What do slugs, rabbit holes, dental hygiene, and bowl-turning have to do with each other? You’d be surprised to hear that they all came up in our recent conversation with OBP member Nancy Mattsson. Nancy shared with us a little about her background and her insight into the curiosities of life.

Nancy is originally from Haddonfield, New Jersey, but spent time in Massachusetts before relocating to Maine 26 years ago. Always curious to learn new things, Nancy joined the OBP to acquire new skills that she hopes to transfer to various projects around the house, especially in the area of woodworking. She is a ferocious learner and has taken many classes here at OBP. Of course, if she had one month and a $50,000 budget, she’d focus on bowl-turning. She thought it might be difficult to spend the entire budget, but she’d stock up on chisels, lathes, drills, and invest in making “how-to” videos for OBP members. She likes the idea of helping others with how to get from Point A to Point B, which is something she has found herself faced with from time to time.

However, it sounds like she put that to rest when finding her way around Cambodia this past December and that was no small feat! With only her cell phone, a large language barrier, and an incorrectly booked bus ticket, Nancy was able to successfully navigate the cell phone technology and the bus company. It took about six hours, under pressure, but she was eventually victorious. She gained confidence and faced her fear of failure, reminding herself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

While Nancy would love to return to Cambodia again someday, she is content for now to spend time nurturing her adventurous spirit back here at home. A favorite pastime is gardening, where she explores nature and “digs stuff up” (like slugs). What else would one expect from this dental hygienist /  microbiology instructor, after all? While she still doesn’t claim to be an expert, being in her yard is one area where she goes down the rabbit hole and loses track of all time, where passion feeds her curiosity.

And where does Nancy find her inspiration? From self-improvement expert, Dale Carnegie. She was given one of his books in her early 20’s (How To Stop Worrying and Start Living) and found his advice and principles words to live by.

“The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today.” -Dale Carnegie 

Nancy has found one way to do today’s work superbly is by listening more to each other. “It’s OK to just shut up sometimes,” she says. “It’s a gift to really hear what someone is saying.”

Here at the Open Bench Project, we are thankful for the gift of having Nancy be part of our community, where together we listen, follow our passions and inspire curiosity. Where we will always strive to help each other get from Point A to Point B.

And then some,

Your Friends @ OBP