women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Time Flies...

"We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose."

-Charles Baudelaire

There is a certain sameness to my days. I get up around 8:00, perform my morning ablutions, head straight to the coffeemaker, check my email, then settle in for several hours of knitting.

I come up for air (and a bagel with cream cheese) around 11:00 and read the morning paper (And you thought the dinosaurs were extinct!) before returning to my work, usually design or clerical work on the laptop. Oh, the joys of being self-employed...

Next time I look up. the clock says 2:00 and I begin to wonder...

Where did the day go?

I once complained to my friend Greg that there were not enough hours in the day. I was spread too thin. I couldn't manage my life. There just wasn't enough me to go around.

Instead of providing suggestions as to how I could accomplish more, he instead gave me some of the best advice I've ever gotten.

"Have you ever considered, Susan, that there are exactly the right amount of hours in each day? Twenty-four today. Twenty-four yesterday. Twenty-four tomorrow and the day after. Maybe you should try adjusting your expectations, instead of the clock. I think you might stand a better chance of success with that."

Now the only time I really feel the pressure of time is when I am hung up on a design difficulty. Finding exactly what the yarn wants to be can be an exhausting and time consuming process.

Knit. Look. Frown. Rip out. Search for inspiration.

Cast on. Knit. Shake head. Frog. Eat chocolate.

Knit. Modify. Consider. Try to accept. Groan. Unravel.

You get the drill...

But eventually, it always (or almost always) comes round right. I just have to keep turning until it does.

For example:

I picked up some Blue Sky alpaca at my LYS on Friday. I had some vague idea of an Oatmeal Scarf. I tried nubby texture stitches; I tried cables; I tried lace. I messed all day Saturday with that yarn, to no avail. I set it aside with a sigh of frustration and worked on something else for a while.

And Monday morning I knew what to do with it.

I combined a deeply defined rib with a smocking technique. Twisting the stitches on the rib gives added depth to the pattern and three lines of smocking on each end add a little pizazz. I tipped it with a little brown alpaca for interest.

I have enough to do at least a hat and matching scarf. I may even do a little fingerless glove to go along. I am calling it Cafe au Lait.

It meets all the criteria for my aperitifs collection. Easily memorized pattern with quick results. Simple.

And just like that, time marches on.


My days unspool before me, each one much the same as the last; same as the next as well.

Baby Boy queries me, "What's up Mom?"

The answer seldom varies, "Working."

I presume he (in his youth and inexperience) finds the sameness of my days boring and uneventful. I remember feeling much the same in my younger days. I once dreamed of a life full of surprises, action, sophistication, and success.

But I have learned the toll that an overly busy life takes on my psyche. I have felt the distance between heart and mind. I have run with the rats and found the destination less than promised. I have reshaped my life, bringing what was once a scattered soul home again.

Baudelaire posits two ways of escaping time: work and pleasure. My work is my pleasure.

And my great blessing.

Timing is everything...

Of course, some of us simply sleep it off...


Donna Lee said...

I love what your friend said. I'm going to write it out and put it over my desk at work, right next to the paper that says "the world will not fall apart in my absence". And tomorrow, I'll realign my expectations.

FiberRachel said...

Oh boy, talk about timing, I have just received some wonderful yarn from a friend in Australia in a couple of shades of natural wool. That oatmeal scarf is a PERFECT project for that yarn!! When's the pattern due :D:D
No rush mind you, LOL

Lucia said...

Is that oatmeal pattern reversible? It's lovely, in any case.

I have that "where'd the time go?" feeling a lot, only these days I've been mostly reading political sites, nothing so productive as knitting. Lately I've started to do a bit more knitting, and feeling more grounded, and knitting some more... turning, turning.

Ann said...

You have a very wise friend! I am also trying to do too much within a day & usually end up all frustrated. I must remember his words & try to manage my time. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I really like this! Something different, something for sturdy, warm yarns.

Doesn't Kitty know the perfect background for her presentation! The colors in the shawl/throw are similar to Zinnia's. Very pretty.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of not enough time...I better get crackin'. I'm leaving for the fiber fest and have to get animals fed, bags packed, yarn wound to knit in the car....geesh!

BTW, I tagged you on my blog to share 7 weird/random things about yourself on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this entry is wonderful, just what I needed. I was holding a one-woman standoff between myself and the people I know who have busy, exciting, adventurous lives. They aren't criticizing mine, exactly, but there is a certain sense that I must be missing out. I'm just aiming for some serenity and service. It's wonderful. Exciting is fine, but then I find pieces of myself all over the place, and I have to collect them and breathe. Thank you for validating my experience!

La Cabeza Grande said...

Pip may be asleep at the wheel, but Rocky is wide awake on my keyboard! Ah, callow youth.

This post clearly delineates the progression of expectations brought on by time and experience. I haven't completely lost sight of the old me. She's inside somewhere, running from room to room - daring me to hide and seek with her.

I like the way you think. Surprised? Aperitifs are right up my attention span alley.

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