I am going to be totally honest here. I used to be that person who needed to be ‘set up’ before I started doing something. A bit of a perfectionist. A bit of a stress head. What do I mean? Well, ever felt that need to have the right tools or know exactly what you were doing before you got started? Yeah, that! Which is hard to keep up with when you have quite wide interests and can be easily distracted by bright, shiny objects like I can.
Let me tell you a story to help paint a picture. In my first apartment I wanted to bake a cake and needed a cake mixer. It was in my 20’s and not quite set up yet (I had just bought an apartment after all) so didn’t have everything at my fingertips. So, I ‘needed’ a cake mixer. But it had to be a good one, because I was going to do this right. And it had to be that weekend as I just had to make a cake for something particular.
So, I drove around the shops trying to find one that was on sale and looked how I thought a good mixer should look. It took ages. I got so confused about what I needed or wanted or how much I needed to spend. It was stressful. And in the end it was expensive. There I was in the middle of a department store, standing around close to closing time, heart beating in my chest, feeling this crazy pressure to make the perfect decision without all the information I really needed to do that. And when all is said and done, I created that all by myself.
In reality I could have borrowed one or used the hand beater I already had (although that would have taken ages. Probably not as long as the mixer hunt took though) or just baked something else.
Does any of this sound familiar? While I still have that mixer and it does a lovely job, I did make things hard for myself by fighting against where I was and trying to start from somewhere different.
Although what you see on your social media feed may suggest that everyone else is creating perfect things all the time, with the best tools, that probably isn’t true. And definitely doesn’t mean you have to!
So now I try to live by this novel idea. Just start where you are.
People over for dinner and no big table? Pile around the coffee table on cushions and have an awesome inside picnic. Or theme it based on one of the many cultures that eat on the floor anyway. Want a beautiful table display? Wander around your home picking up some of your favourite things and group them together. Rummage in the back of the cupboard for those things you forgot you had. Grab some greenery from your garden to add to it. No greenery? Find an artful stick and go rustic. Want to create a new culinary master piece? See what’s in your fridge and pantry and go from there.
This way you will truly discover what you really need (or want) to acquire and how much it means to you. Cheap second hand kind of meaning? Or save up your coffee money for 6 months to buy the best or cult version kind of meaning? As an added benefit, that anticipation of something awesome and wonderful is one of the key tricks to attaining happiness. Often the anticipation is more enjoyable than the actual having. So enjoy it.
Bottom line is this, if you think you need to be, do or have something extra to start you won’t start. Maybe not today. Maybe not ever. And life is too short for that. And we as a community consume too much to be buying cake mixers on a whim for that one cake.
Start where you are. Start with what you have. And have fun with it!
Give yourself time. Don’t rush it or treat it like work. Assume it will take twice the amount of time you think it will and embrace that. If/ when it take less time it’s a win. If it doesn’t, you saved yourself some stress.
So, think of something that you are really super keen to do, but haven’t yet because you don’t think you have or know everything that you believe you need yet. Write it down. Now, its time to get creative and list all of the different ways around that challenge.
- Do you really need that thing?
- Can you borrow it?
- Could you use something else?
- Is there a different way to do it that doesn’t require what you don’t have?
Brainstorm a list of 10 alternatives, no matter how crazy they might seem. Be wild and unrealistic! Now, go back through your list and think about which ones might have some spark of light that you can work from. Without relying on winning the lotto or that thing you need showing up on your doorstep, what could you actually do with what you have?
Now go do it, enjoy it, and know that you have saved yourself so much stress, money, time or all of these in the process. Not only that, but there you are, starting. doing. creating. enjoying.
Tell me all about your ‘starting where you are’ adventures (or mis-adventures!) below!
What happened to my mixer? Well, I do love it. And have used it to make all kinds of yummy things, including these easter themed baked delights.