Thoughts on learning big lessons from small things.
I did something. But it’s not the fact that I did this “thing”, it’s the reason behind why I did it that matters. And the reason was…
No reason at all.
I’ve been fascinated with and loved miniatures for my entire life. Maybe it’s that little girl still inside of me. I had a crummy cardboard dollhouse when I was young that I loved more than life. I subscribed to Miniatures magazine and did my best to make my crummy dollhouse presentable. Then, one Christmas, my parents bought me a proper dollhouse. There was only one catch. It was an elaborate kit that had to be put together. So, basically, I got a big box of wood for Christmas that year. But, oh, I could see it in my mind’s eye, and it was going to be glorious.
My dad worked on the dollhouse on the weekends. Then, one weekend, he just stopped. I figured this is where my gift for procrastination originates. The huge shell of a dollhouse sat unfinished in my room for my entire childhood. When I grew up and moved away, I took it with me thinking that someday I’d finish it. But, somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I never thought I’d be capable of finishing it. So, for 30 years, it moved with me every time I moved. I’ve previously blogged on the dollhouse and how eventually, I realized that I was just carrying around the pain of my strained relationship with my dad for years. It was quite cathartic when I finally took a hammer to the damn thing. I felt free but also grateful.
So then, seven years after the hammer incident, I saw this one-room miniatures kit online. And without even thinking too much about it, my mind’s eye could see what I could do with it, and it was glorious. I ordered the kit, and the journey began. I’ve worked on my little miniature room for the past seven months. I thought how fun it would be to combine my love for miniatures, romantic comedies, and Nora Ephron into one project. So, I recreated the Little Shop Around the Corner from You’ve Got Mail.
And damn if I didn’t do it. For no other reason than it makes me happy. I’m such a goal-oriented person. I never do things without some clear reason. Everything I do feels like it’s something that’s moving my life forward. But I’ve made a huge effort to practice present living and mindfulness in the past several years. And I’ve learned the gifts of simplicity at the moment.
And as always, I’ve learned some lessons in my little experiment.
Things Take Time
In this instant world, it’s pretty easy to grow impatient when something isn’t available immediately at our fingertips. But I started to realize how impatient I become with most projects. I’m still rewriting a book I started last November. I tend to get frustrated that it’s not complete, so what is my answer? To do nothing. I’ll abandon a project just because I think it’s taking me too long.
But, things take time.
You have to reel your mind in from the big picture and focus on the next step in front of you. Every day after work, I’d sit down at my little project, push away feelings of being overwhelmed, and just look at the next little thing I needed to do. Then I did it and repeated the process the next day. This is how you achieve anything. The journey of a thousand steps really does come down to the next step in front of you. No more, no less. Just accept the journey.
You Can Do It
I freaked out when I got to the lighting kit for my project. My guy kept offering to help me, but as I journeyed further along with my project, I realized the importance of doing it on my own. I wanted to know that I was capable of doing things that I didn’t think I could do.
I fought back the internal dialogue I had held for years that only my dad or someone else could finish my original dollhouse. Now, I began to think, why not me? I’m capable. Why can’t I do it?
And through the magic of YouTube, where you can find an instruction video on literally anything in the world, my visual learning style was well-fed. I almost cried the first time I turned on the lights, and they worked!
It’s Okay to Make Yourself Happy
For us natural-born pleaser types, when we do something for ourselves, we tend to battle against feelings of guilt. Not only can you choose to make yourself happy, but that’s also exactly what we are supposed to do. Happiness must spring from within, and then you share it with others. It’s not their job to “make” you happy. They can’t. And you will only be left frustrated if you try to find happiness outside of yourself. (Puppies and kittens excluded. Happiness can always be found in puppies and kittens.)
It’s okay to do things for yourself, too, for no reason other than making you happy. No one else even has to understand or approve of those things that make you happy.
Life can be hard enough without us making it harder. I love movies, and I love Nora Ephron. What an amazing life she led. And anyone who could write a scene as good as…
Harry: Obviously, you haven’t had great sex yet…When Harry Met Sally, 1989
Sally: It just so happens that I have had plenty of good sex… [diner customers all stare at Sally]
Harry: With whom did you have this great sex?
Sally: I’m not going to tell you that!
Harry: Fine. Don’t tell me.
Sally: Shel Gordon.
Harry: Shel. Sheldon? No, no. You did not have great sex with Sheldon.
Sally: I did too.
Harry: No, you didn’t. A Sheldon can do your income taxes. If you need a root canal, Sheldon’s your man, but humpin’ and pumpin’ is not Sheldon’s strong suit. It’s the name. ‘Do it to me, Sheldon.’ ‘You’re an animal, Sheldon.’ ‘Ride me, big Sheldon.’ It doesn’t work.
I mean, COME ON!!
Movies make me happy. And creating a little mini-movie scene made me even happier.
So I ask you, what are you doing that makes you happy? What are you doing that’s just for you? What journey are you taking for no other reason than joy?
“All this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.”
– Kathleen Kelly.You’ve Got Mail, 1998
Peace, love, and moxie!