Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Capriciousness vs. Tenacity - My Rambling Thoughts

I have a long and diverse history of hobbies, crafts and collections. It might be hard to name one that I haven't trifled with; but it would also be difficult to name one that I have actually mastered before abandoning it.

The first collection I remember having was marbles. When I was six, seven and eight years old I had a coffee tin full of them. I didn't play the "game" of marbles with them. Instead I spent my time sorting them, over and over - sometimes by size, sometimes by color, sometimes by type, sometimes by condition - and then admiring them. As a kid, in addition to marbles, I also collected rocks and minerals, autographs, postage stamps, coins, pen pals and post cards. Later in life I spent time, energy and even some money collecting miniatures, sand samples from around the world, small antique bottles (in which I keep the sand), and milk bottles.

And then there are the hobbies and crafts that I've fallen in-and-out-of-love with. When the kids were little I tried sewing; but that only lasted until the boys graduated into blue jeans and t-shirts. I also dabbled in piano lessons, calligraphy, candle-making, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, quilting, macrame, gardening (short-lived!), cake decorating (this one I pretty well mastered, before giving it up), dollhouse construction (which explains the "miniatures" collection), gingerbread house construction (about 4 Christmases running), scrapbooking, beading, American sign language, all things Japanese, writing and photography (I'm still "in" these last two - at least this morning!).

There's no doubt that there's a pattern in my life. I can't resist learning and doing new things, but I don't seem to have the tenacity to stay with them for life. (Oh, no! Maybe Tim's ADD tendencies came from me!)

What if I had chosen one of those hobbies, stayed with it for life, mastered it and become an "expert"? Someone might have written a book about me. I might have been interviewed on a TV talk show. I might have my own art gallery. There might be trophies on my mantle . . . Or, maybe, I'd have become a pretty boring person to be around. Having worked 13 years in the university system, I've known quite a few one-dimensional experts and, despite their mastery of the subject, they can be pretty boring, and sometimes unapproachable, unless you're also interested in their passion.

So maybe having this tendency toward capriciousness has not been such a bad thing. Maybe it has given me commonalities with more people. Maybe my personality has a little more sparkle and color because of all the things I've touched and sampled; and for which I've entertained a passion, whether or not it endured.

And it means I'm always looking to the future with anticipation, and asking, "What's next?"

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