Third Time’s the Charm

Sometimes, I just feel like I’m juggling things and not doing a great job of it.  Work, personal life, knitting, family time, all those good things.  These past few weeks have been really jam-packed for me, and that’s great in a lot of ways.  I’ve spent a good chunk of time visiting with various family members and doing fun stuff with them, wedding planning marathons with Joel as well as taking care of some of the bigger projects around our home, doing a really thorough cleaning to prepare for not only out of town company but also for having family over for dinner, game nights, and just general merriment.  We’ve switched over to a whole new database at work and I’ve been going all OCD with making sure that every single client I’ve ever seen is not only in the database but is also correctly listed – some of my clients that are open are listed as “do not serve” or “no-show” or “wait-list”, and clients that have been closed for years are identified as still active.  It’s one of those tasks that no one specifically asked me to do – going through old files and making sure they’re up to date – but that I really wouldn’t be able to feel good about not doing.  I think that if I had been with the company a few years longer or had a bigger and more unmanageable caseload, I would feel different.  But the purpose of the new database is to give a full view of the information we have on each person.  If a client from 3 years ago resurfaces, I want our intake coordinator to not only see that she or he came in for services before but that they worked with me as a therapist or no-showed 3 times before finally being closed.  That sort of thing.  It was slow going at first, but now the end is in sight (I’m fairly certain I can have gone through all of my files by the end of the day on Friday), and I really feel like I’m crushing it.

But I still just feel like I haven’t done the things I meant to or set out to do.  And that makes me think of those quiet periods that I adore so much, the ones where there’s nothing huge or pressing that I’m working on, not a lot of things scheduled on the calendar, and most of the items on my “do” list can easily be ignored until later.  The times when I relax on the couch with a book or my knitting or a movie and just enjoy the quiet.  I love those slow periods…but then I get into the middle of all of this busy-ness, and I think that if I had just crossed more stuff off of my “do” list during one of those moments, I wouldn’t feel the need to juggle so much.  I would have things accomplished and crossed off of the list already. 

I’ve been doing this mindfulness exercise this week from this book that I adore, “How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness”, which is to leave no trace.  You pick a room in the house and for that one week, you try to leave no trace of yourself behind when you leave that room.  Now I’ll be honest, I haven’t really been focusing solely on one room in the house, mostly because I feel like I have my hand in so many pies right now.  But it’s been making me think of the deeper lesson of this exercise, which is all of those “little things” that you need to do but put off to do until the next day.  How often do I put something insanely simple on my “do” list, like “Email So-and-So” or “Send Thank You Note to Blah Blah”.  These are always tasks that it would take me under 10 minutes to do, but I just bump them to the next day.  I know that it’s not like I’m sitting on the couch, eating bon-bons and letting my brain melt with daytime television…but it sometimes feels like that when I start to question why I didn’t just put the skein of yarn back into the cabinet rather than letting it sit on the end of the coffee table for 3 days to “remind me” to put it away.  Writing a quick entry in this blog has certainly been on that list for several weeks now.  It should be something I can do in 10 or 15 minutes without even really trying, but it becomes a task instead.  I don’t feel like I do a lot of time-wasting activities – I’m not the type of person to spend hours on the internet or social networking sites, I don’t zone out in front of random television and actually don’t even really turn on the TV unless I have something specific to watch…and yet somehow, there are still not enough hours in the day.  Maybe if I can re-mold my brain into seeing what balance truly is and figure out what it means to me to “leave no trace” of all the half-started projects of one’s life, I can start to see the 24 hours of the day differently.

Speaking of half-started projects, I am now on the *third* casting on of a project.  What monumentally difficult project is causing me so much grief, you ask?  Is it the wedding canopy?  The latest sweater?  Something devastatingly amazing looking that involves colourwork, cables, AND lace?  None of the above.  It’s a baby hat. It’s not even an unfamiliar baby hat – it’s a baby hat pattern that I have used and successfully finished at least half a dozen times before.  And I’ve nearly finished it the first two times that I worked on it this time…but then, almost always a dozen rounds from the finish line, I ripped it back out.  Why, you ask?  Extra yarn.  I know, I know, my desire to use up every last bit of yarn on a project will surely be the death of me…but honestly, what am I going to do with 49 extra yards of some random fingering weight yarn that I was already trying to use up by making this particular project with it?  This hat comes in 3 different sizes – 6 month, 12 month, and 24 month.  It’s adorably cute, and small, and portable, and I’ve done it so many times that I don’t even really need to think about what I’m doing, I just do.  I needed a little project to take with me to the movies, so I snagged this yarn and the needles, tucked it into my purse, and by the end of the film had finished the edging.  I kept going through staff meetings, and breakfasts with Megan, and episodes of Homeland with my uncle…and then during one of those episodes I realized that I still had a pretty big ball of that yarn left and not a lot of decreases to go.  I had cast on for the smallest size, but clearly, I had enough left over to probably bump up at least one.  So I ripped back and started over with the 12 month size.  On Saturday, after an exhausting day with Joel of painting the sunroom (which looks AMAZING now), I was watching the movie “Mud” – absolutely fabulous and not to be missed – and again within spitting distance of finishing…when once again, I looked down and realized I still had a baffling amount of yarn left over. 

So now I’m back at square one, making the size that should fit a 2 year old, and praying that when I get to those rotten decreases, I don’t once again have the urge to rip out and start over.  This project was supposed to be my travel knitting, a little palette cleanser while I work on huge and monumental projects like knitting a wedding canopy with laceweight yarn or knitting a sweater from a pattern that makes me wonder if the copy editor might have been hitting the sauce while writing up the opening instructions…and this hat, which will fit a wee little person’s head and should by no means be this difficult given the number of times I’ve successfully completed it, has been restarted more times than either one of those projects combined!

Ah well…at least I can cross one thing off of my “do” list.  Blog entry – done.

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