Sometimes my worlds collide in the strangest ways. At one of their last Sunday breakfasts together, my two boys sat drinking coffee, having laid waste to an enormous pile of pancakes and bacon. They were both a little pensive. Colton, about the four years ahead, and Johnny about the four years behind.
Rubbing the stubble of his unshaved chin Johnny said, “Man, I wish I was in your place, Colton, just going off to college. I wish I could do it all over again. I would have done things so differently.
“I’m not gonna lie,” Colton said, “I’m definitely worried about the work in college. What if I can’t do it? What if it’s too hard for me?”
“Just go to class, and do your homework, “ Johnny advised, getting up for another cup. Yeah, I mean the start of anything is always going to be hard, and there is always going to be a learning curve. If you recognize that, and change your attitude and perspective about it everything is much more manageable. It always takes a while to get going, and if you quit when it gets hard, you never get anywhere.”
I’m sitting there listening and wondering how he got so wise when he looked at me and said, “Right, Mom? I mean It’d be like if someone started a knitting project and moved onto a new project when it got hard. They don’t really have anything to show for it. They have to trudge through the hard parts to get to something tangible and worthwhile.”
I nearly choked. “Um, yeah, absolutely,” I said, guilt knotting my chest as I thought of all the unfinished lace and other fiddly/boring shawl things stowed in the upstairs closet.
Last week in the newsletter, I asked you to tell me your number one issue with knitting right now. I was pleased by the number of you who responded, and I was honored by your candor. Many mentioned having time to knit, and others mentioned specific techniques they struggled with. And one lovely knitter said,
“My first knitting challenge is my tendency to procrastinate or put a project in time-out when I am coming to a section that I think will be difficult.”
Of course. We all do that, don’t we. I get it, and I’m not here to tell you it’s bad. In fact, I think it’s essential to take a moment before we dive into something daunting. Isn’t that what a time out is—a chance to take a moment to breathe and regroup – a chance to see if we’re in the right headspace to tackle the challenge at hand. Sometimes we’re not. Sometimes we simply don’t have the mental energy to give to a particularly challenging project right this instant. It’s way better to put our project aside for a bit until we can give it our full time and attention than to wade on into it and make all the mistakes.
It’s okay to take a moment. What’s not okay is to decide that you can’t do it. You can absolutely decide that your project is boring, or you don’t actually want it anymore, or that you’re just not ready to devote the necessary time and attention to it, that’s fine. But if you love the project, and it’s just that you’ve hit a bit of a rough spot, stop a moment. Think. Breath. Get help if you need it.
Because everything is hard before it’s easy. We're here to help you get to easy.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop at a safe social distance around the table. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, I understand, and be part of the community on the video podcast. In person, or in spirit, you are always welcome here.