Announcement: You Don’t Have To Do All The Things

I have a demanding full time job. I write a blog. I am searching for the right guy to date. I run a Japanese conversation group. I built and maintain an inclusive Instagram friends group. I started a Coursera on how to code. I practise brush lettering.

And yet, I feel pressure to do more.

On Sunday I went with some amazing crafty ladies to the Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace. We went to support the Queen of Cambridge, Claire, who was giving a talk on Pinterest there.

We spent the day walking around busy marketplaces, with crafty people selling their gorgeous wares. Meeting all these incredibly talented people was very inspiring – but I felt so much pressure to do more than I already do. Other ladies who were there with us are in the coolest of gangs – the sewing instagrammers. I felt very envious of them comparing sewing patterns and posing in outfits they’d made all themselves.

Walking through the displays of different crafts, I almost felt guilty that I didn’t have more crafting skills. From people asking me to turn gorgeous fabric into skirt-dungarees, to doll knitting kits, I felt more of a loser with every new skill I came across.

In one of the many fantastic crafting workshops, we sat dabbing small wooden wreaths with earbuds soaked with carefully selected paints in shades such as “sigh of a pine cone” and “flaccid buoyancy aid”. The Master Crafter Lady stood above us and announced “I’m sure many of you are stampers as well – if you wanted to combine these two, the wreath makes an excellent platform!”

Oh, what. Now I have to stamp too??? What does one even stamp???

I once, a very long time ago, read a blog post where the writer was complaining about people who say “I wish I could do that!” and then not to try to do that thing. If I remember rightly, her example was baking; people wished they could bake, but don’t bother to learn.

I think about this post often, though it was years ago that I read it (so much so I’ve forgotten who wrote it).

There are so many things I wish I could do. I feel overwhelmed by the skills and hobbies I see around me, and my list of “things to be able to do” ranges from things I could use in a job (how to code, how to not fuck up in Excel) to things that would allow me to hang out with the cool kids (sewing, pin making) to things I just really want to do (be fluent in Mandarin, brush lettering).

But this way of thinking is massively unhealthy. With social media, we are suddenly able to learn from, and be inspired by each other, but that doesn’t mean that we have to be able to do all the things. It’s perfectly fine to watch the cool sewing girls do their cool sewing, while chilling out with some up and down strokes of the lettering brush.

They say comparison is the thief of joy, and in this case, it’s absolutely true. I want to focus more on what I can do and not look over wishing I can do things others do.

Crafters out there – I salute you. You’re amazing. I do wish I could do the things that you do. But actually, I’m cool with the many things that I already do. And that’s OK.

 

Comments

  1. The wreath is adorable!

    I stamp cards, but I’m not very good at it 😉 I can cross stitch but I cant code or make friends (on Instagram or otherwise). Your skill sound way more useful!
    Confuzzled Bev recently posted…Friday lettersMy Profile

  2. It’s taken me a long time to get comfortable with my limits. Which really aren’t limits at all, because I’ve always been an “I don’t know how she does it”-kinda gal. Our time here is finite, and we’re never going to be able to accomplish all of the things that we tell ourselves we want to. Wasting energy and time worrying about it is, well, a waste.

    I’ve always wished I had a craft because it would be nice to have a hobby that doesn’t involve words and screens – but I’m just too clumsy! Plus, if you end up buying everything they tell you you need it’ll cost a fortune. Thinking of all those boxes of knitting needles and wool, and photography equipment, and paints, I’ve accumulated over the years. It would be cheaper just to buy a bloody pair of socks rather than make one! Massive respect to those that can. x
    last year’s girl recently posted…four ways to sort out your sleep schedule;My Profile

    • It’s so hard getting the balance right – we want to craft but when it puts pressure on us, it’s not doing its job! x

  3. I love this sentiment. My to-do list has its own to-do lists, and my Google Calendar is up to eight separate subcalendars. Sometimes it’s all too much!
    Steven recently posted…Things end.My Profile

    • Charlotte says:

      HOW DO YOU DO THAT???? To be fair, you do live life to the fullest, with your music and travel. I’m not surprised you’re needing to be so organised.

      • I do feel like my calendaring habit is out of hand, even for me. It’s even spun off a paper calendar of my own design that I keep in my pocket – it shows the next three months in a one-page view.
        Steven recently posted…Things end.My Profile

  4. Loved this post❤️

    I follow so many creatives on Instagram and I wholeheartedly support their passions, but I often find myself comparing my efforts with their own or being simply too intimidated to even start. I wish my handwriting was as neat or my art as beautiful as my fellow bullet journalers, for example😕

    My biggest problem is I’m a dabbler: I flit from interest to new found interest rather than settling. I *know* it takes hard work to excel at something and I can put in the effort when I want to. But I’m also so easily distracted. My hard drive is a graveyard of half-baked ideas and unfinished projects.

    I have a degree in computer games design and for a long time I beat myself up because I’m not ‘using it’. I see my old classmates doing incredible things whereas I have nothing to show for it myself. I’m not jealous because I appreciate how much hard work they put in and I want to see them do well, but I instead undermine myself.

    But more recently i’ve recognised the value of my degree beyond the actual content – I was introduced to so many new ideas and amazing people that shaped who I am today – and I try to recognise that I am creative in my own right, whether that’s on the computer or in my daily life. It doesn’t matter if my dabbles with code never see the light of day or my bullet journaling, drawing or attempts at cross-stitch etc aren’t Instagram worthy. What matters is that I have FUN and continue to use my imagination. I’m trying to give myself permission to experiment.

    I have a whole host of crafting projects I want to do this winter. I just need to avoid the usual trap of telling myself I don’t have the time or space and go for it. Neither is true when I think about what I’ve accomplished when I put my mind to it.

    That’s really cool you run a Japanese conversational group! Japan is my bucket list destination but I haven’t even opened my phrase books yet😬

    • Charlotte says:

      Honestly, I started it because I have a degree in Japanese and I never use it. I used to be really good, but I can barely remember proper vocabulary these days.
      There are so many more opportunities for us now, because of the internet, but at the same time so fewer opportunities because of the failing job market and economy. Like you, I have so many projects on the go, and even more planned. It makes me feel like I’m achieving something.

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