Stop Doing What Doesn't Make You Happy

So many of you know that I am a knitter in my spare time. There is this terrific idiom amongst knitters: a UFO. An UnFinished Object. We have who discussions about how many UFO's we have sitting around and if we should finish or rip out a particular UFO or not. We have groups you can join that will help motivate you to finish your UFO, some even will finish a UFO for you, or rip it out for you if you just don't have the heart to do it yourself.

Sometimes UFO's can make me happy. Having multiple projects on the needles gives me options. Maybe I don't want to knit a complicated lace pattern in the car, instead I pick up a washcloth instead. But sometimes UFO's can make you sad and overwhelmed and can become a block to your creativity. When do you keep pushing on and when do you just give up?

This really is for all things. When do you give up on reading that book that you just aren't into? When do you give up on that half finished project sitting in your workshop? When do you drop the yoga class you are miserable going to on Mondays at 6 am?

Just stop them now. tear them out, pass them on, decided they are "done enough" anything to keep them from being a drain on your creativity and happiness. Think of the book you are not finishing because you don't particularly like it. Are you sitting and playing video games instead of reading this book you can't seem to get into? Will giving up one half finished book open up the flood gates of other possibilities so you can enjoy reading again?

We all have that list. Those things to do that never get done. They sit there, sometimes from year to year. Really, if it's been on your list to do for 12 months is it that important? Is it so important you need to see it written down day after day?

So when I look at a UFO that has been sitting there I ask myself: is it blocking me from doing some other project. If the answer is yes, then I either finish it or tear it out. If no, then I can pick up another project and look at the UFO as just another option. Heck, it's taken me a year to knit a sweater, little by little, when I felt like I had the mental capacity to tackle it. But it did get done, it did see progress.

But is amazing how much lighter I feel when I just stop doing something I hate. I don't always get that option, but when I do, I seize the opportunity.


Atmosphere of Growth

OK, so what am I spouting about now?

Basically the theory is that what makes us happy now will not make us happy later if we stagnate. We need to live in an atmosphere that allows us to grow and strive to keep being happy.

Seems like a pretty easy concept, I can think of lots of examples:

Think of all the divorced couples that had one or more partners who felt stifled, that they couldn't grow as a person or in their job, or whatever. The lack of an atmosphere of growth is what killed that relationship.

The person who has their dream job one year and just a few years later hates it. Why? Because there is no place for them to go father with their career. They are stuck and they hate it. No growth sends them to another job or career.

An artisan who gets burnt out. Same shows every year, same display, same product line, same, same, same. The customers get as bored as the artisan does in this case. It doesn't have to be all new every year, but growing keeps it interesting for you and your customers.

So I've been on a growth kick this year. Taking lots of classes, listening to podcasts, getting back to reading actual books, and expanding the business in some new ways. Am I happier? I don't know if my overall happiness quotient has raised, but I am happier in the moment. I am happier to be in the car when I have something interesting to listen to. I am happier in my free time when I am working on a new craft. And because of these types of things, the things that take from my happiness seem to be less frequent and less intense.

Now when I get unhappy I look for ways to get out of my rut, to do or try something new, to learn, to grow and that typically gets me out of my funk. Bored with cooking, try a new recipe book. Tired of making soap, look for some new fragrances to experiment with. Sick of the same old routine, time for a new restaurant and maybe a date night to change things up. Build your atmosphere of growth :)


The Days after a 'Fest

I get asked all the time what do I do between festivals. The easy answer is clean, make soap, do paperwork, and sleep. Not necessarily in that order.

Today was the first day after the 9 day Kutztown Folk Festival. I think of it as a 12 day festival because it takes me a day to pack, a day to set up, nine days of fest, and a day to clean up afterward.

Before C had to leave for work, his car was emptied of the inventory he had to bring home yesterday. All the bins were emptied of their contents, and inventory put away. All the displays and lamps were cleaned and dried, and returned to storage in the shed. Then I went to my van and did the same thing. I was done with this about 11 am. I started before 7.

Before even starting the unpacking I had tallied the deposit, paid the bills, changed the outgoing phone message, answered all the emails that had collected during the week, and ordered some desperately needed supplies.

After, the vans were emptied I actually brought the deposit to the bank, had lunch, went to the grocery store, and started on my refrigerator full of food from the garden and CSA that had collected during the week. I managed to get through three cucumbers (making two salads) and two cabbages (another two salads) before taking a break to write this and figure out what dinner will be. It's 6 pm.

Now I am off to make dinner, take a much desired shower, and shell a few gallons of peas. I think I will fall asleep with a sink full of dishes and still a long list of things to do.

I always think it's cute when someone thinks that Mondays are my day to lounge by a pool and take a nap.

I am just grateful that I have it easier than some people I know, they load into their next show Wednesday. My wonderful customer base means I can pick and choose shows, not travel far from home, and have online sales to get me through the lean times. I am truly blessed.