Life lessons from knitting.
August 30th, 2012
If there is one thing that knitting has taught me it’s this: The Process matters
Knitting is a pretty easy concept to understand, there are three basic steps 1.) Casting-on; getting the first stitches on your needle 2.) Knitting; you work your piece 3.) Binding-off; finishing your work. The most important of the three is not finishing your work. Did you hear me? Accomplishing what took days, maybe weeks or months to make is something to be proud of, but the most important thing is the second step, knitting or The Process.
This is the step that takes the longest. You knit, you mess up, you frog it (Rip it, rip it!) and begin again. You do this over and over. It’s frustrating at times, but mostly it’s enjoyable. How? You must be asking yourself. Well, because these are the inevitable steps you have to take in order to get to the finish line, if you knit enough you begin to understand that there is always a finish line. It makes it worth it and brings some kind joy in the action of just working each stitch one at a time. It took me a little while to really enjoy this game that we have to play with our yarn and our stitches.
I’ve struggled recently with this process in life. I want instant gratification–I want to be me again, with no sensitivities, just me. But I have to go through this to get to that finish line. Knowing that there is an end brings me enough comfort that I can open up to the process of transition. I don’t know if I’ll be back in the same way, but I take comfort in knowing that as long as I keep making positive strides I can get to a place where it won’t hurt so much anymore. Knowing that one day I will look back and say “That sucked, but I did the best that I could”, is ok but I want to look back and be proud of myself for ENJOYING this process when I was able to and letting the hard days come hard and fast and then moving on. Because the truth is, it has to happen whether I like it or not. And not bringing a friend dinner when she’s just had a baby is something that is really hard but something I would regret if I didn’t. Or just getting frustrated and staying frustrated is not the way I want to spend this time. I want to be able look back at this very small window of time and be surprised by all I was able to do even when I felt crappy. Because I do feel crappy, but I trudge through it slowly while still growing my own herbs (finally!) and knitting a blanket, and making new kinds of jam, and rekindling old friendships, and cooking people dinner just because I feel like sharing. And if I can do that when I feel crappy I don’t try to imagine what I can do when I don’t. People matter, and they shouldn’t be forgotten even when sometimes I just. don’t. feel. like. it.
This is the piece that suddenly clicked when I was knitting the other day. There is an end to The Process, whether it be The Process of buying a house, or The Process of moving, or The Process of grieving a loss, there is always an end. I’m not saying I smile and laugh all the time, I don’t. Or that I surround myself every day with pregnant women, I can’t. I’m not even saying that “Carpe Diem”-ing the snot out of every moment is even a little bit rational. All I’m wondering is doing these seemingly small acts, will they make a giant difference in the quilt that is me, will this take me from “I did the best I could” to “I am proud of myself” (with several pounds of tears in between, but it. got. done.)?
There’s a difference between punishing oneself and taking small bites at a time. It took me a long time to finally get to this place and maybe there won’t be a definite finish line, but it won’t be this hard forever and I hope that the small bites get more and more easier to swallow. I just hope I’m on the right track.