It feels a bit surreal that 2019 is now well and truly underway! This holiday season passed in a blur this year (as it tend to do), but I felt like, for the first time in a long time, I had a really restorative "Christmas Break".

My husband and I flew overseas, back to my childhood home, and while I started the trip thinking of All The Things I Would Get Done, I ended it feeling really peaceful, with nothing on "The List" getting done, but a lot of little successes in the meantime. Does that make any sense?

I suppose, it was a little reminder on how to get back to myself. I spent a lot of 2018 Getting Stuff Done, powering through my to-do list, and feeling really proud of my accomplishments. But it's funny; in the midst of Doing Things, I seemed to lose myself in the process a little bit. Which is something I didn't even notice until I stopped.

When I set off on my trip I packed a knitting project - Saroyan, in a beautiful lambswool, angora, alpaca blend - that was just the thing to finish up on my trip. And then I thought I'd do one of the projects from my Christmas yarn, and I brought a sewing project to complete. Nice, tidy, efficient. Like a lot of the making that I'd done that year.

Spoiler alert. I didn't finish Saroyan, nor did I do anything at all with my Christmas yarn.

You see, what actually happened when I arrived was a tonic that I didn't know that I needed. After travelling I was tired. So I let myself rest. And I spent a lot of time with the people I loved. I was re-centred. My sister works as a caretaker at our local church and is also a knitter. During the church's annual yard sale, someone had donated some half finished knitting projects - we think from a local maker who had recently passed, and she just couldn't leave them to languish.

Over the Summer I was ill, and during that process I had a really random anxiety set in where I genuinely (however irrationally) feared what would happen if I died and left my husband with a bunch of half-done things. It broke my heart. Obviously, I'm not dead. But when my sister talked about these half-projects that she rescued, those emotions flooded back. And I let myself get carried away with them. I ignored everything I had planned, went with my gut and finished these two sweaters, with no other goal than to not have them be half-projects anymore. I didn't want them, they didn't mean anything to me. But it felt like the right thing to do.

And in letting go of my list to create simply by my own emotions, it was like something unlocked in my head. I "realised" that I could create things just because I felt like it without rationality, or lists, or anything else. I hadn't realised that this anxiety I had about finishing things meant that I wasn't letting myself do things on a whim. I created a "one after the other" mindset in myself without realising, and lost a bit of the creative side. The irony in the fact that fear of leaving half-finished projects behind was alleviated by finishing someone else's half-finished projects that were left behind is not lost on me, by the way.

Just to note, its not like I didn't enjoy making things in 2018 - because I did - but I had ended up putting my creativity in a box on my to-do list. I itemised my "fun time" without even realising it. The Christmas break gave me the chance to stop myself, and let go.
So armed with my own creative freedom again - what did I do? Well, I had brought a sewing project with me, and I did that with my Mom. And we had so much fun that I did another one. I do not need any more pillows in my home but dammit I was enjoying myself. It was really nice to spend time learning from my Mom (she sews, it's never been my strong suit), and I took total advantage of the time we had together. I even added unnecessary fringe to my pillow. Just because I wanted to. I also just played around in a colouring book. Totally unproductive. Totally peaceful. If you're looking for an excuse to spend time with people and not have the TV on, colour in a room with them. Its great. I also started a project with some of my sister's stash yarn (not even the nice stuff I got a Christmas!). It's a double knit scarf with funny little sheeps on it. It's going to take forever. It makes me smile.
The lesson learned from all this really, that I'm hoping to take through the year, is that it's OK to relax a little. It's OK to leave stuff behind. The best part of being a creative person is the joy that you find in the making process - and the people you get to share that joy with.

Happy stitching,
Molly x


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