Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Project Endorphins

with 8 comments

During the winter, I like to assemble jigsaw puzzles. With the pandemic forcing us to stay home, I have more opportunities to puzzle. Now that Cyndie has developed a new interest in puzzling, I am all the more enticed to feed the passion.

But I am torn. I have another project that is competing for my attention at the same time. I’ve started another wood sculpture out of a section of one of our ash trees that was cut down last year.

Last night, it occurred to me that working on shaping the wood gives me the same mental rewards as putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It’s tactile. It involves transforming something into a visually appealing end result.

If you have seen the Pixar/Disney computer-animated comedy-drama film, “Soul,” you will understand the euphoric trance of being “in the zone” of our passions.

Working to shape the wood with rough grit sandpaper, I felt the familiar euphoria of pleasing progress that was just like the reward I get from puzzling.

It’s also a lot like devouring a good book. You don’t want to put it down. You are willing to sacrifice sleep to continue progress. When you are away from [the book/puzzle/sculpting], all you want is to get back to it as soon as possible.

You want more of those project endorphins.

I want more of those project endorphins. Who has time to eat? How am I supposed to go to work?

I want more time to be in that euphoric zone.

For both projects.



Written by johnwhays

February 2, 2021 at 7:00 am

8 Responses

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  1. I think I have a similar taste for puzzle-project endorphins, but my puzzles of choice tend to look like this: and require that I place the pieces in an incredibly specific order, otherwise the puzzle’s image will not appear…


    February 3, 2021 at 9:53 am

    • Love this! You recognize that rewarding feeling when it all comes together.
      One person’s entertaining puzzle is another person’s work.


      February 3, 2021 at 12:11 pm

      • What I’ve shown in that image happens to be from my mobile game “side project”. Which for me, is a lot more like an entertaining puzzle and a lot less like work! Although similar, the enjoyment factor is very different when there are not budget limitations and stakeholders and other such factors involved.


        February 3, 2021 at 12:33 pm

      • I can totally see that. My puzzles wouldn’t be nearly as fun if faced with those factors.
        I’m going to keep that in mind while soaking up the endorphins as I lollygag my way through the home projects currently underway.


        February 3, 2021 at 12:42 pm

      • John, I think it’s time for an igloo.

        Steve R.

        February 3, 2021 at 1:01 pm

      • Don’t tempt me. Our snow cover is kinda paltry for good block making, though. My outdoor projecting has been more along the lines of splitting firewood, which is both a good physical workout and a mental reward. I LOVE having a season or two of wood drying in the shed.


        February 3, 2021 at 1:36 pm

  2. Sounds like time to retirešŸ¤£! I live that feeling now – going from project to project all day long (knit/spin/puzzle/read). Must get any chores done quickly (cook/shop/laundry) so I can indulge in project time!


    February 2, 2021 at 9:07 am

    • You inspire me! Thanks. I look forward to a time when we can hang out together again and take turns helping each other with our jigsaw puzzles.


      February 3, 2021 at 7:33 am

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