Saturday, December 17, 2011

The End of the Year

The end of a year tends to trigger lots of emotion. It causes us to ponder what happened in the preceding 12 months. Often, we come smack up against occurrences that were fraught with anxiety. Sometime we even take stock of past glories. Many people tend to look forward as is the coming year means a giant do-over, a karmic get-out-of-jail free card, a fresh start.

I have tended to be this sort of person, and the new year has usually meant more to me than the inconvenience of remembering to put the proper date on bills and correspondence. I also admit that the onset of middle age has triggered the tendency to feel like time is rocketing by faster and faster. This year has been no exception.

As you grow older, you tend to accumulate things. Sometimes these things are material items, sometimes they are experiences, memories and wisdom. Sometimes these things are scars. The milestones change as one ages. As a child, years are marked by education, advancing through school grades, getting taller and/or bigger, growing more independent and capable. This trend continues through young adulthood: old enough to drive, old enough to vote, old enough to have sex, old enough to drink. The milestones are big, too. Graduating from school, starting to work, leaving home, getting married, having babies, getting divorced, changing careers. The material goods and memories expand: buying a car, a house, a pricey vacation, raising a family.

I have experienced a chunk of the things above. Not all, but a goodly chunk. I am not fond of some of the changes I am going through as I experience middle age: new aches and pains, less stamina and the feeling that windows in my life are starting to close as age negates opportunities. Still, I take stock of what I HAVE done both in the previous 12 months and in my life in general and I have done OK. I have a career, friends and have, in my smallish and local way, seen some nifty chunks of the world. I have seen things. I do watch out for fun, new experiences. I am not a wealthy person, but I have made decent use of my time.

One of my sadnesses of this year was the death of my mother. This is a milestone we don't tend to talk about above the tone of a whisper in this society. It's a big loss for me, although it was not unexpected. Still, Mom hadsome near misses mortality-wise and I did hope she might dodge the 2011 bullet. No such luck. I miss you Mom. I really do.

This has finally really lit a fire of "this can and will be me at some point" in my psyche. My Little Blog that Nobody Reads has chronicled mostly my knitting journey, but also has included some of my local adventures. I haven't posted so much of late for various reasons, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy.

I have finally reverse engineered a sweater I knit in the mid '90's and startedwriting up the pattern. I am very proud of this project in that it has been something I have MEANT to do for ages and never seemed to get around to doing. I have other knitting designs on the slate, but this was a colossal UFO, in that I made the sweater and never wrote it it. I can take the "incomplete" off my karmic transcript.

My project page on Ravelry has been the same way. I have more UFO's than Area 51 and it has become rather embarrassing. I am also finding that the process of digging through partly done knitwear is tedious. So too is the guilt of not finishing a handful of items promised to friends and family. The completion of my Green Thing referred to in the previous paragraph will be a huge relief. There are things I want to knit, but the pleasure is sapped by the anxiety of things I HAVE to do superseding things I WANT to do.

I have decided this year not to make a list of resolutions. Too much guilt when and if they go undone. I want to try and not feel over committed, but to take things a layer at a time, and FINISH things. I want to simplify and to reconnect with the pleasure of the process. For so many activities, if the process is not fun, then the finished project loses luster and becomes a burden--sometimes an incomplete burden--that contributes to clutter, frustration and irritation.

I watched my ailing mother struggle with being bored and overwhelmed at the end of her life. She did have some pleasure with a few friends at the end, but mostly she was ill and lonely. I know my end will come in time, but I want to face the second half of my life with aplomb and even enthusiasm. My knitting is my passion. I have learned a lot in the last few years about knitting, adding to my knowledge base in leaps and bounds. It feels good that I will soon add "designer" to my fiber resume. I can do this and I will do it. Happy New Year to all and sundry and onward 2012!

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