It has been all knit, all the time in 2018. It has been a year of making, designing, selling, wearing, and learning about as many knit things as possible, and it is the most fun I've had at work in a long time.
I typically kick off a new year with a list of goals in hand, relieved to have packed away all traces of the holiday season prior to the stroke of midnight. I really love that clean slate feeling.
So I love making goals for the new year, and I definitely have some for 2018, but for this moment I prefer to suck in a deep breath, slow down for a few minutes, and reflect on the passing of 2017.
I organized the nursery much earlier this time. I thought my preparation schedule last time was appropriate, but I was wrong. We ended up in the hospital for an emergency delivery on the day that the crib was scheduled to be delivered and we were (translation: my mom was) sewing curtains while I nursed and pumped madly. Babies have their own schedules.
The truth is that I didn't want to be a mom until later in my life. Somewhere around thirty-three or so is when I got curious, and it wasn't until thirty-five that I felt confident in wanting to go for it, or at least in opening the door to it. Kids were, in the opinion of the members of my marriage, messy, expensive, and not suitable for travel. No fun, and not worth the trouble, we had concluded. I'm still not sure exactly, but I think what happened next is that biology took control of my brain.
My husband and I have been trying to find our happy place with regard to the holiday season, and it has been a bit of a struggle.
His family seems to under-celebrate, while my family shifts into over-the-top mode. I've seen him look physically pained during the chaos of my family's present-unwrapping free-for-all, while I have been nearly apoplectic at the idea that there is no Christmas Eve champagne-and-appetizer tradition on his side of the aisle.
I agree with him that financial hardship is no way to start the new year, and I am bad at moderation, so I vowed this year I would try harder. Instead of too many expensive presents, and fancy holiday cards, I tried to focus on the helpful and handmade. I did have a little bit of success, in the form of homemade cookies to share, and special but inexpensive gifts for my parents, but even so, the holiday sparkle I sought remained elusive.
I dislike the phrase "I don't have time for...".
We all experience exactly the same number of hours per day. Every person on this planet. The people that designed Apple's new watch have the same number of hours as the mom who stays home with four kids and the attorney that never sees her kids and the twenty-something with a dream who can't seem to get her tush off the sofa to get started.
I typically start the new year with optimism, a list of specific goals, and as much of a clean slate as I can create, but this year I just wasn't feeling it. Most of my free time in 2014 involved selling a house and disassembling our life in Houston, then finding a house and re-creating said life in Minneapolis. And while that project was a success, it felt like I had made very little progress on any other goal, which led me down the dark alley of why-bother. We've all been there, right? It's not that I was planning on giving up or anything, it was more that my plate is full of the leftover goals from the last couple of years. Also I can't shake the notion that even though things feel smooth this month, as soon as I commit to something, the universe will shake my life snow globe again, as it inevitably does. I don't mind the occasional curve ball, but 2015 doesn't feel like the year that I want to pressure myself and then feel bad when I need to rearrange and be flexible.
I changed majors a couple of times in college. Ok, more than a couple. Towards the end of my junior year, I was browsing the course catalogue and a class caught my eye that didn't seem possible: "Pants Lab". I wanted to change majors, again, immediately. The fact that this could be an actual class for credit made me understand I had that I had not given my future enough thought. A class entirely devoted to the particulars of pants??? Impossible. Who knew that you could go to a respectable college and earn credit for making pants? Not me.
As I prepare for tomorrow's departure from Houston, it's natural to look back at the last few years and think about the big picture. In between packing boxes, playing with the baby and stopping for an occasional deep breath (usually while reaching for an adult beverage), I have had to periodically remind myself that this uncomfortable transition will be over soon and we will obviously make it through. My thoughts turn next to all of the things that have happened to us here.
Houston has felt to me like a life-sized, three-dimensional game of Chutes and Ladders. Mostly ladders that have enriched our lives, and made us stronger, happier and more prosperous, but also a few big chutes, where we having been going along and then found ourselves thrown abruptly a few steps backward, scratching our heads in dismay. It has been a time of extremes and big lessons in adulthood.
Luckily, the sum total is overwhelmingly positive, so while I am hoping for slightly lower number of surprises in the next few years, it would be folly to wish them away entirely. Instead, my focus is on improving my ability to roll with it when they inevitably come.
On that note, until next time, Houston. Thank you for the adventures, and thank you for being better than expected.
Starting down a new professional path at the age of thirty has been humbling, periodically carrying me past the point of healthy humility, and instead dropping me into morass of self-doubt. It's not supposed to be easy; that makes sense to me. If the act of chasing a dream was not covered in roadblocks and obstacles, more people would do it, they wouldn't be called dreams, and mind-numbing dead-end jobs wouldn't exist. However, the blows to my self-confidence still surprise me when they come.
Having sought my new skills from affordable, non-prestigious community colleges has been an awesome experience overall, and looking back now, I am satisfied with my decision to not upend our financial and geographical life to get into the art school of my dreams instead. Three years after I started this journey, I would just be finishing (or would have another year to go) and would be carrying unbelievable, law-school sized debt. However, one thing I forfeited by building my skills this way was access to professional development, and deeper learning afforded by more advanced courses.
Job searching in fashion design has been harrowing so far; intimidating enough that I occasionally think about heading back into education. Five years of experience already! Summers (kind of) off! Helping people! And then, I have to force myself to recall the sleepless Sunday nights and the misery in the pit of my stomach, which had only slightly dissipated by the fifth year.
In the midst of this push-and-pull feeling, yesterday something awesome happened. A job was posted at a place where I have dreamed of working. One of those impossible dreams, that I don't even say out loud. I use the word impossible because three years ago, I had none of the skills described in the job posting, and yesterday, when I applied for it, I had at least the basics of all of them. I say impossible because in the past, my husband's job would have prevented me from even entertaining the fantasy of this job, but now, geography no longer forces limits on my job search. Suddenly, I realized that even being in a position to submit a serious application for this job represents unbelievable progress. Progress in my skills and happiness, and progress in my marriage and life.
We celebrated progress last night with some bubbly, and for the first time in a long while, I didn't feel worried about what to do next.