Chapter, the Fourth
In which the author explores the myriad of hobbies she will not be participating in this summer, after desire has fizzled and laziness takes over…
Remember that herb and potato garden I planned to cultivate? Get real. My loving husband bought me a seed starter kit and herb seeds for my birthday years ago and I have yet to start them. He knew I wanted an herb garden. I knew I wanted an herb garden. Alas, my fear of failure prevents me from doing something productive.
A few years ago, I entertained the idea of going back to school to get a second degree in biology, with the hope that this would lead me to new career in marine life studies. As per usual, the best laid plans…
Why do people never finish that? It’s from a Robert Burns poem, which is often mistakenly credited to Steinbeck in his novel Of Mice and Men. Is it because the following words are Scottish and people don’t want to mispronounce them? Because really, they just sound like they’re trailing off and don’t care enough to finish their statement that is often, ironically, meant to provoke thoughtfulness and motivation. Here’s what should be said, as Burns wrote it in “To a Mouse”: The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley. One could even quote an English translation: Go often askew. Either would be fine, but please, finish it (even if paraphrasing).
It isn’t often that one can take a Robert Burns tangent, but back to the blog (To the Blog!).
The more I thought about this plan to become a marine biologist, the more I feared failure. It had been a while since I had taken college classes. Did I remember anything? How well did I really do in biology? What kind of time committment would it take to get such a degree and a subsequent career? These are the kinds of things that make hobbies out of old dreams and mere thoughts out of old hobbies.
With the help of my parents (my husband Mike was studying for an exam, if I remember correctly), I dug a flower bed in the front of our house. I filled it with flowers that bloomed beautifully and doubled in size the rest of the season (it’s an old house with very mature soil). Then fall came, and winter, and spring again. The annuals that once graced our soil were dead and gone. The perennials were coming back, but they didn’t adequately fill the space alloted in the flower bed.
It’s been 3 years.
So did I start my seeds for my herb garden in the backyard? No. Did I go out and buy potato seeds and mark off a place for them by the patio? No. Next year? Let’s just keep telling ourselves that.
Beading. I loved beading. I would make all kinds of jewelry for my friends and family (whether they wanted it or liked it is another matter). There were a few pieces that I was proud of (now in my mom’s collection), but for some reason I stopped. I got as far as acquiring the necessary tools and materials for metal working, but it never came to fruition. Is it because I don’t think I’ll be any good at metal jewelry? What do you think?
Sometimes I leave work and think, “I’m going to go home and read more on that novel.” Or “I’m going to look up something in my ocean reference books.” What actually happens is I push open the door and my eyes land on the TV (why do we keep it in the front room?). Wouldn’t it be nice to just take a load off for a while and watch some tube? Maybe some snacks to tide me over until dinner? What starts out as a half hour of transition from work to home turns into hours of vegging and no reading.
I’d like someone else to plant me an herb garden. I’m so jealous when Giada pulls out a fresh bundle of basil she’s harvested from her abundant garden in Southern California. I want to cook with my own fresh herbs! Someone build me an herb garden–and throw in some potatoes!
Maybe I’m a dreamer–a designer–not a doer. I can dream it up, but I can’t dish it out. Just ask Mike how motivated I was to get off the couch and help with the kitchen rehab I was so excited about. Or my novel that’s gathering dust because I’m not working on it. I have amazing, entertaining plot ideas, but I want someone else to write it. What if I can’t get my ideas out there in a clear and engaging manner? What if I ruin the story? Fear is a de-motivator.
Reader, wherever you are, I wish you accomplished goals and realized dreams.