I have watched my grandson playing for about a year and come to the conclusion that our lives begin and continue as a series of projects. One of his earliest projects was stacking colored cups which he did for months in various ways. Later, he would over and over do puzzles of different kinds. Now when he finishes a project, he takes each one to his mother or father. He does not like to be interrupted and, like all toddlers, does not like to be thwarted or told “no”. (Like all of us, he enjoys his limited freedom, and does not suffer external or imposed limits and limitations easily.) Most of all, he, like all of us, enjoys being engaged, or ‘being/getting lost’ in a project.
In much the same way, a family dog does not like having the project of enjoying a meal being interrupted, as in when the meal is pulled away, signified usually by a growl. The squirrel outside in my yard does not understand, likewise, why I would use the garden hose on him as he tries to rip fabric strips off the swing set canopy. No one likes having their projects interrupted, especially when they are busy and engaged on some intent, goal, or ongoing pleasurable activity.
It is and has been, indeed personally, a life of projects. I think back to my collection of Classics Illustrated comics, or collecting 45s when I was 10 to 40. Other projects included getting through and out of high school and playing hockey as long as I could as a child (the rinks in our yard, the pickup games at the community club and a brief stint as a peewee goalie). Projects, projects. The girlfriends, friends, the school musical career, the folk music career, the nursing orderly and letter carrier stints, the band leader project, the textbook writing career (from 1978-on), the teaching career (1972-2002), my ongoing epoch as a husband, the enhanced family project, movie collecting, stamp collecting, poster collecting, my ongoing project as a grandparent (player, performer, teacher), and so forth.
Yes, a life of projects. And, to think that it all began with some cups, some stacking rings, some puzzles, some toys, a pet–the world of my grandson, and that of my mirrored childhood past, too. I don’t think it’s accidental that one of the most famous movie motifs, symbols, and moments is crystallized in the dropping of a snow globe and the utterance of “Rosebud” in Citizen Kane, one of the most famous films of all time. If you`ve seen the movie, you`ll recall that it was young Kane`s being interrupted and being wrested from his playing in the winter snow project that was the defining moment in his life and past. And what was Kane`s life after that? Nothing but a series of projects–Xanadu, the newspaper, his campaign to make Susan an opera singer, his failed political career.
Yes, a life of projects. Like all our own every day and over periods of our transitory lives. Why else do people have bucket lists of projects?
We are all in process with our various projects (or chosen processes). Some of the best projects are the hybrid ones that arise from following one’s bliss–in my case, this blog along with the continuing revelations of my 22 month-old grandson, seen fused together in the entry above.