Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Life is . . . an experiment

Life Experiments was an idea coined by Adam Bacon in his guest post on AONC (Moving to Paris). Bacon suggested that experimenting with and not just analyzing options helped him create a new career and a new way of seeing his life.

Bacon came up with his life experiments concept not as a tool for working through a transition; he used it to create a transition where one did not initially exist. If it sounds counter-intuitive to instigate the upheaval of transition voluntarily that is not the only unconventional idea he recommends; and I posted about his idea for moving backwards to move forward earlier.

Doing life experiments, as Bacon described them, however seemed really just out there at first. This is probably because I tend to be an analyzer and a conservative risk-taker. I take risks, but usually after I have figured out how to deal with every conceivable contingency.

At the time I did not see myself as a life experimenter. I didn’t see that I had the discretionary time and resources to divert to experimenting. Even Bacon indicated that he took a job that was enough income but not a drain on his personal resources so he could experiment off-the-clock. As everyone knows there aren’t a lot of spare jobs currently and those that are low-impact are even rarer.

But I am starting to see that my whole life has actually been a series of life experiments. I started writing as an experiment. I taught myself to crochet and quilt as an experiment. My family did not do much traveling for pleasure but I somehow talked myself into doing a semester abroad. I set out to see if I could create a healthier home environment than the one in which I grew up as an experiment. Even trying to figure out how to create a life as a healthy and happy divorced woman has been an experiment.

So maybe I am a life experimenter but it hadn’t occurred to me to see it in those terms. Really, experimenting describes exactly what I had to do throughout my life since I never got a practical life manual. (I know many refer to the Bible as an owner’s manual for living but that is different from what I am referring to here.)

In last week’s post It’s the same world, but it’s different, I talked about expanding my view of what could be included in the terms quilt and quilting. But I don’t want to just expand my view of quilting I really want to see what I can create. In that previous post I used the word explore, a nice safe non-committal word; but really I was talking about experimenting. So I have to find a way to give myself permission to experiment with the stash of fabrics, threads, and battings I have been collecting for almost two decades and see what comes out.

Have you experimented with a new area to see if you and it were a good fit? How did it go; and what did you discover along the way?


chelle said...

Right now I am focusing on getting into shape. It is so outside my norm to wake up at 5:30 to workout with a video, then in the evening walk or run on the treadmill. I want it though. I want it bad.

Deb said...

I remember those days Chelle. It will happen, really it will.