This week’s weekword is ‘Begin’. It was chosen by S.E. Minegar – visit for links to the other weekworders this week.
Well, beginning. Where to begin? I was thinking about beginning and starting and newness, and wondering what I would choose to post about. And the very abundance of choice became the focus of my thoughts.
My life is full of things that are new, that are at the start. We have young chickens that we’ve raised from eggs. My two children are under three, and amuse, amaze and delight me with the way they look at the world, and how they constantly help me see things in new ways. I love growing things and seeing the new leaves and blossoms. So far, so uplifting.
Beginnings are exciting. Starting things can be exhilarating, and there is a real buzz in beginning them. The act of beginning conjures a state of optimism, of determination. I know what I’m setting out to do, and that’s great! In my mind’s eye, the thing is finished, the satisfaction is real. So I begin. I cast on, I cut out, I start typing. I empty the cupboard, I start the filing, I start the book that’s been sitting on my shelf. And sooner or later I’m past the beginning stage and then… things change. Not always. Sometimes there’s a momentum to the project that keeps me going. Sometimes there’s an extrinsic motivation, like a deadline. Or Christmas. But other times, I lose interest. Or real life intervenes and by the time I’ve chased it away, I can’t remember who the character in the book is, or I’ve cleared away the sewing machine and it feels like such a hassle to set it up again, or the half finished knitting just feels like a chore.
So sometimes I feel that everywhere I look, I find things that I have started that remain unfinished – piles of filing, cardigans and shawls sitting sadly on their needles, quilting projects, Booker prize winners… And that isn’t so optimistic. The journey of a thousand miles may well start with a single step, but there are lots of steps to go once the journey is begun. Some journeys are pleasant. But others risk becoming dead ends if we don’t just keep plodding on.
This isn’t to say that we can’t stop sometimes. Sometimes a detour or a picnic by the side of the road can make the getting from A to B more pleasant. But sooner or later, if the journey is to end, we need to pick ourselves up and start moving again. Or decide that maybe, that particular finishing point isn’t somewhere we want to go any more.
So I think that I want to move from Beginnings to Endings. Maybe I need to break my addiction to the exhilaration of starting, and immerse myself in the satisfaction of finishing. And maybe, just sometimes, admit that this or that particular thing will never be finished, and all I’m hanging onto is a stick to beat myself with – and get rid of it.