THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER PACKING
It was Emma’s birthday and we were going to Big Splash Water Park, out to dinner, and cake with her grandparents. It was a big, big day. And we were packing. Em had to pack for the water park and dinner and then for pirate bonding on the river for the weekend and then for camp. She had lists for each bag and what needed to go in it. I think she may have gotten that from me and perhaps the importance of always having first aid kit. But I was keeping my mouth shut on those two accounts. It could just have been a coincidence.
I only had to pack for Big Splash and dinner and I was stressed. I had to pack my swimming suit and accoutrements and clothes for the restaurant afterwards. I stood arms akimbo in the living room, deep in thought. I looked over at Layce who was calmly reading.
“I’m going to have to pack a toiletry bag because I’ll be all sticky from the sunscreen and chlorine which will rinse off but still be there if I don’t thoroughly soap up, which means I’m going to need soap, shampoo, lotion and all the rest. I should probably pack an extra towel because my pool towel will smell like chlorine and be dampish.”
“I’m going to take a shower when I get home. It simplifies things,” Layce said not looking up from her book.
I considered this approach. It would simply things but that’s just not my style. Em was packing her suit, towel, sunscreen, and various other items. “Don’t forget your thongs,” I told her. (I admit that under duress, I had a retro-moment back to the days when flip flops were called thongs before skimpy underpants appropriated the word.)
“You mean flip flops,” Em said.
“Okay, but you have to remind me to put them back into my Tortuga bag, (that’s what the pirate thing is called) and then move them to my camp bag,” Em said.
“Will you two please go do your pack thing and leave me alone. I’ve read the same page five times now.”
“She just doesn’t understand the importance of proper packing,” I told Em. We scattered each to our own packing issues.
Em called upstairs. “I need that small black bag for my camp toiletries.”
“I’ll be right down with it.”
There was a heavy sigh from the living room, which we both ignored. Such is the nature of those who pack ten minutes before a trip. I refrained from mentioning that she forgot her belt last time we went out of town. I figured it was best.
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DOING THINGS BADLY
I was walking out of my Continuing Ed watercolor class with one of my classmates. “How are you liking the class?” I asked. I was pretty stoked about it. I have this bucket list of things I wanted to do when I had more spare time. The time had come—learning to paint was on it.
“I’m so bad at it,” she said discouragingly. “I thought it would be fun but it’s a lot harder than it looks.”
“No worries, I do a lot of things badly but that doesn’t stop me,” I told her. I refrained from saying that very few things stop me if I’d decided upon doing them. Not all the choices have been good ones, but I have reached my fifth decade so that’s saying something.
I knew in kindergarten being a great artist was not in the cards for me. It may have been my uniquely ugly, crayon creations that tipped me off. They were perfect eyesores. They didn’t even warrant a place on the fridge, but I wished I’d archived them for kicks and giggle later.
My classmate sighed heavily, walked to her car and I never saw her again. I finished the course and thoroughly enjoyed it. My professor would often shake his head, bite his lip, and make a few suggestions. I’m pretty sure he pitied me, but I was enthusiastic and I made it to the end—six out of fifteen of us did. I felt sorry for him then. He’d given up his time to teach others about his passion and the badness factor had kept the rest of the students away.
The point here—yes, there is one— is that I’m all about the means, the journey, the interesting stuff I learn along the way when I take up a new hobby. So far, I sew badly, I play the guitar super-badly, and I paint badly. I also park badly, but that’s a whole other blog. It seems such a shame that people insist that they have to do whatever they do first rate, top of the class, must be the best at it, or the thing isn’t worth doing.
Can’t we just do it without the judgment of “bestness?” It’s being the best, doing the thing well or not at all, that cripples us. I’m not saying it hasn’t taken me years to get to this philosophical oneness with my badness, but once I did, I’ve had a lot of fun trying out new things and not worrying whether it’s good or bad. It just is. Isn’t that what having fun is all about?
So embrace your inner badness (the kind that goes with hobbies) and go out and have fun. If you’ve already reached this place—major kudos to you. I won’t subject you to my watercolors, that would be cruel but I’ve archived them this time—you know, for posterity.
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