Recently I went to the local bookstore, which happens to be the Harvard Co-op Bookstore, which is 3 stories and has a fantastic selection. Walking into a bookstore always makes me feel the same way, which is “I want to read THAT… and THAT… Oh, and THAT… And THAT looks awesome… and I’ve always wondered about THAT…” and so and so forth. I try to read a book a month. For some this seems pathetic, but for me it’s all I can reasonably handle and also do knitting and spinning and do the amount of exercise I want to do, and have clean clothes and reasonably clean floors and no fuzz growing in my bathroom. I thought to myself, “Self, in like the next 10 years, how much can I learn?” And I thought before I did this tiny bit of math it must be like half the bookstore. Like in 10 years I should be able to read a LOT. Like most of the books I’d want to read in that time. And guys? 12×10? That is 120 books. 120. One Hundred and Twenty piddly books. This is NO WHERE NEAR what I’d like to be able to learn in that amount. Not even close.
This seems to come up everywhere. Travel. There are so many places to see in the US, nevermind all the places I’d like to go in the whole world. So many things I’d like to learn how to do. I’d love to learn to draw and paint, really become a good photographer, spin MOUNTAINS of yarn. I have projects going through my head all day long, not helped one bit by Kate Davies recent post of her Shetland weekend with a photo of tables of fair isle knitting swatches.
This leaves me feeling a little disjointed, overwhelmed, rushed. Even if I quit my job, after winning some billion dollar lottery that I don’t play, and somehow stretched the day to 30 hours, I would still not be able to scratch the surface. None of these are things I want to own, I can’t buy these experiences or skills. With my previously mentioned multi-tasking tendencies, I have this feeling that if I just scheduled it right, I could knit that sweater while reading this book while the laundry is doing and the dinner is cooking and planning to go somewhere cool… and this leaves me doing a lot of things but maybe not experiencing it fully, which is the point of doing the thing, right? And this is just the trivial spare time stuff, forget career choices…
And this brings me to the real question which is what is the point of all of these activities, anyways? The big question that has been rolling around in my head for months is the question of what is worth doing, both as paid employment or spare time activities? Is something worth doing if the whole point of is just that it makes me happy? Is it worth doing if it provides a certain amount of income? Is it worth doing because it helps someone else, or is something not worth doing because it only pleases myself? Even if I figured out how to do everything I want to do and learn everything I want to learn, what exactly is the point of all that? I know the answer is a balance of these and other reasons, and balance is not something I’m great at. I tend to make things harder than they are, and I’m thinking that this “finding a balance” thing is one of them. Next month I turn 30. This is fine. I wouldn’t do my early 20’s over again if you paid me (well, maybe for the aforementioned billion dollar lottery) and am happy where I am. I just always thought I’d have it “figured out” by now and I’m still trying to figure out what exactly it is I’m trying to figure out.
None of this has a point, and I apologize for the lack of photos and profusion of rambling, but I thought, maybe, if I spit this out into the black hole a new perspective might be spit back to me. I promise to return to yarn and warm things next time!