Not the Introvert I Thought I Was

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It’s been busy. that’s the reason there haven’t been many blog entries lately. What I mean by that is that blogging hasn’t been a priority. I was on about that a while ago – my position on the issue still stands. It’s not that I haven’t had time, it just hasn’t been a priority.

Which is sad, because I like blogging. I have become more aware lately that I have to make time for my priorities. I want this to be one of them, this blogging thing. It soothes me to think of you folks reading it. Lately I’ve been feeling the effects of prolonged solitude. Julie is at school during the day, and my home office gets pretty lonely. It is hard to maintain perspective in this situation. I have been finding it easy to feel overwhelmed, and to try to solve my problems by putting my nose further in to the grindstone. The thing is, the grindstone looks pretty big when your nose is right at it. Taking a step back gives me the perspective I need to appreciate the relative actual significance of the grindstone.

Lately, I have been noticing that the prioritization of time is not enough to achieve better perspective. For me, it is also in finding the company of others. The change of scenery that comes with the awareness of other people around me enhances my perspective over life. I have noted that this doesn’t even have to involve talking to or acknowledging other people. Sitting in a cafe full of strangers is enough.

I have learned that I work a lot better with other people around me, and I work at my best when I am not really engaged with them. I have recently come to an arrangement with a subcontractor. He is a student, and only available for one afternoon a week, but during those afternoons, I feel I best at what I am doing, even though I put his nose to a grindstone, and we don’t really talk much other than to acknowledge the goodness of a song in the background music that is playing, or to ask a very occasional work related question.

About a week ago, I started beginning my day with a cup of coffee at a little cafe up the street. Life improved almost immediately. Go figure.

In the spring of 2001 I took a 7 week course where I built a guitar from rough pieces of wood in a small wood shop in a small town in Saskatchewan called Tugaske. There were 7 people in the class including the instructor. Together, we represented roughly 10% of Tugaske’s population. There were 7 noses to 7 grindstones, and while we were all friendly, there wasn’t a whole lot of conversation. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I bought wood to build another guitar while I was there and I swore I’d find a way to put it together upon my return to the coast.

Well, first I figured I couldn’t build my guitar because I didn’t have the tools. Slowly, I started acquiring them. Then, it was easy to say I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have the space, but soon after we married in 2002, Julie found us a house where I had access to a garage to use as a workspace. After living there for 3 years, with the garage full of tools and my wood ready to go, I had only put about 2 or 3 days into my project. We’ve since moved again, and the project sits in a box, looking much like it did when I bought the wood in Tugaske.

I figured the moral of that lesson was that you can rent space, have tools, and all the rest, but if you don’t make something a priority with your time, it just won’t happen. I think that’s still true, but I now also realize that a big part of the reason I was able to focus and build that first guitar was because of the other people in the room in Tugaske. For me, I don’t just need to make time the priority, I need to make the social aspect of an activity a priority as well.

This has been a big revelation for me. I am hoping I can use it to get more of what I want out of life. I decided I wanted to do some painting to give myself perspective last week, but the blank canvas remains sitting on my shelf. I think I now know I need to find time to paint, and also some other people to be in a room with my while I do so. Perhaps I’ll find a woodworking class where I can make another guitar with the know-how I already have, or maybe I’ll find some people who are interested in renting shared studio space to paint, or any of the other things I have been wanting to make time for in my life.

The moral of this story? Know thyself. I can’t believe I am as old as I am to be figuring this stuff out. If I knew this earlier, maybe I’d be done my guitar by now.

Better late than never.

Anyone reading this who knows someone in Victoria who wants company whilst painting? Hook me up!

2 thoughts on “Not the Introvert I Thought I Was

  1. I so relate to what you are saying Mike.  I love creating and working alonside the company of others after years alone in the studio.  I have been getting out more…joined a poetry group and am teaching a small expressive painting class of 5 so that I can set aside time in the week to paint….which brings me to that white piece of paper pictured so invitingly on this entry….paint it and post it!

    Shelley

  2. You need to come back to Tugaske & build a guitar here… with you rwood on a self train time slot( much cheaper.. )
    this is why i have students .. so I will build aguitar ,,, or I would always find something else to do ,, I have had a blank canvas for weeks… I have a recording machine I put away so the dust wouldn’t reck it before I turned it on ……

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