Musings on creativity, generosity, and being your best self..
Saturday, April 18, 2020
The Fine Art of Puttering Around
My Dad was a great putterer. My husband is pretty good at it too. Me? Not so much. But I'm working on developing this skill. Here is how Merriam Webster defines it: To spend time in a relaxed way doing small jobs and other things that are not very important.
There is an element of aimlessness in this activity. That's probably why I've never been very good at it as I don't really do "aimless". I'm a girl with a plan who likes to get things done. I'm a girl who likes to feel accomplished. I'm a girl who has spent way too much of my life striving to stay busy. Now there are lots of people who are really busy these days. Of course there are the health care workers who are crushed. There are the teachers who are learning how to teach students remotely. There are the parents who are working at home all the while trying to home school their children. These folks are really busy. But for many of us without the distractions of life and people and purpose, we are learning to putter around.
Here's what puttering looks like in my household. I have a wonderful office that I love. I look out the window at a beautiful Vermont landscape, complete with a gorgeous barn. I know. Lucky, right?
I have lots of pictures and books and projects nearby. I have a piano in the other room with stacks of music. I have a ukelele that I have sworn to learn how to play. I have a collection of percussion instruments from my days as a camp counselor and a music teacher.
I have a craft collection just waiting for me to jump into a project. Bead wind chimes anyone? Beaded handle salad servers? The supplies are there, I just need the will to actually do it. I have stacks of books and plays just waiting to be read. There are boxes of photos- a lifetime of photos of moments both precious and every day calling to be organized. The garden calls to me. The asparagus, strawberries, garlic, and raspberries are all doing their thing. I have big plans for a cutting garden this summer.
Shockingly, it feels that some days I do none of these things. The kitchen stays empty, the books unread, the photos in their storage box.
I need strategies to putter around? Lose the to-do list. Let go of the pressure and deadlines. Add music or not? Is puttering better when there is smooth jazz or show tunes in the background? Is puttering better with a buddy? I think not. It's probably fine to putter alongside someone else but the point it to move slowly doing small jobs that are not important. The buddy system inevitably introduces the "honey do list". Of course, the expectations from someone else about the things you should be doing aren't exactly in the spirit of puttering around.
This will be a work in progress for sure. For the expert putterers out there- what are your pro tips? Sharing them will be a great gift to those of us who are GOING INSANE.
But for now, here's the vision I am holding onto. One day soon It will be warm and sunny. We'll be singing around the piano, creating fabulous garden art, talking about the wonderful books we have read, eating delicious tomatoes from the garden, scheming about our next theatrical adventure. And we'll be doing it TOGETHER. Dear God, I cannot wait. Who's in?