An amazing thing happened while I was in Minnesota for Christmas: I realized that I liked doing puzzles. Like, really liked doing them. As in, I’ve been back home for two days and already have a puzzle set up on a card table.
This is nothing short of miraculous, because in the past, I’ve never enjoyed doing puzzles. I would try to put a few pieces together if someone else had one out, but I didn’t really get the appeal. There was one Christmas when I became a little addicted to a puzzle of the New York City skyline that my family completed, but the compulsion didn’t translate to love and it didn’t last.
But now, for whatever reason, it has. And it’s just been one more reminder for me lately to be open to new experiences and activities, or to re-trying old ones, because you never know what you may find yourself enjoying now that you didn’t in the past. I have a friend who encourages her grandchildren to keep trying foods they dislike because their tastes may have changed, and I’m realizing that your tastes can change in all areas of life, not just food.
I’ve discovered in this season of life that I now enjoy and am interested in more hands-on and crafty activities, like puzzles, sewing, or anything that involves more than just reading words. In the past, I avoided them like the plague. I could be (and, several times, was) brought to tears while trying to do crafts or art projects, and I hated doing lab experiments in science class. I just didn’t think I was a hands-on learner at all. I probably wasn’t helped by my perfectionistic nature and the fact that I’ve always had tons of freakishly crafty friends whom I definitely didn’t compare myself to or anything. So I stuck with what I liked and what I was good at: school, reading, writing, music. When I got married I received dozens of crafty gifts from friends, and I was even more grateful for them because I thought I would never make anything like them myself.
But now, I’m doing puzzles. I recently bought an embroidery kit and fabric so I can make stockings and wall hangings for next Christmas. I made curtains with my mom. It’s like I don’t even know myself anymore. Am I terrifically gifted at any of these things? Not particularly, but I’m enjoying them and am trying to not let fear of “failure” get in the way. It’s not all smooth sailing; I went months between using my sewing machine and I’m still intimidated by the thought of using it again. I get overwhelmed easily when I’m trying to start something. I often feel like a poser. But I’m learning that the key is to keep trying. I just have to keep telling myself that I don’t have to be an expert at it, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. And I’ll get better the more I do it. The main thing is that I enjoy it.
So if you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, maybe it should just be to try it, whatever “it” is. Don’t put yourself in a box. If you like it, great! If not, maybe you will next year. Who knows how you’ll grow and change. But you’ll never know unless you try. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put just one more piece in my puzzle.