I really wish I hadn’t lost the first four+ years of my blogging. When I started this (as a running blog in 2002?)), I didn’t fully understand how I was recording a history of thoughts and feelings. But now I have at least ten years (not counting photos which somehow didn’t transfer in the early days.)
What do I know? That nothing stays the same. I have tried to remove the words “always” and “never” from my vocabulary. At 65, I’ve learned what I like about myself. And I’ve also come to terms with what I don’t. I recognize some early life events that made me who I am, and these days I forgive myself for those life mistakes that came as a result of those events.
I’m so glad I found a passion in teaching, writing, and printing. Perhaps I’ve left a small legacy in those, something that my grandchildren will enjoy learning about. These are, after all, the moments that make up a life.
I went walking with a friend today, telling her about the print shop I happened to stop into yesterday. They do all commercial work on offset presses these days–
But I asked if they had any old letterpress equipment. (I’m always on the lookout for a new press.) They had a huge Kluge, way too big for me. But they also had type. Cabinets and cases of type.
My friend asked if seeing it made my heart beat a little faster. “Yes,” I laughed.
“Then you know it’s a passion, don’t you?” she said.
I can’t stop thinking about it. And I’m wondering…well, let’s just say I have a few ideas to run by them.
One of the benefits of getting older is realizing that one has less time ahead than behind. I am beginning to come to terms with that.
The other realization is we can’t wait to “be picked.” Actually I learned this almost 12 years ago, when I first began finding and then creating community online. Nearly every opportunity I’ve had– professionally and personally– has been because I reached out and said “why not?”
Whether it was starting my running blog in 2004 and finding myself in a solid community of supportive runners, or reaching out to an online teaching community and spending years learning and growing together, these moments when I say “pick me” usually result in a fantastic experience. Most recently I made a connection with Mary Anne Radmacher, and we are going to partner on a small project. As Mary Anne says, “everything is possible.”
Not every opportunity comes to fruition. But that’s ok, too. Because if we never try, we may wait forever.
I’ve not always been the first to put my hand up. As an introvert, my tendency is to hold back and hope someone finds my work. But over the years, I’ve been able to put my discomfort with being discovered aside. Rejection isn’t easy, for sure. Nor is failure. But I know if I want to move in a certain direction, the only one who can get me there– is me.
It’s a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even a blogger saying, “I pick you.” Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one is going to select you–that Prince Charming has chosen another house–then you can actually get to work. ~Seth Godin
I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.
I am not sure I always did this. But at some point in my life, I wanted to figure things out. Printer broken? Take it apart. Need a room networked? Run the cables.
So I am trying to do this with my printing as well. But, wow, does it take time. There are so many variables that can go wrong- ink, lock up, type, pressure, humidity in the air. Each time I get ready to print, I check the packing, the placement of the base or the type, and even the different paper styles I use.
People wonder why I even bother to do this. “You can print whatever you want digitally now,” they say. “This looks like too much work.”
Yes, but it’s fun work. It’s the figuring it out that I love. And when I get a print that is nearly perfect (because nothing in letterpress is perfect), I smile with satisfaction.
From Brain Pickings…
Seth Godin and Debbie Millman
Design, at its core, thrives when a human being cares enough to do work that touches another — it doesn’t thrive when it gets more “efficient.”