Thursday, 11 July 2013

Variety is the Spice of Life

I knew it had been a while since my last blog post, I just hadn’t realised how long. But that kind of fits in well with my topic this time – how I’m dealing with the fact that I have so many things to do and not enough time!

One of the things I was really looking forward to in retirement was having the time to spend doing all the things I wanted to do but couldn’t because I didn’t have enough time. I was spending all that time going to work. I had so many ideas, things I wanted to try, things I wanted to get better at. It was exciting to think I could do them – at last!

One interest - doing cross-stitch
Another interest - making cards

But, and of course there is a but, it hasn’t worked out that way. Yes, I have way more time to do all those things, but I still don’t have enough time. Maybe I have too many ideas, too many things I want to try, too many things I want to get better at. Maybe I should cut things from the list. But which should I cut?
laying out for the coffee table I
started over a year ago

Maybe I should focus on just a few things, and give them more time. Then I could do them “properly”. I’ve heard the phrase that it takes “10,000 hours of practice to perfect a skill”, and the thought of that is pretty scary. 10,000 hours is an awful lot of practice. That’s a full time job for more than 6 years! And that’s just for one thing.  I gave up work so I could spend time on more things, not less.
Getting back to my point, though, is it a problem that I have so many things I want to do? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming, and it’s easier to do none of them than to decide which one to do. Sometimes I think that not spending lots of time on one thing, and flitting between many projects, is a bad thing.

I’ve envied people who have a passion in life. I don’t have one passion. I have many interests! As a result, I won’t ever be able to spend enough time on any of them to be great at them. Instead, I spend as much time on them as makes me happy. I will try not to be too critical of my efforts, though. I will try to remember that I don’t need to be perfect at the skills – good enough will do.
working on another interest - the vegie patch
(yes, it was cold)
In my work life, I did OK by knowing a little about a lot of things. And I enjoyed the kind of work I did because I got to talk to lots of different people, and find out how many different people did their jobs. That was hugely interesting to me. And people kept paying me to do it! So maybe being easily bored, and liking variety, aren’t faults – that’s just the way I am.

So mostly, no, I don’t think having so many things that interest me is a problem. I just can’t do them all now. I will have to live to about 150 to get them all done, though. At least I know now that the answer to the question people asked me when I retired – “Won’t you get bored?” – is No.
another interest - making mosaics
yet another interest - making bags
Actually, thinking about it, that phrase about “10,000 hours” may well be one that, through repetition, has gone from a catchy phrase someone thought up, to something people think is true. Don’t believe everything you hear!


  1. Just found your blog via Rhondas and laughed reading your comments about variety being the spice of life. I retired over twenty years ago and still hav,nt enough time to fit in all the things I would like to do. I garden,have chickens,cats, cook, bake, sew, knit, crochet and have two grand children stay with me all school holidays and every week end. At present am taking a class at my local library on how to manage my new E book.Am I living a frantic life.NO, the exact opposite, its enjoyable, peaceful and full of coffee breaks. Love life and keep trying new things. Joy to you. from highland gran. Scotland.

    1. It's good to hear I'm not the only one with so many things on the go. And I hadn't mentioned the exercise class I do, or the tennis one day a week, or the plan to do some volunteering. And of course the coffee breaks!

      And I love it!


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