Often we don’t take time for quiet moments and “tinker.” “Tinkering” is very important, it allows us time for our hands to be busy and allow our mind to rest, wander, and daydream. “Tinkering” can take the form of knitting, puttering around in the garage, working on a boat, scrap booking, painting, needlework such as embroidery or needlepoint and so many other forms. Do you take time for tinkering?
In today’s world, I bet if I surveyed 1000 random people to ask if they “tinker,” they would answer – “No, I don’t have time.” Yet, our mothers and fathers, grandparents, and great grandparents found the time and with the exception of most of our parents and some of our grandparents, they didn’t have all of our time-saving devices such washing machines, dryers, air conditioning or central heat, they had to chop wood, cook every meal from scratch – there were few restaurants and grocery stores did not sell prepared food except in cans, yet they found time to do “tinkering” in various forms.
Think about the beautiful hand-made items that you’ve found in your mother or grandmother’s drawer that are embroidered, quilts that they have hand-stitched, blankets they’ve knitted – yet, they did take the time and they did not have the distractions of television, electronic games or other devices. Perhaps they put music on a phonograph or turned on the radio and listened as they stitched. Guys tinker in their garages, one friend of mine tied flies for fly fishing – his hobby actually turned to a business after he retired, others build stuff, work on car engines, fiddle with their golf clubs and other stuff.
We all need this time in our lives, it helps us feel more grounded, less stressed. My paternal grandmother who lived to be 109 years old, had a philosophy about what kept her heart healthy and when asked by her physician at age 93 why she was so healthy and all of the testing showed that her “heart age” was in her 40’s – she told the physician, “Get out from behind that desk and get your hands in the dirt.” Gardening and needlework – she crocheted and years before had made quilts, kept her grounded and that was her “tinkering.”
My mother always had a garden too and she sewed beautifully, yet her “tinkering” was needlework – she made beautiful embroidered items – she stitched more than one beautiful tablecloth and napkin sets which I am grateful that I have now to enjoy. After her stroke so many years ago, she used needlework as part of her therapy to get use of her right hand back and working well. I am grateful she taught me this wonderful craft.
I taught my daughter how to embroider and we learned to knit together from a friend. She still knits and loves photography and does other really fun “tinkering.” As my granddaughters are getting old enough to begin to learn some of these “tinkering” crafts, I spend time with them teaching them (as best I can) how to knit, crochet and stitch. They tend to favor painting and drawing – to me, it doesn’t matter what they choose as long as they have something that they can have “tinkering time.”
For me, mostly I putter with my little potted plant garden and knit. One of my favorite knitting projects that my sister suggested (yes, she knits and gardens too) is to knit stocking caps and donate them to the various shelters – homeless, domestic violence and such. If I don’t have a project to work on, I will always find one to do – it keeps me grounded, reduces stress and gives me a lot of pleasure to see the results of my “tinkering.”
I think “tinkering” also provides us hope when we are overwhelmed. If you would pause during those overwhelming times and spend a little bit of time doing your “tinkering,” you’ll find that you will feel less stressed, more calm and peaceful. Consider “tinkering” instead of veg’ing out in front of the television watching something stupid – many people do that, yet it creates more agitation that peace. Take up a hobby, learn something new, revive something you used to do for “tinkering,” add some of your favorite music to it and I’m betting that your attitude and health will improve.
Let me know what you decide to “tinker” with – I’m off to do some more knitting!