What is happiness to you?

I recently read a post by Coletterie called Can sewing make you a happier person?

It really got me thinking. Sewing, lately, has been something I have really had to squeeze in. It can be so hard! I have a very busy life and can find myself running all over the shop trying to fit everything in. However my two main interests, sewing and climbing, are bringing me alot of happiness so I am making the effort to keep it up.

Why do these things bring me such happiness though? I have narrowed it down to two things:

  • Accomplishment
  • Confidence

Climbing definitely gives me a sense of accomplishment. Nothing can beat reaching the top of a climb that has eluded me for weeks. I absolutely love blitzing a climb I have gotten good at, knowing that I once was unable to even make it half way. With regards to confidence, even though I am still at “easy” level, I know I am a good climber improving by the day, and even though I generally have one awesome climb a week and one terrible one, on my terrible days I have learned to focus on climbs I am already good at. Maintaining confidence in myself and my abilities is a wonderful feeling. Never give up! 🙂

Sewing is very much the same. I am a beginner. I have barely even attempted zippers, though I have had a crack at other difficult techniques. But every time I finish something I get a big sense of accomplishment and a huge boost of confidence. I can do this stuff! I also love discovering that I can innovate and be creative with sewing. If I encounter a problem, my first reaction is obviously to Google it or look in my sewing books. But often that is not helpful at all. I can ask for help from others online, and do so often, however I am finding that I actually prefer to work things out in my head, to nut out a creative solution by myself, and to then apply it and see what happens.

For example, the other day my boyfriend bought some lovely dress pants and asked me to hem them for him. As dress pants, I didn’t want to just straight stitch them, no matter how much noone would notice, so I decided it was time to learn to blind hem stitch. I bought the correct foot for the machine and got going. After two attempts in which I got the folding wrong (anyone who has blind hemmed before will understand) I finally got it right, however the fabric puckered in the final stitches! After stomping away from the machine with the feeling the problem was about the cut of the pants, Google informed me I was right, however the only solution I found involved cutting the side seam and restitching it and it all seemed rather complicated for such a late hour so I grumpily moved on to some Facebooking and other minor distractions. Whilst thinking about non-sewing things, I calmed down and a solution just came to me! I am going to try it out tonight. Basically I am thinking that I will blind hem the front and the back of each leg separately, rather than going over the side seams in a continuous line. I will just need to back stitch at the start and finish (straight stitch) of each side and get as close to the seam as possible. I was pleased to come up with this solution all by myself and am very sure it will work. If not, the Google solution will do the trick, but I am thinking my solution is easier.

This is what I love about sewing, not only the accomplished feeling of finishing a project but the little confidence boosters along the way as I get better at sewing and more creative with solutions.

The other thing in my life that I wish I had these feelings is my writing. My desire to write a novel. Whilst the biggest block here is time, I am thinking it is not the only block. Don’t get me wrong, between a 40 hour week in my day job, 2 climbing sessions, 1 night of SES training, a social life, a love life, and trying to squeeze sewing and relaxing in there somewhere, expecting to find time to write is a little ridiculous. Having said that, with my writing I will really be starting from scratch. I haven’t made time to write creatively for a very long time. There is not much for me to look back on and say “yes, I am confident in my writing ability” and there is a very fuzzy future that does not enable me to look forward and say “yes, the end product will do my idea justice and be worth publishing”. I accept that the novel may not be picked up by a publisher. The chances are actually very small. But what I do want is at least the feeling that after working so hard on it the novel may be good enough to justify self publishing it, or if not it will ready me to write and publish the next book, and I just do not yet have the confidence to feel that might be the case. There is obviously only one way to find out: I have to get in there and just write it. But from everything I have just said about sewing and climbing, it is quite clear that the motivation I have to stick it out with those two things stems from confidence and a sense of accomplishment. With those two factors being missing from my writing, I can see why it is always the last of my priorities!

I am hoping that by acknowledging this I can start to move forward and find ways to fit it in, just enough to regain confidence in my ability to write. The small paras I did write, quite a while ago now, look great in my eyes even with the need for improvement that I also see. Hopefully I can find a way to write just a few more paras, and then a few more again, until my confidence eventually makes writing as satisfying and as important to me as is sewing and climbing. I need my third piece of the puzzle!

SO…what makes you happy? What gives you a feeling of confidence and accomplishment to keep going back to do it again and again? And what unfulfilled interest of yours would you just love to feel the same way about?


4 thoughts on “What is happiness to you?

  1. I’ve never really thought about why I love sewing, but I think you’re right! And with the pants…i think your idea will work well. The proper way to do them is to run some stitching through the bottom your are folding up and gather it a little bit so that the width is the same…it’s a pain. I like your idea better!

  2. Weirdly, things I’ve started doing to make me happier are climbing and sewing. And I would love to write a novel… I spend a lot of time watching West Wing and I do love it but I don’t find it satisfying in the same way that I do other things – even though it is gripping and engaging tv, it’s passive. I read ‘The Happiness Project’ recently, which is about a woman who spends a year exploring different ideas about happiness. She says that what makes us happiest is things which are challenging. The thing that makes us second happiest is things which we do for other people. And then the thing that makes us third happiest is things which are passive. My challenge at the moment is to push myself to do the challenging things which will make me happy rather than just flop onto the sofa and watch more West Wing.

    • Wow we have so much in common! I find TV shows a time drain too…especially when my BF downloads everything and always has something new and exciting for me to watch. But lately I have just been saying no and doing my thing…or trying to only get hooked on 30min shows that I can watch while eating dinner. There are too many exciting things to do! I think TV is important though, to give us a treat when we are too tired to think all that much 🙂

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