I was fascinated with potions when I was young. I clearly remember sitting in the yard to the side of our house at around 6 years old, carefully mixing together various ingredients in the jug taken from the bathroom. A little of this, a little of that; water, flowers from the garden, shampoo, even mud – anything was fair game. I was a witch and anything could be used to make a spell. Talcum powder in particular always gave a particularly pleasing horrible lumpy effect; the worse it looked and smelt, the better.
I can’t remember what I did with my potions once they were made – the point wasn’t the result; it was the process that mattered.
That playful feeling of experimentation, of mixing things together and seeing what happens, is, I think, something that we should take with us into our adult lives. Whether it be in the kitchen, in art, music or any other creative endeavor, sometimes the process matters more than the result.
The process of experimenting can be rewarding in itself – and most importantly, each time we do it we learn a little. Like cooking without a recipe, we learn that this flavour works with this, but not with that. We learn that adding a little something new can change the nature of the whole dish.
Even if the results are not the focus, sometimes they are a pleasant surprise and you have produced something that you may not have, had you had a specific goal in mind. Sometimes the outcome is average, or even a complete failure, but even then you can take away something from the experience of doing.
And what’s more, that child-like feeling of ‘let’s see what happens if..’ is fun. So why not have a play?