I shake my head in frustration at myself regularly.

I did it this afternoon as I sat in front of the computer with my violin in my hands, listening to a song playing on the computer and trying, with my violin, to make another song fit. It wasn't working, no matter how much I twisted it the violin part I was playing, so I promptly began contemplating how I could twist the song on the computer to fit the violin song.

And then I started to shake my head at myself. I get so easily distracted. I'd have been the perfect Jane Austin heroine. I mean, think about it. I can play the violin passably. I play the piano well enough to impress people at church. I make wonderful quilts that I give away regularly. I can color-by-number with the best of them. I have two unfinished manuscripts, one on my desk, one on my computer. I certainly have improved my mind by extensive reading. And I sat on the computer this afternoon trying to arrange two songs in to one.

But I can't do any of these things with anywhere close to what I term excellence. And it frustrates me.

It frustrates me because I don't concentrate on anything long enough to be really good at it. I love all of these things. I love them to distraction. I think that's the problem.

My problem is that I seem to be lacking passion. . .or self-discipline. Maybe both. The people who are excellent at what they do have to do it. I do not have to do anything. I regret that. A lot. Somewhere in my soul I am a very ambitious person. I want to be world famous in a respected you're-really-good-at-what-you-do-one-of-the-best sort of way. But I do not have the passion to make myself be that way.

It could be a bit pathetic really. Because as I sit here wondering just why I'm this way I realize that I want recognition. Heaven knows I don't get that nearly as much as I want now. I want people to look at me and like me, nay, love me. And so I get easily distracted by whatever I think will impress people most. Skirts for the neighbor girls. Quilts for my siblings. Songs in church that really convey my love of music and the spirit.

Hence the jam. The one thing that I can honestly, without reservation, say I am good at. I can make jam. Good jam. Melt-in-your-mouth-almost-like-candy jam. I give it away. And I get all excited inside every time someone tells me how good it is.

Who knew my passion was jam?

Either that or my passion lies in the hatred of that store-bought stuff.

I wish I was that way about all the other stuff, the music, the art, the sewing, the writing.

But can one person really be an expert at all of those things together?

And more importantly, can one person be an expert at all of those things together and still be a mom? And have a clean house? I've made grand plans only to have them fall through quickly by parenting.

Quite frankly, I'm not sure where I'm going with this post. Just making sure that my life is not un-examined, I guess. Novembrance's post about "what you will give up" has me wondering where I should be giving more. . .
7 Responses
  1. Kimberly Says:

    I identify with this hugely but something that's beginning to settle into my mind is that it's okay to be a dabbler if that's what makes you happy. A little of this, a little of that...it requires a humility I don't have yet, but I'm thinking I should work on that humility thing because unlike you I haven't mastered anything (and my oh my is your jam ever exquisite!).

    It's okay to want what we want, and yearn for what we yearn for, but to think there is something wrong with us because we don't have the passion or drive of some others? I think that's just human nature coming to call.

    I guess my thought is that it's okay not to master any one skill, so long as we master being happy.

  2. Melanie J Says:

    I'm kind of the opposite. I'm only good at a couple of things and I don't really seek out and develop new talents because I don't have the patience to work on things that I don't have a natural kernel of talent for. It makes me miss out on new experiences that way.

  3. L.T. Elliot Says:

    I'll tell you what you're good at, Eowyn. You're great at writing (I love your blog). You're great at uplifting others (I see your comments all over the blogosphere) and you absolutely excel at friendship. The kind words you give to Kim, to Charrette, and even to myself--you are the very best at being a wonderful friend. I think it's wonderful that you want to be proficient at many things--just be as patient and understanding with yourself as I see you are with your friends. You're worth that same consideration. And just know that I know you'll do great things. (And that I'm jealous over Kim having some of that jam!)

  4. Kazzy Says:

    I always call myself an 85%er. I do a lot of things pretty well, but don't seem to do even one thing perfectly. I guess I am a solid B. Could be worse, right?

  5. I remember a bloggist writing about this very thing about six months ago (but I don't remember who it was). I said something that she really appreciated but, nuts!, I don't remember what it was! I think your passion is learning. You are absolutely passionate about discovering, learning, adding this and that to your list of things you can do or speak knowledgably about. (I think I spelled the k word wrong.) This is a very wonderful gift and makes you a very well rounded person. I am envious that you can play the violin--I have wanted to do so for years and when I finally started private lessons at age 37, I discovered that I have fibromyalgia and I just can't use my muscles that way without dying of pain. sigh . . But, you know, what are the chances that you would be the best at violin even if you were passionate about it? Even those who are published find that they are one of MANY adequately talented published people--very few are true stars (as I have learned to my sorrow) This is true of every talent out there. Yet, those who are at the top of their game with regards to their passion have sacrificed tons and tons to get there--families, spouses, a life . . .Meanwhile, there is you who are meant to create your own world one day with your beloved Farimir--and you will be so prepared! Love you!

  6. Eowyn, you have exactly echoed my own sentiments--and I made currant jelly just yesterday!

  7. I am a master dabbler. I can relate to this post very well.

    And I echo the earlier comments on this post. You are definitely amazing at what you do best - writing and friendship and so many more things!