You walk into my house and find me in the kitchen, energy flying in all directions. The contents of a cutlery drawer are dumped on the counter; the dishwasher is partly emptied; and a stack of mail is halfway sorted. Do you just shake your head, make yourself a cup of tea, and wait it out, or do you back away slowly, glancing around for trace amounts of cocaine on your way to the door?
To explain, I follow the tenet of “do it as the spirit moves you.” A planned three-minute jaunt outside to fill the birds’ water dish can easily stretch to 45 sweaty minutes, complete with scratches from rosebush thorns (spontaneous pruning sans long sleeves) and muddied sandals. For example, yesterday, as I was cleaning off the top of the stove, I glanced out the French doors. Frustrated finches were trying to tease the last few sunflower seeds from the bottom of the hanging feeders. I headed towards the mesquite, but before I could unhook the seed holders from their hangers, the remnants of last night’s spur-of the moment pruning caught my attention. The rake was leaning up against the tree, so I quickly cleaned up the drying mess of branches and leaves. Long, gangly stems on the plumbago, which I should have pruned two weeks ago, were vying for my attention. Luckily the pruning shears were still sitting on a garden table, so I took care of that task. The soil in a pot of lavender was drier than it should be, which sent me back inside and to fill a pitcher of water…. You see what happens?! You get it, right? I finally did grab the feeders and refill them at the big tub of bird seed in the shed without any more side trips. Thankfully the birds are squawky but patient creatures.
It took a while for my husband to become privy to my "while you are there” process for attacking tasks. Usually I had the house tidy and dinner ready to go on the table by the time he got home. One afternoon he popped in unexpectedly early. You know how it is when you think you know your partner inside out, and then out of the blue you get a glimpse of a character trait you’d never witnessed before? Yeah. That feeling! I have to say he handled it well. I mean, he’s still here, right? We’ll overlook his allegation that I might be a bit “scattered”. For practical purposes, we’ll stick with my claim to be a master of multitasking, or even better, multi-faceted like a fine gem stone. I like that one.
Actually, my ability to multitask bode well for me in the work world and, at one engineering firm, won me major kudos from my boss’s boss. I took on anything that was thrown at me, often managing and juggling tasks that were way beyond the scope of my expertise. I became a fast learner. My career path never followed a one-discipline, steady trajectory though. I’ve held five, very different, major positions over the years, each one challenging me and broadening my skill set. I moved forward and upward.
Statistics show that the average person changes careers five to seven times over their work life. I am living proof that not only is changing one’s career path not flaky, it enables growth both personally and professionally. It also prevents boredom. While I envy those who are practically genetically predisposed to certain avocations, and find their purpose and passions early in life, I also cannot imagine being boxed into one genre until retirement. I have been the wearer of many hats, and there are still more hats to try on than I have years left to wear.
Do I want to write another novel, or do I want to cross “write a novel” off my list and move on to a new challenge? I have writing ideas brewing, but taking watercolor lessons has been on my want-to-do list for ages. I have still to master my digital camera and finish the online photography class I started. I’d love to become a Master Gardner. I want to refresh my French with a class or two, and maybe learn Italian while I’m at it. I've logged close to ten years of ballroom dance lessons, and I’m not saying I’m done, but I’d love to learn to play Canon in D on the piano as well. No, I don’t play and I’ve never had a lesson, but I’m not the type to be satisfied starting with Mary Had a Little Lamb. I've always tried to run before I could walk.
I’m not quite ready to jump into my next venture, so while I’m enjoying a bit of a lull, I might just have a cup of tea and mull it all over. Suggestions welcome. Complaint department, however, is on the third floor.
Lynn Nicholas - AUTHOR oF Dancing Between The Beats
My blog is a window into my world. My slice-of-life narratives are triggered by life's