I am not a quitter.
My therapist would say that this is due to my unrelenting standards and sure, she would be correct, but I am who I am.
In spite of that personality trait, over the years I have gotten much better at releasing things (and tasks) that no longer serve a positive purpose in my life. Today I’m talking about in-progress craft projects. After having worked at Lee Wards Craft Store (a precursor to Michael’s) and using my employee discount with gusto for a few years and after Jim and I moved from a two-bedroom townhouse to a three-bedroom townhouse before we ever had children just so I could have a craft room, I was completely overloaded with craft stuff. Eventually I started getting serious about what I wanted to keep: was I truly going to finish that? Was I really going to make four more of those? Did I want to complete that project even though it was not fun at all?
Slowly, many of the assorted projects and supplies I was storing found better homes. I whittled my unfinished craft project stash down to two categories: my 1990’s Creative Memories scrapbooks which I would never dispose of anyway and just needed (okay, need, present tense! They still aren’t done!) to write captions on most of the pages, and a tiny heart cross stitch that I started on linen, because I lost my mind.
It was my first (and last) linen project ever; the delicate nature of it made me fall in love. Originally I thought, “This won’t take me long at all! It’s tiny!”
Tiny was the problem.
I started that sucker more than 32 years ago. I can’t remember what count the linen has, but I was working over one thread, not two, and stitching with one strand of floss. See above. It’s ridiculous.
Every time I did a purge of my craft supplies, I would pick up the gallon-sized Ziploc bag that held that unfinished heart (along with all of the floss, the pattern, and a tiny pair of scissors), consider whether I would ever finish it for God’s sake, and then gingerly put it back into the box.
I told a friend that I’ve been working on this cross stitch longer than I’ve worked on my kids. (Rimshot!)
I finally got serious about it last month and made all kinds of deals with myself just to get that little bitty thing done. Did I mention it’s really small?
In order to be able to see it with my 52-year-old eyes, I wore my readers and also used bright lighting in conjunction with a magnifying glass. Yes, really. I basically dragged myself to the finish line.
I posted an Instagram story saying that I was going to frame it like a G-D museum masterpiece, and that’s what I did. My friend congratulated me, saying “I would have tossed it long ago but you occasionally persisted and did it! GOOD JOB!” It made me cackle but she was right. Occasionally persisting got me to my goal, and it made me think about the range of effort we put into achieving what we set out to do: sometimes we go big or go home, sometimes we occasionally persist, and sometimes we give up altogether.
I rather enjoy occasional persistence. Although that little project has been a monkey on my back for longer than I’ve been a mother, hanging it on my bedroom wall where I see it every morning reminds me that victory is sweet and baby steps, though they take a lot longer, really will get us where we want to go.
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