When I was a kid, I was constantly told to stop fidgeting while in school. This was something to avoid as much as possible. Then, a couple of years ago, Philippe said he saw a Kickstarter campaign for something called a Fidget Cube and that he’d sponsored it so we’d both be getting one when it was complete. My initial reaction was just, “okay,” as things like this happen all of the time in our house. But, after a few moments of pondering I followed up with, “but, what the hell is it?” He then showed me a video of the cube in action. You could click things all along its sides, roll a metal ball around and thumb wrestle a little joystick thingy on top. “So, it’s like a super enhanced stress ball?” I asked. To which he replied, “Yep!” with a victorious smile. But those little happy stress balls were squishy and soft, so I was skeptical. This one could certainly do more things, but honestly, I was still confused. I’d never been told exactly how to fidget before as it has always just come naturally to me. Then, I found a fidget spinner in my Christmas stocking. Clearly, I was being given a signal of some kind and had to stop and ponder just how fidgety I really was to inspire such gifts. In my head, it felt like I was being given the human equivalent of a dog toy.

It’s true, however, that I am a bit restless much of the day. I’ve switched to felt tip pens at work because retractable ballpoints will have me clicking them incessantly to the point of attracting stares. I tap my feet and often go into full on restless leg syndrome in meetings, but only when they are boring. The problem is, I find most meetings rather boring so it’s really most of the time. I dutifully took my little fidget cube to work with me and tried it out. It fascinated me for only a few minutes before I grew bored and placed it back in my bag. I bought a new bag recently, and when clearing out the old one I found my fidget cube there in pristine condition having only ever been used that one time. I’m not even sure what happened to the fidget spinner as after spinning it around a few times and using a stopwatch to see just how long it would spin before stopping, I grew bored with it. And my poor little stress ball, in truth, failed to get any more attention than these little contraptions. The problem was the repetition of the task. While I love little routines, I find little comfort in rote repetition. I like it when things are always a little bit new and unexpected. I adore it when what I doing produces a few surprises.

So, all of my fidget toys have been retired now, and I realize I’ve found the best solution to my restless spirit already. My daily sketching and painting routine is by far the best way to deal with my fidgety nature. Even though it’s only a few precious minutes a day, it gives me such a moment of sharp focus that’s perfectly rejuvenating. I asked Philippe tonight if he still used his Fidget Cube and he simply shrugged and said, “No” while nodding in the general direction he thought he’d left it last. Then, without a moment’s hesitation, he showed me a new 3D software that he’s excited to learn next. I had to giggle as a house with two artists is a fun and ever-changing house indeed. Everything is a bit random and, well, just incredibly enjoyable. We argue and bicker like any couple, but each time, one of us manages to point out a bit of inscrutable irony in our argument that leaves us both collapsing into giggles. I’m not entirely sure that restlessness and stress require a cure. They just need to be honed into something creative and given a chance to make a positive difference. I take great comfort in the notion that, perhaps, simply by being artists, we’ve already well and truly mastered the art of fidgeting.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Opus (Vivid Pink), Vermillion, Aureolin, Cobalt Turquoise, Leaf Green, Cobalt Blue, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 29 - Fidget Toys Cube Spinner Stress Ball Watercolor - Detail - Doodlewash

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23 thoughts on “The Art Of Fidgeting

  1. Interesting. I actually wrote at poem about Practicing Stillness. It had a spider in it. I believe in stillness as a practice. If you slow down you see things. Being a bird watcher helps. As a kid, a trip to town meant going the same route every time. I started playing a game with myself to notice something new every time. I got good at it.

  2. Did you have worry stones too? I had a bazillion over the years, not so much because I knew I would use them but because I’d fall in love with beauty of the stone. I wish I still had all of them, because they be kind of cool sitting in a jar or dish on the table. I did get a spinner – one with flashing lights and still play with it now and then. Your little box looks cool I would have bought one, no doubt, and then ignored it much as you did, no doubt.

    1. I did have worry stones! hehe 😃💕 For the same reason… they were just cool and beautiful! And yeah, you saved some money on that box. I can always guess that you’d be just like me and abandon it quickly! lol

  3. My brother-in-law likes to tinker with “hardware art” and actually made me a fidget spinner. I love it because, first of all, he made it, and secondly, because I find it calming and peaceful, and it helps me zone out when I get too stressed. Is that what fidget spinners are supposed to do? Great Doodlewashes, Charlie! Off topic, have you ever written about how you and Phillips met? I’d love to read about it. If so, can you point me to that post (I can hardly believe that I’ve missed one). 😘😍🥰

    1. That’s so awesome your brother-in-law made you a fidget spinner!! Love that, Carol! 😃💕 yeah… it’s definitely doing the job, but I think it probably works even better since it was made my someone special! As for how Philippe and I met… it was online and I think I’ve mentioned it, but not sure what post it was. It was a brand new app where you could find friends near you. We were both early adopters, so I found only 2 people in Kansas City, and then it jumped to Chicago, New York, and then Paris. We started chatting and well… never stopped! lol Philippe had a conference in Denver and we decided to finally meet in person after about a year and half of chatting. We chose to meet in Chicago, spent 5 awesome days together and were officially dating. It was very long distance for another year and a half, trips back and forth, but he found a job here at scientific research institute and finally moved here permanently. We were married the following year. You’ve reminded me I should do a more in-depth post at some point. hehe… There is a post of Philippe meeting Phineas for the first time, but I think you might have seen this one or heard it in the podcast – https://doodlewash.com/duckie/

      1. Awesome story, Charlie! Isn’t it amazing how the stars align just so – and we meet our forever significant others? Wow, I can’t imagine living in all those cities as I have lived in the same city all my life. However, now we do travel a lot but always are happy to return home to our own cozy bed. Yes, I remember the Philippe and Phineas story. So sweet! Looking forward to more stories, Charlie, as always!😘😍🥰💖

  4. Aha – I agree with your theory that restlessness just needs to be channeled into something creative. It works for me! I love how well you sketched and painted the fidget toys. It gave me a little giggle this morning.

  5. Right on! I can’t sit still for very long either, I guess that would be considered fidgeting? I have always been a crafter/sketcher and maybe this is why. I can sit stil for hours when my mind is busy creating. Hmmmm, thanks for the diagnosis and prescription. 😉 Your fidgets are great! I knew what they were when I first saw them. If I attempted them, you would not. Tee hee!

    1. I’m so happy Dr. Charlie could provide your diagnosis and prescription! lol 😃💕Oh my goodness that’s a bit of a terrifying thought… I’m perfectly crazy! haha! And not a doctor, although Philippe is! Glad you liked my fidget toys… but I think our crafting and sketching habits are far better ways to fidget!

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