Successive Approximations

Staying Busy

Tonight was the toughest I've had this week.

I finished work, feeling drained. Steph and I walked around the neighborhood with the dog, I made dinner, we ate dinner. I had the whole evening.

I sat down to write another blog post like yesterday's, since it seemed to resonate and was really thrilling to write. It didn't work. I can't summon that on demand. I had good raw materials yesterday and bupkis today.

I puttered around for a while. I tried to read. I went upstairs to for something. I saw a small project to finish the master bathroom that we had set aside yesterday. It could easily sit for weeks unfinished, but I thought, "No, I can do that now."

It required using a new tool, which I had to unbox and assemble, along with the attendant bits and pieces. I had to measure exactly how much to cut. I had to set up the work piece so it wouldn't get scratched. I spent about half the time just preparing the job.

I made a few cuts, did the test fit. It was way off. Cut some more, test fit some more. Small, minor cuts. If I was in a hurry, I could have done the job in ten minutes.

The job didn't go exactly as planned. I had to work out a compromise that was good enough. If I had been in a hurry I would have cut too much material off and made a bigger mess.

In the end, Steph complimented the work. I got some experience with a new tool. I took one small rock out of the satchel of "projects to do" and piled it up with others that are done.

The feeling I had earlier of being stuck in the mud was gone. I had something meaningful to do, and it took away all the problems. I didn't have time to worry, I had things to do.

If I told you how long it took me to make two small cuts, each less than an inch square, it might seem unreasonable. But the result isn't what mattered. I found a flow state, right at the edge of my abilities.

Nothing done well is a waste.

Ben Berry

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