I was watching a children’s show with my daughter the other day called “Little Bill”. It’s a cartoon created by Bill Cosby about an inquisitive little 5-year-old boy.
In the episode we were watching, it was a rainy day and Little Bill was restless. He wanted someone to play with him but everyone was doing something else. His Mom was cleaning her camera, his Dad was listening to his jazz records and his great-grandmother was knitting. When Little Bill questioned his great-grandmother about what she was doing she told him that knitting was her “thing”. She said, “When you find your thing, you’ll feel like you’ve discovered your very own treasure.” Through the course of the show, Little Bill discovers that he loves to make up stories and has therefore found his “thing”.
For some reason, the message of this little show has stuck with me. It’s a whimsical children’s show but I believe that the message is pretty profound for children and adults alike. I believe that finding your “thing” is such an important part of a happy life. That thing that makes you feel good, that makes you feel content and well and productive. It’s that thing you do with every free minute you have. I think we all have some form of a “thing” even if we don’t totally realize it.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine came over for dinner with her husband and her kids. About halfway through the night, my friend’s husband asked, “So D, how’s the art going?” I was just about to give him the standard small talk answer, something like “Oh it’s great” when instead I suddenly said “It’s been terrible lately. I haven’t had any time to paint and that makes me grumpy and irritable”.
I immediately felt as though I had given him more information than he had bargained for. But to my surprise, he paused for a moment, his expression changed and he said “I know exactly what you mean. I feel the same way when I don’t have time to golf.”
I realized in that moment that making time for the thing you love is important to all of us. It’s not just artists who are passionate about what they love to do, everyone has that inner drive to feed their soul in whatever way feels natural. My husband Greg loves to run. He runs every day. He will run with weights on, he’ll run in the rain, he’ll run in 90% humidity, he’ll run on vacation. It’s something that I know he needs to do. It’s definitely his thing.
It might feel selfish to go off alone and do your “thing’, but it’s actually a wonderful way to care for yourself. And caring for yourself is the most important thing you can do before you’re able to care for anyone else. I’ve learned the hard way that giving myself time to pursue my passion makes me a happier, calmer and more cheerful person. And a better mother.
So, what’s your thing? How do you feel when you don’t make time for it? I’d love you to share in the comments.