Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Problem with Being Finished

If you recall, my word for this year is Finish.

NCDOTcommunications CCBY2.0 via Flickr

I have to admit to you that this word makes me anxious.  I thought about just letting it slide into oblivion by not talking about it again or changing it to another word that feels more positive to me.

Instead, I decided to stick with it a little longer and analyze why this word makes me anxious.  After all, finishing something, particularly a quilt is a good thing.  Why does this word make me nervous?  Here's where I lay down on the counseling couch and turn all of you into therapists. 

First of all, it feels like a drastic change from last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed quilting last year. Last year, my Clarity goal seemed like a refinement of things I was already doing instead of a drastic change.  I didn't even make real goals about quilting, so I went back to an older word of Start.  The quote with the word Start had to do with taking the first step to climbing the mountain, which was something as simple as buying the gear.  So even though it wasn't actually said, it was something about just taking the next step.  And I had just read the book Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  My house isn't any tidier since I've read that book, but I have made sure there was more joy in my life.  So the undefined rule for quilting was, "if it brings you joy, take another step to bring it forward."

This year, since so many quilts had so much progress on them, I could just take a few more steps to bring them down the finish line.  I thought I was gently saying, just keep going.  But it feels authoritarian, like I MUST finish what I start. This is strange, because I didn't come up with any rules like I had in the past, such as finishing one or two quilts before starting a new one, or not starting any new ones at all.
NCDOTcommunications CCBY2.0 via Flickr

Second is the negativity of the word.  Finishing someone off isn't a good thing nor is it good to be done with someone.  Even the good connotations of the word are somewhat negative.  When you finish a good book, you don't have any more to read. When you are done cleaning, you don't want to start doing anything else, because you will mess up the cleanliness. When a party is over, there is the loneliness of an empty house.  I know that finishing something leaves you open to start something else, but when I made the rule that I could start something new for everything I finished, it felt more punitive than rewarding.

I'm also having a hard time finding a quote and a picture that provides the positive encouragement I need. Going down the finish line at a race isn't a good analogy, since I am not going to be the first one to finish, as slow as I quilt. And if  I am first, because I am the only one racing, then going down the finish line isn't all that rewarding.  Besides, just finishing isn't all that big a deal. It is more an avoidance of humiliation than a real accomplishment. That finish/start picture is the closest I got, to show that once you finish something, you get to start something else.

I obviously have more work to do to relieve this anxiety.

Thank you for listening to my rambling. The check is in the mail. Don't worry, I don't need your address.


Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

My thought is to finish one for every 3 I start. There is no pressure and it feels good to switch to the finishing mode occasionally.

June D said...

When I was first married I read a book that said before bringing a new item into the house, an old item had to leave. I like your idea of finishing a quilt project and then starting a new one much better. But even more think Wanda has a good idea too with finish one and get to start three new ones! : )

Quiltdivajulie said...

I think it is most important to focus on the process. Finishing is a natural part of the progression - we dream, we begin, we work, we work some more, and finally we bring the project to completion. I think my procrastination with actual "FINISHES" is that I enjoy the process so much, I hate to see it end (particularly when I really LIKE a project I've been working with). I found that working on multiple projects at various stages helps because I am never EMPTY after any particular finish. I have also learned to celebrate each finish with a photo shoot and a reveal post on the blog. All this to say that I totally get the anxiety that you mention with the word FINISH (it seems quite arbitrary, really - crossing that white line, etc.) If you want to change your word - go for it!