What A Cup Taught Me About The Power Of Completing

colour in cup

You read that right. This is an homage, of sorts, to a cup. Not just any cup. One of those colour-it-in yourself ones to match the adult colouring craze that’s won’t desist. You fill in the patterns (keeping inside the lines, of course) using the primary and complimentary coloured pens (thanks, GCSE Art) and then stick it in the oven to set it. You can then use the cup to carry around hot fluids or, I dunno, fill it with guac, #priorities.

I was given this cup for Crimbo by Me’Mam (thanks Mum, love it). On boxing day, I started to colour it in. There was something so innocent about returning to that child-like state. Getting messy, using tools, switching on creative auto-pilot and just scribbling away the afternoon. I had it finished in an hour.

This would make more sense/have been more hard-hitting if I had first explained that I don’t finish anything, EVER. I start things and never finish them. It’s a long-standing foible. My room is filled with half-made hats to be knitted (vicenarian going on octogenarian), half-written books on my laptop, and half-baked ideas in my notebooks. This blog alone has 9 draft posts waiting for me to finish them, and my iPhone is chocka with notes hungry for more substance or a better home than behind a lock screen. I returned a half-read book to the library yesterday because I just knew I wasn’t going to finish it and would rather save the 49p fine than the satisfaction of adding it to my GoodReads bookshelf. When I was little, I used to start stories, get bored, draw a picture depicting the plot for the middle and then write a sentence for the end and scream, “FINISHEDDD!”. Boredom, impatience and restlessness have always been beckoning in my task abilities. Call it a zodiac quality or a millennial trait, either way, I’m shite at focusing on one thing for long enough to get it done. I read somewhere this year that ‘done is better than perfect’ and that’s had to be on a loop in my head at work, otherwise I would be job-less.

When I’d finished this cup (let’s just call it an abstract masterpiece for arguments sake) I held it in my hands and felt so darn proud. The sense of completion was powerful. 

colour-in cup

We very rarely truly complete these days. Our jobs always have unfinished business looming on to-do lists. Our social media feeds, well, any feeds are just never ending loops of constant streams of pictures and media and ‘what new-age feminist disney princess are you?’. There’s always things around the house that need fixing, or cleaning, or spilling coffee on. And they’re always there. Like Pantry Moms quadruplets. They never leave and they want everything from you all the time.

So when I coloured in a simple ceramic coffee cup I returned to the innocence of little-me showing my Mum the pretty picture I’d made. I’d done it.

The best part was, it wasn’t going to sit on a shelf or get stuck on the fridge or forgotten about in cyber-space. I had built something that I could use everyday, which reminds me of creativity, being a child, and completion.

We all have an unhealthy habit of setting ourselves unattainable errands and projects to get completed. Last Friday, I wrote myself the below to-do list knowing that I was going out that evening to become inevitably inebriated and subsequently brain dead in the cold light of morn, it was:

  • Write chapter of book
  • Write 1 poem for other book
  • Write blog post
  • Finish article for *blah blah*
  • Email *blah blah* with finished article
  • Do exercises/ go for a run
  • Improve Grammar
  • Learn about SEO

On what planet was this going to happen? Turn your rocket ship at the sign on Pluto saying, ‘Not on your lightyears, sweetheart.’ I slept, and drank gravy (hungover habit, something to do with the salt), and painted my nails and cried at Up. Feeling royally shameful at 4pm (bed time) I slunk to slumber, incomplete.

Completing should be like what we’re told eating should be: Little and often. Nibbling little nuggets of our to-do lists away like a happy squirrel, rather than trying to chew off huge chunks and then choking a bit so someone has to slap your back so you spit it out and then you’ve just got some half eaten globby mess lying in front of you (wasn’t sure where that was going but I like it, ANALOGIES PEOPLE).

Colouring, writing one thing on a to-do list, eating nuggets, a cup. Give yourself that finished feeling, invest time in yourself. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s all pretty powerful if we just complete it.

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