It is not without irony that I finally wrap up my Unfinished project of 2015, some 21 days past the end of the year. I claim December and a very busy month of photography work in January : ) But somewhere in the crazy month of December I actually did finish something I'd been meaning to do:
For Christmas in 2014 Jody sent this super-fun (and funny to Americans) tea towel in our Christmas package. I couldn't possibly USE it because it would ruin it... but I didn't want it to be one of those things that just sat in the Christmas tubs without ever seeing the light of day. So this year when it came out of the tubs, I decided I would turn it into something we could hang up for the month. This was possibly the easiest project ever—I bought a canvas at Michael's, stretched the towel over the sides and staple-gunned it to the back. I need to adjust a staple or two to avoid distortion but it hung by our front door all month to remind us of traditions a world away (and has been sitting by the Tetris closet door since January 2 or so, waiting for me to take a quick picture for this post). Next year I will make a pavlova for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day because I have a really good recipe from one of our Air War College friends from last year; I pretty much ran out of time and energy to do it this year. : )
So that's it! A full year of finishing up things every month. I didn't get to a lot of the projects that inspired the whole thing in the first place, but I did do some of those, plus a bunch of others—and it was absolutely worthwhile to introduce the habit and think through what often prevents me from finishing things. If pressed to summarize this whole exercise in three things learned from my own experience or absorbed from my guests, it would be the following:
- It's OK to let some things go to make room for other priorities. Guilt is no friend of productivity.
- Sometimes it's necessary to force oneself to GET OVER IT (whatever IT is) to revisit an unfinished project, because it isn't as bad as you've made it out to be when you actually get started again.
- Relief is a powerful motivator. I felt relieved to finish so many times over the course of 2015, and remembering that feeling will serve me well.
Worth the time, worth the habit, worth the energy in every way—and definitely worth continuing, at least informally. I highly recommend revisiting my guest interviews if you need a good kick in the pants to finish your own projects in 2016!