Failed projects aren’t always failures

Last week, I stopped working on a quilt. I’d been working on this quilt for two weeks but no matter what I did, I just couldn’t get it to work. The background embroidery was too busy, the colors didn’t work, the layout was off… So I put it aside, saying I could come back to it later. I wasn’t ready to admit that the quilt was unfixable, that I’d spent two weeks on something that I was never going to finish.

But what happened surprised me – I started a new quilt, one with the same theme as the old one, but with different colors and fabrics and layout. After five days, it’s about half finished. I’m excited about it; I look forward to painstakingly doing the topstitching or sewing on appliqués.

So, these quilts have become a metaphor for my life of late. I spent years working in jobs that frustrated me, that made me want to cry at times, that caused so much stress that I got sick. There were rewards – I worked with some amazing people, learned a lot, had a nifty title, and got paid pretty well. But in the end, no matter how much work I put into that career, it was never going to work. It took getting laid off, and then spending a couple of months decompressing (while looking for similar jobs in similar fields), to realize that I couldn’t go back to that life.

And what has come of this? Well, for one, I have time to make quilts. And I have time to cook and see (and enjoy) my friends and spend time at the Japanese baths and bike around the city in the middle of the day. I have time to volunteer for a cause I believe in.

I’m not rich; I’d saved up a small emergency fund, which has allowed me to take my life a little slower than I had been. Amazingly, the movement in my life has actually sped up. Contract opportunities have come out of nowhere. I sold a bag that I hadn’t yet listed on etsy. I’m writing a lot in my blog. And I’m making incredible progress on my quilt.

What I’m trying to say – albeit circuitously – is that I’ve learned that it’s okay to change course, even in the middle of a project. It’s okay to abandon a project or a goal or a job or a career when it no longer fits me. Experience is experience, and that’s all. It doesn’t have to dictate what I’m going to do next.

I do have a few ideas about what I’m going to do next. I’ll probably write more about them. But first, I have a quilt to sew.

10 thoughts on “Failed projects aren’t always failures”

  1. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!

    Extremely useful info particularly the last part :) I care for
    such information much. I was looking for this certain information for a long time.

    Thank you and good luck.

  2. After I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new
    comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment
    is added I recieve four emails with the exact same
    comment. There has to be a way you are able
    to remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

  3. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me
    to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?

    Superb work!

  4. My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on several websites for about a
    year and am concerned about switching to another platform.
    I have heard good things about Is there
    a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any kind
    of help would be greatly appreciated!

  5. After exploring a number of the articles on your site, I
    seriously appreciate your way of writing a blog. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark site list and will be checking
    back soon. Please check out my web site too and tell
    me how you feel.

  6. What i do not realize is in fact how you are now
    not actually a lot more smartly-preferred than you may be right now.

    You’re very intelligent. You realize thus considerably in terms of this topic,
    produced me personally believe it from so many varied
    angles. Its like women and men are not involved until it is
    one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs
    great. At all times care for it up!

  7. I’m very happy to discover this site. I need to to thank
    you for ones time for this fantastic read!! I definitely loved every
    little bit of it and I have you book marked to check out new stuff in your site.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top