To dream, to seek, to buy...and then to do

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So the yarn sits in the closet next to the two needlepoint projects I abandoned sometime in the mid-’80s and just under the drawer where I stored my collage materials: canvas, gels, paints, various bent nails, torn papers, old leaves and general trash I scavenged from the sidewalk for my artwork. Being a consumer somehow trumps being a doer. It’s so much easier to invest in a good idea than to really follow through.

I think about getting back to bike riding. I feel committed. Good idea, good exercise, good for my leg muscles. How can I start such an important project with an old bicycle? So I buy a new one, and a helmet and a basket and various water bottles, because heaven knows I’ll get dehydrated on my long rides. You know what happens. The bicycle clocked fewer miles than my running shorts.

Rampant, pointless consumerism, I tell you. Good intentions with no follow-through.

Do you have a story to share? Because I have several. I plan a hiking adventure in Montana — nothing terribly strenuous, but definitely requiring some gear. I think about it for weeks, study Outside magazine and imagine myself chugging along a trail, backpack firmly in place, bear bells twinkling in the cool, light air. I buy stuff: hiking boots and packs and dried food and headlights and blister cream. I buy wool socks and silk underwear and shirts that wick away moisture. By the time I’ve finished preparing, I have pretty much sublimated any desire to actually go out and exert myself, especially at 10,000 feet in territory that is home to grizzly bears.

Besides, these days it is so easy to do the buying part of the project. You don’t even have to leave your room to purchase everything you need for a month-long hike. Click, click, click and you’re halfway to Glacier Park. The other half, the buying of the tickets, the actually planning of the trip, not to mention the carrying of a 30-pound pack up a trail, becomes daunting.

Of course, among the many false starts, there have been a few notable exceptions. When I was home raising babies in the early ’70s, I took up both cake decorating and Chinese cooking. I bought bowls and frosting mixes, piping tips in many sizes, books of decorating ideas, a number of expensive pans, tins and, of course, a Cuisinart mixer.
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