Sunday, March 16, 2014

just do one little thing.

Yesterday, the sun came out and I almost exploded.

Around 5 pm, I checked the weather. SUN, it said. GET OUTSIDE, it said. I looked out the window, my ghoulish eyes squinting from months of bleak winter skies and glaring computer screens.  Confirmed: the sun was there. And could that possibly mean... spring?

Because we long for it so desperately during the winter, Seattleites tend to have rather extreme methods of dealing with the first day of spring (or should I say, the first day that feels like spring). Some throw on short-shorts and a tank top and glide right out into the rays, pasty skin and all. Others go straight for the bathing suit and find the nearest unoccupied patch of lawn/grass/concrete to lie on. The truly brave, as I witnessed firsthand yesterday, will take the icy plunge into a nearby lake. More sensible folk head for the ice-cream shops. As the sun peeks out, previously sad and barren Molly Moons’ windows fill to the sill with smiling faces, beckoning onlookers to come and partake in their honey-lavender cones of joy.

Personally, the first day of spring tends to send me into a momentary spell of paralyzing panic. It’s almost as if I didn’t think it would ever actually come, so when it does, I don’t know what to do with myself. After all of these months of dreaming about such a day, about iced coffee at the beach, swimming with friends and splashing around with nieces and nephews, about sandals, summer dresses, daisy chains and reading at the park—what do I do? How do I make the most of it? How can I do all the things I want to do RIGHT NOW?

I often find I have a similar attitude when it comes to creating art. I have so many things I want to do, so many ideas and schemes and dreams. There are about 7 projects and new pieces simmering in my brain at any given moment. I want to keep up my blog, I want to paint and fill up my Etsy shop, I want to develop a personal style with my calligraphy. So, if I am given a window of free time or other opportunity to actually sit down and work on something, I often don’t know where to start. I look at where I want to be and where I am now, and the staggering discrepancy between the two leaves me incapacitated. I may have two free hours ahead of me, but suddenly, that sink full of dishes looks like a much more feasible feat. I’ll work on that painting another time, I think.

It’s times like that when I need to tell myself: Hey! Just pick something, one little thing, and do it. Sketch out that idea that’s been bouncing around in your head. Start writing a blog post, even if you can’t finish it today. Get out your calligraphy stuff and practice the letter S—just the letter S.  You may not be able to do everything, but you can, perhaps, do one thing.

Like yesterday, in the sun. Before my weird, panicky brain could get the best of me, I picked something. I changed into a sundress, grabbed my sketchbook, and headed for the water. Down at the lake, there are two lifeguard chairs that stand about 12 feet above the water. I climbed atop one of them, popped in my headphones, and sketched and drew and dreamed.

Because, here’s the thing about a sunny afternoon, or that stretch of free time you happen upon: it will probably only last a couple of hours. There won’t be time for entire summer’s worth of fun.  So pick one thing, one little thing, and do it.                            




  1. Insightful and well written, Anna! Very curious to see your sunny day lakeside sketch...

  2. Great advice. And great calligraphy :)