I’m on Pinterest. As a creative creature who is inspired by visual things, I love scrolling through all the images and “pinning” ideas and photos of things that I find beautiful, interesting or inspiring.
I pin all sorts of things. Photos of places I’d like to visit. Photos of hairstyles I wouldn’t mind experimenting with. Ideas of fun things to do with the kids… and a whole bunch more.
There are a few categories where I find myself continually making internal promises to myself whilst pinning things:
“I must try this!” I tell myself. “I must make these polenta-crusted-rosemary potatoes!”
Or… “I must make this yummy-looking coconut chicken!”
I tell myself that I MUST make this:
That I MUST do this:
That I MUST organise my kids’ bedroom like this:
But… do you think I have?
Do you think I’ve completed any of the clever crafts? Baked any of the rainbow cupcakes? Sewn any of the pretty dresses? Followed any of the make-up tutorials? Visited any of the beautiful places? Cooked any of the crock-pot dinners?
The answer is no.
Out of my 981 pins… I have tried… (hmmm… let’s see)… 5 of the Pinterest ideas (and all of them were from the “for the kids” category).
And I don’t think I’m alone.
I suspect that pinning on Pinterest is one of the things we do to while away the hours and amuse ourselves with the “What if’s?” and “If only’s” of life.
- “If only I were so organised! Look at her perfect pantry!”
- “If only my kitchen looked like that kitchen”.
- “If only I could afford to dress like that”.
- “If only I could visit that beautiful place”
- “If only I had her body”
I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with “if only’s”… to a degree.
The problem comes when we “if only” our entire lives away.
And I’m sure you’ve seen this happen as much as I have. I know many people who have been “If only’ing” for years… decades. But they’ve made no effort – and taken no steps towards changing their lives… or following their dreams… or doing the stuff that makes them come alive.
They while away their entire lives… saying to themselves “If only…”.
Which is kinda the same thing as saying: “Yeah… right. As if!”
Which, I think, is a terrible pity.
“What if?” – I think, is something significantly more positive than “If only…”.
“If only” is a yearning for something that the yearner believes is a pipe dream… a pointless fantasy… something that could never, possibly happen.
It’s like me saying: “If only I were a man”…
Not gonna happen.
“What if…” is has a slightly more positive spin. I think that “What if?” is Phase 1 of any dream.
Our Big Dream also started with a “What if?”…. it went something like this:
“What if we sold our house? What if we purged our stuff? What if we home-schooled the kids and travelled the world? What if we tossed out the Rule Book? What if we lived differently to the way we’ve been taught and told to live?”.
We thought about those what if’s a LOT. We discussed them… we dreamed about them… we started researching the possibility of making them happen… and we discussed them again… and when our minds were made up, we started planning… and doing… and changing our lives.
And that’s the thing… in order to achieve your dream… you have to take the “What if?” to the next level – and DO something about it.
And you know what? Pinterest was actually rather helpful in this regard! If you visit my Pinterest page, you’ll see that I have a board called “Food for Thought”. The things I pinned there were little snippets of motivation that nudged me towards embracing the “What if’s?” – and taking steps towards making our dreams a reality.
And speaking of Pinterest… I think I view the whole thing very differently now.
I haven’t pinned anything under “Food” or “Style” or “Home” or “Organising” for many months now. Those boards always made me feel a bit guilty. Like I just wasn’t measuring up in those departments. Like all the promises I was making to myself of how I would need to become a ‘better‘ mother… a ‘better‘ cook… a ‘better‘ organised person… a ‘more‘ stylish person… were just draining me.
I’m never going to make those Christmas ornaments. I’m never going to follow that make-up tutorial. Or buy the glitter nail-polish. And I’ll probably never make that raspberry pavlova… and I’ll probably never make upside-down biscuit cups for mini scoops of ice-cream.
The photos are fun to look at, sure – but I’m done with comparing myself… and feeling like some kind of a failure because I just don’t “DO” that kind of thing. It’s not authentically me. It’s not who I am. It’s not how I’m designed.
These days… I mostly pin things that inspire me and make me happy. I no longer pin things that make me feel pressured to make or do things that are just NOT important within the big picture of my life.
These days, you’ll see a lot of things pinned under “Art”, “Food for Thought”, “Graphic Design & Illustration”… “Fun”, “Inspiration” and “Stuff that makes me happy”.
Stuff like this, that makes me smile:
Or stuff (like this) that makes me giggle:
Or stuff (like this) that inspires me and nudges me and affirms my decisions to dream big and live authentically…
And… as a whole… I think I’m a much happier and more content pinner than what I was a year ago.
Wait – scratch that – I’m actually a happier and more content person – as a whole! 🙂