Learn to Like (VIII)

George Handley on Lowell Bennion’s 8th Commandment: Learn to like gardening, puttering around the house, and fixing things.


  1. I find that I putter on my writing projects, wandering around blogs and commenting, writing cards and letters, and I putter at researching projectss. Because I don’t love doing household chores, I tend to do very concentrated amounts of time on housework, gardening or fixing things because it is the only way I can tlak myself into doing it. It isn’t that I am any less capable of doing weeding or washing dishes, but if I putter at them, I tend to get bored, and end up back on something I enjoy more, oftentimes heading towards the nearest hiking trail. ;-)

    A good friend one time asked me if I would show her how I make and write cards, becuase she loved getting a card from me, but everytime she even thought about it, it stressed her out. So we decided that we would spend two hours working on cards, which was relaxing for me, and then two hourws out in my garden, which was relaxing for her. I learned a lot by watching her in my garden. I usually started in one spot and worked on a grid system to pull weeds and make sure the plants had enough light and water, trying to get it done as quickly as possible. As I watched her spend some time in one area, then move to another area that caught her eye, I realized that she was looking at the garden as a symbiotic patch of earth and was trying to make sure that the whole garden had what it needed, instead of only looking at each plant.

    I didn’t have a sudden epiphony that makes me love puttering in the garden, although I do try to start any time I spend in the garden by looking at the whole gardem first, before I just start on the “first section.” I still find I am best able to get chores done by setting a timer and working as hard as I can until it goes off. I do plant my garden a little more thoughtfully, but I am always going to prefer a mountain trail for time I spend outside.

    I guess the biggest thing I have learned over the years is that you can putter at almost anything, not just doing physical work. for me at least, puttering works well when it is something I enjoy, but isn’t something that helps me do something I don’t enjoy. I usually use the fact that I am puttering as an excuse for letting things go undone, or only partially done.

    Does anyone have a fool-proof way to make puttering work for something that isn’t on your likst of “favorite things?”

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