It’s been 15 months since we left New Jersey to move to Florida, 4 months since we left Florida to move in Vermont, where we currently live. Long story. I have not established a routine yet, every day has to be figured out, not a bad thing and a far cry from the mediocre existence I was floating in at a job that started off great 28 years ago but ended up a casualty to politics. As John Katz writes on his blog, Bedlam Farm, “…stasis and complacency are just a benign form of suicide.”
Last month, a friend I have not seen in twenty years came for a visit. She introduced me to the surprisingly addictive hobby of knitting. I’ve been fumbling with it since, spent hours YouTubing videos on knitting and purling, yarn-overs, then tried my new skills on knitting a pair of wristies to see something REAL, and not endless practice rows. I used the cheapest yarn I could find for my maiden voyage into garter and stockinette stiches but no matter what I did, the first two rows came out a row of curly knots. I cut my losses, cast on three more times only to knit myself more rows of scrambled yarn. Screw this, I can’t knit, I said to myself, and threw my little project against the wall where it poofed to the floor, still slung on its needle.
If I had known taking a chance and leaving my job and home would have been as hard as it has been, I would not have done it. Period. There, I said it. (All those memes about leaping, faith, dreams coming true!) I should have come up with a better plan, I should have been better organized in my decision-making, I should have gone to therapy.
I picked up the rejected knitting needle, pulled the cheap yarn off, cast around for a different project. Something totally different, I thought, start over. I vowed to keep going with it no matter what kind of mistakes I made, whether I gained or lost a stitch, whether the pattern got skewed, I swore I would finish it, even if it was full of mistakes, I would…will…make this work. It may not look the way I expected it to, it may not be as pretty as the picture, it may even be unrecognizable to anyone but me, but so help me, I was going to get this sucker done.
The thing was…is…the one clear thought that pushed me off my pedestal of professional mediocrity, was knowing I could do better, be better, there is more to me than marching from one day to the next waiting until Medicare kicks in. I am not sure who that someone is, but I would rather crash and burn and die trying than slide silently into my grave, retired at last.
The thing is…I did crash and burn. Some friends faded away, one went up in a puff of deceit, some stuck around but kept their distance, not quite knowing what to do with the nut in the corner. But the skies opened and new people arrived in my life, a dog trainer now soulmate partner, a dear friend from long ago showed up on my doorstep, acquaintances stepped forward into real friendship.
I got a third of the way through my new knitting project and realized I had missed a section of the instructions that would minimize the pattern. I could keep going and let the pattern fade or rip out a bunch of rows to try and fix it, taking the chance that I could ruin the entire thing. I had no idea how to drag a knitted piece off its needle, pull some of it apart, then thread it back on again and keep going. I could wreck everything I had done so far and I wanted to have a finished piece. But I also wanted the whole pattern, I wanted the best part to show. So I pulled it apart, the stitches sprang from their moorings, leaving a ragged row that had to be lifted back onto the needle in a sequence that made sense. It was touchy work, I held my breath a few times. The yarn is a bit ragged now, a little loopy in that section but it all went back on the needle, one way or another. I keep knitting and purling, the pattern is becoming clear again.