"If I could only ________________......"


I got an actual laugh-out-loud -- 

(which involves making noise, as opposed to an LOL which is really just more of a smile) when I popped in on Facebook this morning to see what was happening in my friends' worlds.

In my notifications it said that a friend had mentioned me in a comment, so I clicked on it to see what it was about.  She was responding to her own friend's post showing a needle-felting project she had completed.  After complimenting her friend's success, she said, "I know a FAMOUS felt artist . . . Susan M. Hinckley.  Google her.  Seriously."  

This is a friend I don't know terribly well, but we've had lunch together a number of times.  I certainly know her well enough that she should realize I am NOT a famous felt artist nor anything else.  It just reminded me how funny and flawed our perceptions are of others.

When I was younger and just starting out on my art journey, I spent countless hours poring over magazines and books.  I used to think, "If I could just get in a magazine, THEN I would be a real artist.  THEN I would have it made."  Well, I first made it into a magazine a good 15 years ago and I can tell you that it hasn't changed a thing.  Sure, it was always cool standing in the check-out line at the supermarket wanting to tell everyone, "Hey!  I'm IN HERE!" And my mom always seemed to get a kick out of buying a few extra copies.  But that's pretty much the extent of the life-changing that occurred as a result.

"Happiness is the absence 
of the striving for happiness."

-- Chang Tzu 


For as long as I can remember, I've been a member of the

"If I could only __________, 
then I would be happy..." 

school of thinking.

Right now it's taking the form of, "If I could only sell this house and get this move over with, then I could live my perfect life in the desert that I've always dreamed of.  And be happy."

Silly me.

I think Norman Lear had it right when he said:

"Life is made up of small pleasures.  Happiness is made up of those tiny successes.  The big ones come too infrequently.  And if you don't collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don't really mean anything."

Tiny successes like finally having white woodwork in my house.  Even if I'm going to sell it to someone else.  Like having my bathroom finally look like the bathroom I always knew it could be.  I get to live in it for a few weeks, anyway.  And it does make me happy every time I walk in the room.

Tiny successes like having the OPPORTUNITY to participate in the ACC St. Paul Show next week.  Even though it's terribly inconvenient for me. And lately I just haven't been selling at shows the way a FAMOUS felt artist ought to sell.  It's a pretty big success just to be invited to the party.

And my crab apple trees are in full blossom.  And I've succeeded in being here to see it yet again.  Sure, Russ is living in Phoenix calling me every day to brag about the Mexican food and the sunshine, but then I have to remind myself that he's missing the crab apple trees.

Life is good. Right now.  Whether you are famous or not.  Probably even better if you're not, come to think of it, but only as long as you bother to notice it.

Happy Friday!



Amelia Poll said...

I find myself in the "if only_______, then ________" all. the. time. It's not only "then I could be happy," it's also, "then I could keep my house clean," or "then I'd be an awesome mom." Regardless, I am working on finding those tiny successes and focusing on the little joys, rather than always waiting for the big ones.

I hope that the show goes well, that your house sells soon, and that you'll soon be eating Mexican food with your husband :)

Shantel said...

This is crap. You are famous. To me. and the more important part about how amazing you are was left out. ;0)

Leenie said...

Oh Susan, it's good to be reminded not to go running after happiness.

Recently a wise man said, "Forget not to Be Happy Now." And, "don't let the candy bar itself become an utter disappointment if it does not contain a golden ticket."

I think your success is well earned and your work shows your devotion to your craft. I'm also glad your artistry is considered famous. It should be.

John Beck said...

Well that was a hitting-the nail-on-the-head article Susan. Well thought words and sentiments to be sure. Last night, amazing thunder and lightening storms in SF and I was reminded of the truly Great storms we had in Utah during the Summer! I was happy. I was inside. Today was a little brighter too. Each day a new chance for a small piece of happy. . . . : )

Allie said...

I don't if-only anymore...good for you on realizing it! And my tree is in bloom too, hooray for the small pleasures that really aren't small!

VO said...

Fridays make me happy. Creating makes me happy. Reading makes me happy. Peeking in at someone's life makes me happy. :-)

Brian Miller said...

oo if only i could sell my house...ha...i def can fall into this thinking...and you are def an artist...smiles.

Morgan Poland said...

Oh crud. Does this mean I can't tell MY friends that I have been introduced to a FAMOUS felter? I think this is somehow wrong.

susan m hinckley said...

hahahahaha.....Yes. That's what it means, Morgan. Sorry to burst your bubble.

the hinckleys said...

thanks, susan, for a great post! i won't say that i know a famous felt artist - i will just tell everyone that i am related to one!

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