Jack of Many Trades

Aspiration or Exhaustion?

Originally posted: 2021-01-17

There’s an idea that comes up a lot in decluttering conversations about the aspirational self, owning things that are aspirational rather than in use for your life now. Someday things. Someday I’ll properly take up quilting, someday I’ll get back to felt sculpture, someday I’ll have space to do blacksmithing again, I’ll have the bandwidth for jewelrywork more than twice a year, I’ll have room for the spirit dollhouse and…

Well, you get the idea.

The thing about someday things, yes, is that you don’t know when someday is going to be and maybe that’s a reason to get rid of them. But at the same time, it feels to me like giving up, and in that sense I hate the idea.

I do try to be pretty ruthless about things I want to be but I don’t actually see myself being – I really don’t think I’m going to be an urban goat and chicken farmer, even if we didn’t live on the third floor. But my wife likes to remind me that even if I only do something sometimes, or if I would do it except we don’t have the space, maybe it’s okay to hold onto it. I want to be the person with the energy for a dozen hobbies. And honestly, I’ve been that person in the past. And yeah, maybe 2020 is not a great year to make any sort of generalizations about what I’m going to have the energy for going forward.

A reasonable amount of aspiration is good and necessary, and keeps you moving forward, I think. I don’t feel like I’m a failure when I look at my quilting box, for example. I look at it and think that I want to do that, that I want to have the time and energy and joints to do that. But it doesn’t hurt, except in the finger pain sense, which is a whole other issue.

I took this as a motivation to do some things I'd been putting off. The chain reaction of moving things around in the bedroom means I had a spot for the rough draft version of the spirit dollhouse, so I went ahead and put it on the shelf and decorated it. I'd like to do more complex things with it, yes, but here is a small thing that's now a done thing. I reorganized the jewelry supplies, but I also admitted that some of the things won't get used; I'm not likely to have the joints for the heavy duty chainmail, and even if I did I prefer the smaller gauges.

Things that hurt, though... things that make me feel bad, things that have a “should” attached instead of a “could” or a “would like to”, yeah, those should probably go. I let go of a bunch of papercraft/ephemera I'm never going to get around to, that just made me feel bad I didn't have the energy for the big projects I had pictured.

At the very least I think I’m going to wait until we have a yard before I buy another chicken farming book.