For months now I’ve been meaning to open an Etsy shop but something is holding me back. I keep almost getting there: I’ve registered an account, I’ve designed a shop banner, I’ve taken pictures of things I want to sell. And yet, I can’t quite bring myself to put all of it together. Every time I think about it my heart sinks.
Basically it’s become something I feel like I ought to do rather than something I want to do.
We have enough of this kind of thing at work without putting ourselves under obligations in our spare time.
I started to think about the reasons I feel I ought to do this:
1. I have lot’s of jewellery that I’ve made but don’t wear.
2. As a minimalist, I don’t want to store things that I never use.
3. I don’t feel I can give it to friends and family because they either have very different taste/styles or I’ve already subjected them to a lot of this tat already.
And then I thought: is there another way?
Well yes. Taking everything apart so it can be made into something different.
This suddenly sounded exciting, liberating, in a way that selling stuff never has to me. I started to look forward to getting home and making a start on it. The only way to live is to follow your excitement, so I knew that I was on to a good thing.
Why did it take me so long to figure out that this is what I should be doing? I get enjoyment from the creative process, from making things. Perhaps then the objective isn’t the end result but the process itself? I had unquestionably believed that the only logical thing to do with things I’ve made was to sell them, because they are only valuable if they make me money. That value can only be measured in financial terms. But if the value is in the process and not the end product, then taking things apart to make different things is the logical thing to do. That way you get the most value because you can be creative with the same things again and again.
This seems like an incredibly childish notion, because only as children do we build things (as play) and then put them away and build things again. But who says we can’t continue to play as an adult?
Some people might ask ‘what’s the point?’ or ‘Isn’t this a waste of time?’ Fun is the point. This is what I do for fun, and what greater point is there than enjoyment. And no, I love creating and time spend doing what I love is not wasted time.
This started me questioning a lot of assumptions about what activities we see as valuable. I think all too often we place things that make us money above things that bring us joy: spending time with loved ones, playing games outside, curling up with a good book.
How can you better prioritise things that bring joy into your life?