If Life Was Like Wood Shop Class

Remember in high school when you had math class, and English class, and chemistry? Okay, now that I’ve brought up those painful memories, I’m going to bring up some more. Remember art class? Home Ec (which is now referred to as something more politically correct)? And finally, wood shop? Bring up anything in the way of fuzzy feelings?

I didn’t think so.

Wood shop was especially torturous for me. Creating things with my hands was just beyond my physical and mental faculties. I was all, how am I supposed to shape this amorphous block into a fine, handcrafted clock? And really, what high school student could? It wasn’t like anyone was sitting with their father or mother, or even legal guardian, on the weekends in the garage, carving a totem pole while they listened to the oldies on the radio. And even if some people were, could that really translate into an acute skill that would allow you to make a wood craft after six weeks of being in the class? Heck, we learned how to sand things for two weeks!

But the fact that I was unable to do many of the things I was asked to do was completely lost on my wood shop teacher. Sure, there were some young ladies in my class who simply were afraid of the great big scary machines, which meant that my teacher had to step in and do the work for them. Drill the holes and sand it down, while they watched.

And then, there were people like me who simply wanted the final product to look good, so I allowed my teacher to think I was afraid of the big scary machines, and he would do it for me. And whatever I (he) made, came out looking great.

Right now, I wish life was like wood shop class.

I wish there was someone to step in when things seem scary. I wish there was someone I could call on when I’m not quite sure how to proceed. And especially, I wish there was someone to take over to make things look perfect and good. (Instead of the crazy mess I sometimes leave when trying to figure out my life.)

But no matter how much I still have painful flashbacks about the class, life isn’t like wood shop. There’s no one to help you to get it right and even less people when you get it wrong.

And besides, life has never been about creating something perfect. You just have to trust yourself to create something beautiful and hope that you don’t cut your finger off in the process. And you gotta do it all by yourself. Because in the end, you’ll be prouder of the things you tried to do than the things you actually accomplished with someone else’s help.

Writing Dail(e)y

Do you know why I started this blog?

That’s a trick question, by the way. Because I’m not even really sure why I started it. I mean, I knew I wanted to write more. And since I had the misfortune to not have a name that rhymed with something like “monthly” or “annually,” I suddenly found myself writing “daily” or “dailey,” as I like to say. Now that I have been blogging quite regularly, I’ve amassed a lot of posts, and of course, I’m proud of them.

But I can’t help but realize how ephemeral it all is.

For example, the entire structure of this blog is that I write something daily. So, after 24 hours is up, that particular post goes on to live the rest of its sad life in an archive. No more interaction or friendly banter in the comments. Heck, even forget about what I wrote.

And don’t get me started on the idea of a blog itself. What happens in about 5 years when blogging is obsolete and goes the way of most technological formats? Will I have to update my blog on a hologram soon? Will I have to print my blogs out and put them in photo albums for my kids so that I can reminisce about the good old days when you actually had to fly to different places in planes rather than teleport there? Will I suddenly be claiming that I had to walk to school, which was up a hill, both ways?

Of course, these are all my thoughts when I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Which is about every night around 10 PM, when I’m scratching my head, trying to think of something to fill the page with and only coming up with goose egg.

And at the same time that I finally get some inspiration is when I realize how completely magical this blog can be. I’m interacting with complete strangers (and mostly my mom) where once a day we both see eye to eye about something. That’s what hitting the “like” button does. It sends a message to me that essentially says, Yes, Bailey. You’ve hit a nerve in the human condition, and I need to recognize that. And for me? There’s no better compliment for what I do.

In the end, this blog doesn’t need to represent my legacy. It simply needs to connect me with one person in one 24-hour period to be successful.

Because our lives are not years, months, weeks, or even days, added altogether. They are moments and memories subtracted out and strung along. And while this blog may not be around for me to flip through like an old photo album someday, it still helps me to remember my moments in vivid (and sometimes nauseating) detail right now. And so a day or an experience is etched in my mind purely through the act of writing about it. And those tiny, precious moments will be my legacy someday.

I can’t thank you all enough for being a part of it.

Watching Plants Grow

*Recycling an old post* Enjoy!

…is not as boring as you might think.

Now that the weather has hovered slightly higher than freezing for a few days, I’m going to call it: it’s springtime. The sunshine, the light breezes, the soft earth, the green grass; it is here to stay. Which is why we can all take off our mittens and gloves and start to flex our green thumb. What will it be this year? Pansies? Petunias? Portulaca? All of them, if need be!

This winter has been especially hard, so I am especially excited to plant something, but my mom and I always feel this way. My fondest memories are of planting tulip bulbs with her, naming every one so that they would have a better chance at growing. Then when we brought home our Stella, the night-blooming cereus, from my favorite professor, we felt that we had been given the crowning jewel of our garden.

So, why do I love flowers so much? Because they are a lesson in optimism.

Why? Well, have you ever watched a flower grow?

The progress it makes. The heights it reaches. The happiness it provides for others.

But the best part?

How it unyieldingly reaches toward the sun.

Because you can put a flower in a dark room with only the tiniest sliver, the most meager portion of sunlight. And somehow, some way, it has bent completely over backwards to make sure that it is in the path of those rays. Time after time, I have watched my mother’s plants stretch their new shoots toward the sun. So much so that she would have to turn them around so that they would even out, so that they did not become top-heavy from stretching too far to one side.

Now, I know that you are probably already like a flower in many ways. I’m sure you are beautiful. I’m sure you are self-sufficient. I’m sure you have roots. But do you go out of your way to live in the sunshine? Do you do everything you can to make sure that you have what you need to thrive? Do you try to lean into the light even when the darkness surrounds you?

If you don’t, plant a flower this springtime. Let it be your daily reminder. And if you need a serious push, try a cactus. Despite their prickly exterior, they need the most light of all and the least amount of care. (And if you don’t think that’s the best metaphor ever for people in general, then you can leaf.)