Monday, January 01, 2007

The First Day

I’ve never been much for resolutions. Every year that has gone by has brought its challenges and accomplishments, but I’ve never felt the need to list out things I plan to accomplish during the coming year. However, my life, at least up until a couple years ago, has almost always included various milestones that helped each year pass with a feeling of progression, of moving on to the next stage or next challenge. Specifically, school provided this structure for me.

I spent my entire childhood in school, transitioned directly to four years of college, and after a brief couple of years off, I returned to a part-time master’s program that ate up another 4 years. But, now I’m done. I’ve been done for a little over 3 years now and I’m starting to feel like I’m treading water. I don’t have children, so I can’t use their milestones to mark my own. I started to feel like I was going to finish the year with nothing to show for it. A whole year in which I end in pretty much the same spot I started in.

That depressed me. However, I realized that this whole ‘knitting thing’ provides some really great evidence of what I did in 2006. In fact, I looked back and could see all of the things I did, in fact, accomplish last year. I also realized that I could use public resolutions to lay out for myself things I hope to accomplish next year, things that at the end of 2007, I can look to and say: I did A, B and C and made some really good progress towards D. I am also looking forward to incorporating some of the things that have become more important to me in 2006 into goals for next year.

Given these thoughts, 2007 is going to be the year of simplicity. I’m tired of things piling up. Where there is room to simplify, I’m going to do it. In my knitting life this means a couple different things. First, my goal is to reduce the clutter associated with so many unfinished projects. I joined the UFO Resurrection Challenge 2007, during which each month of the year, an old UFO is brought out and either finished or frogged. I figured this was a great way to work on those backlogged projects, but I didn’t count on the feeling of freedom I would get by eliminating the pressure of feeling I should work on ALL of those projects before I start something new. I can pick one out each month, which means I can don’t have to feel guilty about the others. I also could put those projects away and clear them off of the coffee table. I was always afraid that if I packed them away, I would forget about them entirely. But since only one a month gets worked on, I can pack the rest away until it is their time to shine.

My other goal this year is to concentrate on using what I have and tread lighter on this planet. For me, this means appreciating the extra value inherent in the things already owned and consuming less. Again, this has huge implications in my knitting life. I have a nice stash. Why not use it? (I know, that’s crazy talk!) My recent financial issues taught me to think about my stash in a new way. In fact, during all my Christmas knitting I realized that there where quite a few projects ready to go! So this year, I’m going to knit out of my stash. I’m not going to forbid myself from buying yarn, but I am going to work primarily on projects that I have the yarn for or nearly all the yarn for now. Not only will this help in trimming down, but think of the money that I can save this year! After all, this money will also go towards our other goals: our own property and our own business. It really is win-win.

A new year is a clean slate, might as well take advantage of it and get something done!

So, with that I wish you are yours all the best for the coming year!


The Stitchin' Sheep said...

I really like this post. I came to some of these same conclusions a couple of years ago. I bought and read The Complete Tightwad Gazette book (I definitely recommend it). It really helped to change my attitude toward spending (resources and money). And, having kids and all the junk that comes with them has given me a new appreciation for simplification in my life. One of my current goals is definitely to simplify our lives in terms of the material possessions that clutter our home. I'm so happy to see that I'm not alone with these thoughts (does it have something to do with the age we've reached - we've had just the right amount of time to accumulate more than we need??).

Good luck with all this. I'll be happy to watch your progress.

Rachel said...

Those sound like excellent resolutions, both knitting-wise and life-wise! Good luck with the implementation.

I did want to say that I know what you mean about the lack of milestones at this phase of life. As a kid and in school, it seems like you're hitting milestones every other day, and then it comes to a screeching halt once you have a job but no kids yet. I have often had a sense of a lack of forward progress for that reason. All I'm saying is you're not alone, and I like your idea of looking at knitting progress as a way of observing that SOMETHING really did happen this year!

Nonnahs said...

You have a great stash- I'm sure you will be able to find lots of projects up in there. Can't wait to see what all comes out of it!

smug sheep said...

these sound like great resolutions. Good luck with your goals

Cristina (CrissyPo) said...

I know what you mean about the milestones thing. I didn't even write a Christmas letter this year because I felt like nothing major got done or accomplished. Hopefully next year I'll get more done and I'm definitely using up more stash!

Melissa said...

wow, what great goals! Simplicity is so underrated.
Happy New Year!