Finishability

Yesterday I made a lemon pannacotta and I experienced something I read about recently in a book. The concept of finishability.

In Revenge of Analog by David Sax, he talks about a resurgence of print and in particular magazines. This quote stuck out to me -

"A magazine has a defined beginning, middle and end and reaching that end is incredibly satisfying. Finishability."

Many things in life that once had finishability no longer do, and the dissatisfaction you experience from not ever being able to finish something shows up in areas you may not expect it.

Let's take work.

How many of us get a daily sense of finishability in our work? I dare to say not many of us. We are on very long-term projects, we are in a holding pattern waiting for resources, or our jobs are designed to be changing every day so you never really know when you are done. That changing everyday thing... we call that being flexible but it often denotes a lack of something else. We couch it as flexible or agile and call it good. But it leaves us wanting. It leaves us feeling like we never finish anything.

Thinking on that reminds me of a job I had in my late 20's/early '30s. It was the Internet Boom! Once a week I brought a baked from scratch treat into the office. They were gobbled up by colleagues through mouthfuls of "thank you" and "this is really good". My manager once asked me why I did it and I replied that it was something I could do that gave me immediate feedback, something I knew I had done and done well. This was at the start of the work world changing with the advent of ubiquitous internet. Looking back now I see it was a sign of things to come.

Reenter the pannacotta. On the night we got engaged we had lemon pannacotta at Fore Street in Portland, Maine. I have been talking about it ever since. Somehow it dawned on me (during Analog March) that if I wanted lemon pannacotta so bad I could make it myself. So I did. I found a recipe, bought the ingredients, prepared them and then served it after dinner to a husband who was delighted we were having dessert. And then it was done. I finished it. I will make it again, but for yesterday I was able to finish it and it felt satisfying. Finishability.