"Process oriented" or "project oriented"?
Quite a while ago now, I was reading a magazine article* about a boy who had a model railroad in his home. He loved building it and the construction of it seemed never ending.
People came to his house and made comments to him such as "When are you going to finish? Or "Won't you be glad when you finish and you can play with it?"
He mentioned in the article, writing as a much older person, that it dawned on him one day, that "No, I don't want to finish - I LIKE 'making' it. In fact, he was sure he liked making it far more than he would like playing with it after it was theoretically finished. Then he went to discuss the idea, that for him, it was the process he enjoyed - he enjoyed the building, the planning, the doing. He found joy in it. The end? The final finished train set up? He wasn't sure he cared if he ever got there.
After I finished the article, I realized that in my own life, my husband was a lot like that guy. He likes making things - and I would get frustrated because he wouldn't feel the need to necessarily finish up everything - to the end (for example, trim around doorways, final touches that show you are finished with a room in our house, for example). I would get frustrated over this attitude. I really wanted these things finished - even if not perfect, then at least a good effort. He also just likes to tinker - but doesn't always finish these types of repair jobs and such. This article really helped me with my attitude. Seriously. I realized that he is like that guy - and yes, he does finish some projects, but not quite like I had expected.
Then, years after I read that article,
I started quilting.
I've seen lots of posts on social media about unfinished objects and I know people have a lot of guilt over having UFOs even when they no longer bring joy or are interesting to them.
I've seen people write about making only one thing at a time and that they couldn't understand how anyone could do more than that as they can't stand to have more than one project going on at a time.
Others point out the money that is invested in the materials for the project and they can't justify having unfinished projects - they feel guilty if they do.
On the other hand, I think, like the boy in the first paragraph who loved all aspects of building his railroad, many quilters find themselves loving the process.
The end, or final result is less important to them than the process - the doing or 'making'.
However, just like the people who came into his house and asked him, "When will you finish? and "Won't you be glad to finally finish building that thing?" they are less concerned with finishing - and are not even sure if they care..
Someone who is focused on the final or end result is someone who may find the actual process less than exciting and cannot always understand the person who doesn't feel the internal pressure to FINISH.
So those of you who absolutely love the process - you find great joy in sewing - don't let it get you down, when you show your top on a social media site and they write, "Can't wait til you show us the finished quilt!"
They are showing us all that they are "project oriented".
Maybe they can't help themselves! OK, ok, I think that maybe they are trying to remind you in a subtle way that it's not really finished yet, and they will rejoice MORE when it's done. Ah..just ignore the comment and let the rest of us rejoice with you.
If, however, you are like a person who likes "tinkering" - without needing to actually finish things, don't beat yourself up - and please - drop the guilt from your life! It's not how you need to live with your hobby! It's how you are wired. Just ask yourself how many paintings the average painter starts and never finishes? It's less a "character problem" than a personality thing, I believe.
So what am I?
I don't know. I do love the process, but I do like to finish projects because I get 2x as much joy out of a finished product. So, I guess I'm more project oriented, but have a good dose of process orientation - at least when it comes to sewing - other things like cleaning - I'm definitely project oriented as I don't care for the process much at all.
So, now you know what I am thinking when I read about people who have a lot of UFOs. I'm thinking...."Wow...they really are process oriented". I am NOT thinking, "They really need to get discipline in their lives!" At least that's what I'm telling myself as I open my cabinet where I'm keeping my UFOs. :) Yep. That's my story!
And that's all for now. I trust you have a wonderful day!
*I have scoured the internet for it, and I can't find the story - I think it was in Country magazine by Reiman publications but I can't get to their archives without subscribing.
Click here to return to the blog page!