Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I am always thinking about expectations. With every role you take on in life, you take on certain expectations from other people and you make them for yourself. Usually the point at which expectations crash into reality is a little like a thunderstorm - noisy, full of electricity, and a little scary. Getting through those storms caused by expectations meeting reality can be tricky.

So here I am today and I learned a little about expectations yesterday from a dear friend. I'm also thinking about what expectations I have of myself in my life - money, job, friends.

Lately I haven't been very demanding of myself. I've kept up my responsibilities, but I haven't pushed myself as hard as I usually go. My list of personal expectations is along these lines - save money, work hard at what I do, take care of yourself, work out, keep the apartment clean, take care of the cats, stay in touch with family and friends. I have been doing the minimum in some areas and more than I need to in others. A lot of it I've blamed on health issues, but really, do I need to sit indoors every single night just because my stomach hurts? I don't like that - so reality has crashed into my self-expectations.

(Really, this is a fancy way of saying I could knit a sweater with all the cat hair that is on the carpet today.)

One area of my life where I have tried to totally let go of expectations is as a knitter. I admit it fully - I will never use all my stash, even as small as it is. Now why is that a problem? Stash equals possibilities, and I always want possibilities in my life. I expect that I will be reasonable with my finances and not spend my emergency fund on yarn, but aside from that? I don't really expect that I'll finish x project on x day. It really doesn't matter - it's a hobby. So I like having that one outlet where my expectations really don't matter.

Knitting is a word-picture for me, an illustration of one of the great truths of life: all you can do is knit the next stitch. When you don't know what you are doing or how you're ever going to get through those sleeve decreases or how many times you are going to have to knit this swatch to get gauge - all you can do is knit the next stitch.

That is one of the single most meaningful lessons in life I have ever learned. When you don't know what you're going to do next or how you are going to solve this thing in front of you and how can I possibly do x, y, and z...just do the next thing.

Just knit the next stitch. You can do that, can't you? Well so can I. And that makes me really, really encouraged and happy today.


Anonymous P-la said...

Thank you. That is exactly what I needed to hear "just knit the next stitch". I feel a bit better now!

4:20 PM  
Blogger smelk-o-matic said...

What a cool post.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Sara in WI said...

Well said! Thanks!

11:51 PM  
Blogger mrspao said...

I think that each day has its own possibilities and tomorrow is just another opportunity for possibilities. I'm now looking at my growing stash and having to restrain myself from ordering something else - too hard.

I have a sweater-full of cat hair to vacuum tomorrow too.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Peevish said...

Well said. I have to keep reminding myself that my knitting isn't about producing finished objects on time, or (if we're going to be really honest) necessarily about finishing them at all. It should be a joy, a positive thing to have this great hobby. And the more stash = more possibilities.

5:06 PM  
Blogger silverarrowknits said...

I totally agree with what you are saying. A year ago, I went through an incredibly harsh breakup. I had just taken up knitting a little bit prior to it. Even when I didn't know what I was doing with the rest of my life, I knew that all I needed to do with my knitting was knit the next stitch. It was comforting to know what I was doing even if it was just for a garter stitch scarf.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Lovely post, Jen. Thank you.

7:15 PM  

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