Forward Progress - A Hands-On Project
Planning for the future is usually wasted energy if you're still struggling with what direction to go. Whether that's about your career or what type of bagel to order with your breakfast sandwich (go with an everything bagel). Instead of thinking broad, think small steps. I know, fortune cookies have better advice than that. To practice this all too familiar principle, I worked on a DIY weekend project that helped remind me that momentum is to progress as an everything bagel is to a breakfast sandwich.
Filling Empty Space
I've been on the search for a canoe paddle for a few months now. Above the window in my office is a stretch of real estate that could home many things, but, I felt a canoe paddle seemed like a cool thing to hang in the office to add some more depth and texture to the space. While on a visit to my hometown in Lancaster, Pa for the weekend with my girlfriend, we made some visits to a few thrift stores and while walking through one of the aisles, there stuffed a bucket, was a canoe paddle. Creeping out like a hitchhiker looking for a oneway ride to Brooklyn, NY. I bought the paddle for a few bucks. The clear coat on the wood was in rough shape but nothing a morning of sanding can't fix.
Adding Some Color
I took a trip to the hardware store, which is only a five-minute walk from my apartment, to pick up wood stain, rags, and sandpaper. Sanding off the clear coat and softening up some of the knicks and scars of the wood took the most time but it was very therapeutic. I spend a lot of time staring at a screen, so it was great to work on something that didn't require a power outlet.
When I was pleased with the result of the sanding, I prepped for staining and taped down craft paper. The prep was just brushing off the wood dust from the paddle and away from my workspace (which was the floor of the office). I dipped a rag into the wood stain and applied even strokes of stain onto the paddle. Careful not to overcoat by reapplying more stain on spots I already went over. I did three coats with 30 minutes of dry time between applications.
The purpose of a canoe paddle is to propel yourself through open water. Leaving the comfort of dry land and inviting the chance for rough waters. Regardless if the trek from destination A to B involves spinning, reversing, or adjusting— you are still making forward progress. So lettering "Forward Progress" onto the canoe paddle seemed appropriate.
Now the paddle is proudly hanging above the window in my office. Finishing a project like this keeps the creative fire within me burning bright. As much as I appreciate a relaxing weekend, this DIY project did more for me than a day of Netflix ever could. So if you can take away anything from this post, it's the reminder that big goals are the sum of small individual ideas and projects. So if you don't know where you're going, just keep on going.