Life isn't overwhelming. Expectations are.
I remember a song by Neil Diamond you can hear on You Tube called DONE TOO SOON where the lyrics start off with a list of world leaders who died and then he sings: "And each one there has one thing shared: They have sweated beneath the same sun, looked up in wonder at the same moon, and wept when it was all done, for bein' done too soon, for bein' done too soon, for bein' done." The video link above leads you to the song with photos of each person Diamond mentions. Back in the day, it impacted how I thought about living and loss.
Life can be mighty fragile. And I've found that the best I can do is to find my own integrity and sense of self and keep doing what I love to do for as long as I am here.
I question myself a lot and its often difficult to measure up to my own standards. In the song, with that list of people Neil Diamond wrote and sang about, every person was notable and memorable to the greater world whether you agreed with their philosophy or not. They made a difference and created an impact by living.
Yesterday, I finished the top for Lisa's quilt. Its the last one I plan to assemble this year and needs to be basted, quilted and bound. She told me that burgundy was her color. Stores here in town carry more traditional holiday colors like the truer red and green. I looked in the big cities' fabric stores, and finally found what I wanted.
Even as I build a quilt, sometimes I am very accepting of how it turns out and other times I disagree with what I see. Then I remember that all these 'earlier' quilts are practice pieces and that its ok to experiment and ok to have them turn out differently than planned. This one changed from my original plan as it evolved. Adding borders to it changed how the center is seen. It made me wonder how the layers of life we take on change how our center cores are perceived. I could see that what I believed as a child might still be within me, but my experiences have shifted perspective.
My expectations are that I WILL live long enough to learn this fabric art and be able to cycle through my family giving them quilts; practice or utility quilts first and an heirloom-quality quilt second. My expectation is that the next quilts I make for my Nieces and Nephews will be closer to the perfection I see in my mind.
I changed my expectations for 2014 and stopped putting pressure on myself to create more quilts than I could actually do. Originally, I thought I would have been done with at least six of them by March. Hah! I took at least 3 or 4 of them off my list to finish this year. Done too soon? Like many quilters, I know that to finish what I have started or want to start, I will need to live and flourish at least 20-30 more years.
Being reasonable, however, I keep the list on the sidebar of this blog and keep doing what I can through the days that are free for me to sweat beneath the sun. Then when the sky darkens and the moon rises, I look up in wonder of her light.