It's Not Love Unless You're Sick of It and Keep Going
I am a serial enthusiast. I get excited about a new idea or project, and obsessively jump in, and buy all the gear (or in some cases, give everything away: thank you, Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up), and evangelize to everyone around me about why they have to stop eating meat or commit to doing a capsule wardrobe. Then a few weeks will pass, and someone will catch me shopping at Target or eating a hamburger or ask me if we’ve gotten chickens yet, and I’ll sheepishly mumble something about how I’ve kind of stopped doing whatever my most recent kick was.
I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to get swept up in the fun of trying something new; I just wonder if flitting from thing to thing means I sacrifice the joy that can come from really committing for the long haul. In the same way that being a Jack of all trades means you sacrifice ever mastering anything.
Right now, I’m in the boring “production” phase of Pace & Pattern. The design part is over and the marketing phase hasn’t started. I’m just handling all the frustrating, fiddly, cost-related details of getting the final product made. I’m not good at this kind of thing, and I for sure don’t enjoy it. It makes me want to abandon ship and chase something shiny. But recently, Joseph said something (that he heard somewhere and isn’t sure where) that was exactly the encouragement I needed to stick with it and maintain my enthusiasm:
“Great musicians know a song isn’t ready until they’re sick of playing it.”
Similarly, it isn’t true love unless you get annoyed with each other and still stay together.
Part of moving past the infatuation phase and into a lasting relationship with a project, just like with a person, is feeling blah every now and then and working to maintain interest. Related to this, we tend to use the word “passion” to mean “something that gives me life;” when the actual root passion means “suffering.” An enduring commitment to something is sometimes going to feel like it’s taking life from me rather than giving life to me.
There is something so refreshing about realizing that this is a totally normal part of the process and that it doesn't mean I'm on the wrong path.
On a less dramatic note, most things worth doing have some aspects that are just boring. Becoming a great musician takes learning scales. Learning to paint starts with drawing bland still lives over and over. The key is to focus on the good parts so you can get through the blah.
For instance, we built a raised garden bed this summer and had the best time planting seeds and watching them grow … but now it’s the end of August, and there are weeds all over, and I’m not sure how but our pumpkin plant has escaped the bed and is now taking over our yard. My usual course of action would be to let it all go to seed and go back to not really knowing what was growing in our yard. But there is actually one pumpkin and a few cucumbers growing, so if I want to enjoy the veggies of our labor I need to push through the boring/annoying weed pulling to make it a reality.
So, whether your are trying a capsule wardrobe but feel bored with all your clothes, or you are exploring veganism and are Just. So. Tired. of chickpeas, or you started an Etsy shop but gag at the thought of sewing on another button, push through and remind yourself of what attracted you to your project in the first place.*
It isn’t love unless you get sick of it and keep going.
*...All that being said, if you stay bored and you can’t seem to rekindle the flame in six months to a year, then yeah maybe it’s time to drop the project.
Photo by Roman Kraft