In a world that is so obsessed with the instant, it's good to remember that sometimes things take a long time. In fact, a lot of things take a long time. It's something I've found myself thinking a lot about lately.
The picture above is bright and colorful and fun to look at (and it's a sneak peek of the pictures I finally took of our downstairs... I'll show you those another day), but this little conglomeration of books is also bittersweet for me to look at.
Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time know that my husband Bryan and I met our freshman year of college and then he went off to serve a two year church mission in Switzerland and Germany while I kept going to school. We got married a few months after he came home.
While Bryan was gone I dated some other guys, but it was never the same. I missed Bryan... more than I can explain. I have a lot of happy memories with friends from those two years, but I also experienced a lot of heartache. It was a personal battle. A daily struggle. A giant leap of faith to trust that things would work out, especially when everything around me felt so miserable. No two years in my life passed as slowly as those two years without Bryan.
The German dictionary is a reminder of those two years. The Little Prince is a reminder of those two years. The red copy of I Like You is a reminder of those two years.
Waiting for Bryan. That took a long time.
Something else that took a long time? This little Undies Pattern that I now sell in my shop. I just sold another copy of it and I found myself reflecting on how long it took for that to happen. It was over a year ago when I made the first couple pairs of teeny tiny little panties for Olivia.
I took all the tutorial pictures and wrote up and formatted the instructions not too long after I started making them. I really wanted to get it ready to sell right away. But there was one problem. I had no idea how to make the patterns work as something that other people could print off at home. I remember sitting at one of the big fancy computers at the BYU library with Bryan one night trying to make it work. I was so frustrated. I just didn't know how to proceed so I could finish the project.
Well, it got put on the back burner during the move and since Olivia wasn't really potty training right away I wasn't in any rush to finish it. Every now and then I'd remember the undies pattern, feel ashamed that I put all that work into it and never actually finished it, and then put it out of my mind.
In the mean time, I was working on other things. And some of those things included patterns. The way I had tried to digitize the undies pattern on the computer hadn't worked. But the patterns I had been sharing on my blog were a lot simpler to upload and digitize. It worked! And it was so easy! A whole world of possibilities opened up to me.
Well, eventually something clicked in my brain and I realized that I could do the Undies Pattern like I had been doing all of the other little free patterns on my blog. It was one of those major "duh" moments. And I feel a little silly now, realizing that I could have finished it so long ago. But, ya know, some things just take a long time.
And then there are those things that are fast and easy enough to make, but other contributing factors take a long time. These Number Flashcards were available for sale in my shop only a day or two after I finished creating them. But it took a long time for these flashcards (and the others I sell in my shop) to really become popular.
Any blogger or Etsy seller knows the feeling. You finish writing a post or making something to sell, make it available, and then expect it to be instantly popular! And then... nobody seems to be aware that you did anything at all. Boo.
It's easy to get discouraged and feel unnoticed by the world at large, but sometimes you (I) just have to be patient. Blogs and people and things don't become instantly popular. They may seem instantly popular because, by the time we catch wind of whatever it is, it already seems glamorous and successful. But I don't think anyone or anything ever starts out that way.
When I first listed these flashcards in my shop they seemed to go largely unnoticed for a long time. But, little by little, as my blog and readership has grown and as people have pinned them on Pinterest and the word has spread in other ways, these flashcards have become the most-bought thing in my shop. The sales from these flashcards are what makes it possible for me to buy the fabric I'm buying to make things for my book. (And I've spent a lot of money lately on fabric for things for my book.)
But it wasn't like that a year ago. It took a long time.
Life is about growing. And sometimes that means growing pains. But I think that, maybe, the growth won't feel so painful if we can step back and recognize that most things in life aren't instant.
Most things take a long time.
We've all got something (or lots of somethings) that we're working on. Projects to finish. Habits to change. Questions to answer. Selves to become. So don't worry if you're not there yet. Not being there yet doesn't mean failure. It just means you're not there yet. So keep going. You'll get there.
Some things take a long time.