I met a friend for coffee and catch-up last week. At one point, she pulled out a pocket-sized notebook  to write herself a reminder for something she had to do later.

“I just bought myself a fancy new notebook,” she told me, “but whenever I need to write myself a note, this is the one I always use.”

She added that she doesn’t want to “mess up” her new notebook with notes and scribbles. She wants whatever she writes in it to be perfect. We laughed over that, and I have to admit I know exactly how she feels. I’ve done it, too. I think many people have, not just with writing in a new notebook, but in many areas of life. We want to try painting, for instance, but we’re afraid to start because we don’t want to make a mistake and ruin the canvas. We don’t use the good china because we’re afraid of breaking it. Or we’re like Erma Bombeck who, in her poem that begins, “If I had my life to live over,” said she “would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.”

When our family moved to Colorado years ago, we bought a home in a new subdivision. We lived in a rented house while ours was being built, and enjoyed visiting the construction site several times a week. When we were there for the last time before closing, I remember saying to my husband that we should take a good look around, because once we moved in, the house was never going to look this nice again.

“Maybe we should keep living in the rental,” I told him, “and just visit our new house every so often. That way it will stay clean and pristine.”

I was joking, of course, although I was correct in that it never looked as nice once we moved in with all our “stuff”—not to mention the rescue dog that soon became a part of our family. But it was home like no showcase model could ever be.

I hope that by now my friend has written in her new notebook, even if what she’s written contains strikeouts and “do-overs.” I hope that anyone who has a fancy, sculpted candle will light it whenever the mood strikes them, without worrying about its shape melting away. And I hope I’ll never, ever hesitate to try something new because I’m afraid of messing it up.

May 21, 2024
©Betty Liedtke, 2024

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