I usually steer clear of day-to-day non-knitting things here (mostly because anyone who cares about how many hours I worked yesterday has already heard about it. In detail. With gestures.)
But today my mind wandered this direction. I didn't have to go to work today, so I spent the day getting Stuff Done. I cleaned the bathroom, the kitchen, and the living room. Including vacuuming, which I hate with a fiery passion. I sorted all the laundry; a few loads are already done, and the rest will work their way through tonight. I took some pictures so there can be some later bloggy goodness. I made the crust for Thursday's pies. And last--but far from least--I put a pot of soup on the stove. In about ten minutes, I'll add the potatoes and a few more cups of water, and then it'll just sit and cook until we're ready to eat.
"Goodness me," you may say. "You certainly were busy today . . . but what does this have to do with knitting?"
It doesn't, really, but it got me thinking about hard work and creativity and why I do what I do. When I first learned to knit, it was with the goal of knitting socks for a friend. I did so, and I knit off and on throughout college, but I wouldn't say I was passionate about it. That turning point came when I picked it up again in graduate school, again to knit a pair of socks for a friend. This time, knitting turned my brain and it was all I could think about.
I think the reason was that at the time I was desperately searching for a way to produce something meaningful. I'd lost interest in research and didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. (Still don't. If you have any ideas, please get in touch!)
I think it's dangerous to live your life for others, in the sense that denying your own needs and desires doesn't do anybody any good. But I don't think that living to serve--if that's your calling--is a bad thing, either. I did what I did today because it needed to be done, because some of it would cost me if I didn't (either monetarily through fines for not doing my chores or socially because I stink if I don't wash my clothes) and some of it pleases me to do regardless. But in the back of my head, I'm thinking "R3 will like it that the living room is clean, and the Irishman will be thrilled that I did the laundry."
I feel more motivated and gratified if someone else is going to benefit from what I do, whether it's designing a scarf that people knit for their loved ones or making pie crust in a craptastic food processor . . . or writing a blog post that rambles a bit.