Let’s talk about bucket lists. I’m a huge fan. I like putting every single thing I want to do down on paper and systematically checking each one off. I like that the items can be big, like a vacation, or small, like tackling something new in the kitchen. It’s goal setting at it’s finest: simple, clear, and with a attainable ending.
Bucket lists can also put you in the “someday” rut. Sure, “someday” I’ll make that trip to Paris. “Someday” I’ll buy a new car, or own a home. “Someday” I’ll volunteer. It’s so easy for “someday” to become “never” because we (I) have this idea that our lives will start “someday.”
I’m the worst at this. I have this inner list, this “someday” list, in my head of things I’ve always wanted, and assumed I’d have “someday.” Things that I know would enrich my life now, and are attainable now, but I’m putting off because deep down I believe they’ll just happen to me. I’ll be the bystander as my life unfurls in a series of events whirling by–some will stick, some will keep on going.
A couple of weekends ago, K and I were talking about painting. “I would paint so much more if it weren’t such a pain to get everything out and then put everything away every single time I start a project. Someday I’ll have a dedicated painting space where everything will permanently live. Someday I’ll have a studio.” I remarked.
“We have the loft.” he said, between bites, without a second thought.
See, K doesn’t live in “someday.” I don’t think it’s because he’s more zen, or more in the moment; no, I think it’s just because he, seemingly without effort, has an acute realization that his life is happening–like, now. He’s not waiting for something to happen to him as a marker of his life status. He’s made it. His life is happening.
We do have the loft. What a novel idea. I had everything I needed–every single thing–to do something I’ve always wanted to do. What the heck am I waiting for?
So, last weekend, armed with inspiration, good music, and a lot of coffee, I went upstairs to tackle what was previously being used as part game room, part office supply storage. I went through all of the stuff that had accumulated, threw out three trash bags full of clutter, and cleared out one little corner for me.
I set up an easel that K had brought from Boston. I converted the desk that I used when I worked from home into a make-shift drafting table for watercolors and drawing. I repurposed some bins that were previously filled with used file folders and, like, all the paperclips in the entire world, into storage for my paints, canvases, and other odds and ends.
I used pencil holders and a mail organizer that I already had to organize all my brushes, markers, pencils, pens, and palette knives. The only thing I’ll have to go buy are a couple more canvases, and a tarp to put down under the easel.
The whole process took an afternoon. The thing that I’ve wanted “someday,” I got in about 4 hours.
This is a DIY, in that I literally did it myself. However, it’s more about sorting through the items on your mental bucket list.
Create two piles: one is for things that actually have to happen someday. You’re probably not going to go out and buy a house in a day, but you could start saving up now for someday.
The other category is things that you can do right now. Like finding a dedicated space for a hobby. Or learning something new. Or finally taking that salsa dancing class (looking at you, mama!). The things that require a little time but that would enrich your life so very much. Like K says, we have the loft. I’m sure you have your own loft too.
Find it, and then do it.
And if that thing is a painting studio, here’s what you’ll need to get it done.
- A table
- An easel
- A couple of bins for storage
- A couple of cups, or other storage containers for things like brushes, pens, markers, etc.
- A corners-worth of space
- Paints, paper, canvases, palettes, clay, pen and ink, whatever it is you want to work with.
Here’s what to do:
- Carve out an afternoon. If you’re like me, you’ll probably need a good 3 hours of organizing, cleaning, and sorting. No shame here–it’s like spring cleaning but with a purpose (you get a painting studio after).
- Set up your easel in a corner. Easels fit well in a corner. Set up the table next to the easel. Sort and arrange your utensils in a way that makes sense and will be useful to you around the table. Place your paints, canvases, and other odds and ends in the larger storage bins. Place those under the table if they’ll fit, or elsewhere if they won’t.
That’s it! Isn’t that simple? I can’t believe I was waiting around for that. It’s done! And now I can create whenever the mood hits me. It’s all right there, waiting.