accomplishment in just having done it, and feel a sense of success by receiving a certificate. I’ve shifted my attention from the negative altitudes and situations I deal with, to encountering an international body of students numbering over 40,000. I started a thread on a forum seeking health care professionals over age 60, and was pleasantly surprised to encounter a whole group of us out there seeking a common experience.
A sad thought is that too many of us allow the great deceiver to occupy our minds with doubts and failure. We miss out on too many experiences because of our own attitudes. Many times we are our own worst enemy. We focus on what we can’t do, we obsess over our inability to be perfect, and we stop our horse and get out our spyglass and focus on unimportant details. I’m not advocating a less than best effort. I’ve finally allowed myself to enjoy the joy of being and accept that the hat I toss into the ring is, in reality, as good as everyone else’s.
So, that leaves me to conclude with one of my favorite truisms: done is good! A quilt that is finished and in use on the bed of a needy recipient is better than an heirloom work of art, already 20 years in progress, but not even half completed. (I have one of these.) An online certificate from Coursera is better than dreaming about participating in an author’s circle of New York best selling writers. Try something new, stretch your faith in yourself, and let a small success be your best revenge to having been short changed and dealt a difficult blow.
Look into Coursera for yourself. San Jacinto College is located in California, but you can have classmates from all over the globe. The best part is, it’s free! The only investment you need is a forward moving attitude and the willingness to structure your time. Oh, there’s one more truism I’ll share. Thoreau said: ” Be not simply good. Be good for something.” Fifty years ago I wrote a paper for an advanced English class, and I’m still trying to live by it. Go for it! When life tears you to pieces, make a quilt!
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/2718556208/”>jimmywayne</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>