It was my second week at a local senior resource center. We were making beaded jewelry. I want to say there were 12 participants, or maybe 15. At times it felt like 50. Freeflowing, creative processes are quite fun. Most of the time. Occasionally I have to stop and remind myself nobody's going to suffer mental or physical anguish if they have to wait 5 minutes - or even 30 - until I have their piece of jewelry completed. They've done the beading...I'm doing the finishing. They seem to always finish their stuff at the exact same minute.
These women were lovely. (And the one man, too, but he didn't have as much to say today as last week.) They kept me laughing, were charmed by my humming and singing and willingness to just crawl down there on the floor under the table when somebody dropped a pile of her beads. They giggled like children when I whisked someone's piece across the room when she wasn't expecting me to come get it, and again when I called out to another one of the ladies who returned for the second time, that she was really subtle in her reminder that I hadn't yet finished this other piece she'd had sitting there on her table, all patiently. It was a good time.
In spite of myself, and all the laughing, I was so utterly overwhelmed at one point I found myself saying, NOT aloud, to myself - "They don't pay me enough to do this." I was working my butt off and the chaos was stressing me out. Bigtime. Happy Chaos is still Chaos, y'know? And what kind of career am I going to have as a potentially serious jewelry designer, crawling around on the floor with walking canes and saggy socks? (Whatever the heck that is, anyway: "potentially serious jewelry designer." As opposed to what? A whimsical jewelry designer? A highly focused, frowney jewelry designer? Hm. Word choice enthralls me, even if it's my own that "stranges me" - as a 3 year old once declared to me, cleverly.)
But then it hit me: I would do this for free! I mean, it's an organization I think is important to society in general and to this community specifically. These people are amazing and I'd really just like to hang out with them one on one, or in small groups of perhaps 3-5. And so it's the sort of place that would be up there on the "Great places to volunteer" list. Well then what am I griping about?
It's true, of course: for the amount of time it takes to set up and break down, the occasional sense of chaos I've already mentioned, the materials I have to have on hand, and the unpredictability of the clients' requests, I'm not charging enough. If I choose to look at it as only a business opportunity. So I just have to change how I look at it. If I would do it for free, then I guess they absolutely ARE paying me enough!
Which answers the question, I guess, of whether I'll consider the request to schedule another such future event! Hmmm!
Okay, now if I can bear to look at another single bead...another crimp and clasp, I need to make some jewelry of my own. Seeing as how that's the reason I bought all those beads in the first place!
Cheers! And stay dry already! (I'm highly recommending cheap flip flops for all this endless rain, myself...)