Building Something From Nothing

I keep doing this – building something from nothing. This week I made a conscious decision to keep something I’ve built so I can continue using it with the freedom of thought and speech I’ve enjoyed since February 23, 2017. Can you guess what it is? It is writing my blog! But, writing my blog and building an audience of readers is not the only thing I’ve built from just an idea.

If you really think about it, anyone who has created a life – a child – with another person has created something that exists where there was nothing before. A life created with love, and by loving. Truly, our three boys are the greatest of creations.

But, my life path is sprinkled with other examples of creating something from nothing. This isn’t like creating a scarf by using yarn, a bracelet by using beads, or a house by using bricks.  Although those things are created, they usually involve a plan or pattern and supplies. What I am referring to is creating something from a mere idea!

I am not good at blowing my own horn. Fortunately, or sometimes not, neither are my boys. This sometimes causes us to be passed over for recognition, awards, leadership positions, or other tangible “prizes, titles, and status” associated with accomplishments. But, sometimes it is helpful, and healthy, to look back at what one has accomplished – whether recognized by others or not. And, that is what this post is about.

As I realized why I made the decision this week that I did, I realized it was really about keeping something I’ve built from nothing – from just an idea – my blog.  And, I’ll get to that. But, there have been other things too.

About fifteen years ago, I desperately needed social contact. I was a stay at home mom,  older than most other mothers which made it somewhat hard to connect with those much younger than I.   I had a Master’s degree I wasn’t using.  I freely made the decision to stay home and believe my boys benefited from the choice.  However, the local YMCA was 15 miles away, with a tiny branch in a strip mall in our town. It was great for the kids but not for me, although I did take a Pilates class there.  (Does anyone local remember this?) So, in an effort to get out of the house without my kids, I went to the Children’s Museum and asked if I could offer a craft class once a week, as a volunteer. Craft Time with Carol ran for about four years! Something good came from nothing, from the mere asking of a question, the provision of services, and a generous spirit on the part of the museum.

Around the same time, I asked if I could start a garden club where my oldest son attended elementary school. Again, the wish was granted by a principal who took a chance on me. This group, built from the ground up, and again from just an idea and a drive to provide something I thought was missing, lasted 13 years and served over 500 students during that time! Due to a recent study I conducted, I know that individuals in that group received enormous benefit from the experience we shared on our school grounds.

Then, about ten years ago, I started a handcrafted jewelry business (it’s actually a hobby) that grew out of our walk-in closet. Of course, there was also the idea – an idea to have something to do with my time while I was home, raising my boys. I still have the hobby as it provides me a much-needed creative release and my customers some affordable handmade jewelry.

Eight years ago, there was a need to bring awareness to our community about the needs of talented and gifted youth. I was asked to start a parent group addressing these needs due to my experience of being a parent having children who received these services. It was someone else’s idea that I was asked to bring to life and did so. As you might imagine, this was a stressful venture, loaded with opinion and personal agendas. Fighting the inaccurate philosophy that this group of students will be fine, even if nothing is done for them academically, was draining.  The group lasted for three years and disbanded due to the inability to move a system forward in its thinking.  Yet, I do think that the once actionable idea raised some essential awareness.

Following that was the development a book club and writer’s circle in our elementary school. Again, these two groups took place due to ideas I had, as well as a desire to “focus” my volunteering with the good fortune of the skills and time I possessed to offer the, as well as from the generosity of the teachers from whose classes I received students. The book club, for above benchmark first graders ran five years, and the writer’s circle group ran six years.  Just two ideas, that were activated by asking the question.,,,,”Can I?”

And, then, there’s my blog.  I like to write. I know for most people, that seems crazy. But, I enjoy the process, the product, and the voice I have. Of course, I did not have to ask permission from anyone to start the blog, although I did join a month-long writing challenge to help me get going. For the last twenty-two months, I have blogged almost every day – that’s 617 posts, not counting this one. The blog gives me a voice, a voice that is much more clear and defined than if I had to verbalize what I write about. It helps me to reflect, put in perspective, and express my thoughts and feelings. In essence, it’s been “good for me.”

But, back to the decision. I decided that for me, and really no one else, my blog was important to continue.  My words, and the expression of them, are important.  I made a decision to continue my blog rather than run for a public office where I feared possible censorship, limitations, or worse – that my own words be used against me. My blog makes people think. And, maybe that’s all I’m after. But, I definitely to not want to feel constrained either by self-imposed rules or by others who feel they can tell me what I can or cannot write.  I realized that I want to continue to write and express myself.  It is important to me because it’s an idea I built from nothing and continue to build everyday.

4 Thoughts

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