I’ve been working on a project for the past three and a half years. It’s a dream I’ve had, something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl but never really felt qualified to attempt until just recently.
Let me clarify. It’s not like I woke up one day suddenly feeling qualified, it’s more like I had a birthday and thought, “Holy crap, I’m forty-one, and apparently this aging thing is not going to stop for special me. I’m going to be old one day. I’m going lose my eyesight or get arthritis or dementia. I will draw Joan Crawford eyebrows on my forehead, argue with empty chairs and accuse my dogs of stealing the silverware. I won’t even remember I had a dream, much less be able to accomplish it.”
Since I knew my dream could take years, I decided I’d better get busy. Take the leap.
Before I go further, a little background: my dream involves me entering (via a product I create) a certain professional arena that’s not completely exclusive but possibly harder to break into than, say, The Rotary Club. Here’s how it works–I must be ushered in by a hierarchy of gatekeepers who, recognizing the undeniable fabulousness of my product, unlock the gates and allow me to enter. Where we all have a big party, followed by everyone skipping off to their respective banks to cash their checks. (I mean, I guess. I’ve never been inside, remember?)
I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about. Unless you’re one of about a thousand people I’ve already told. If not, stay with me.
As I stand outside the gates, pressing my sad face against the cold metal bars like an overgrown version of The Little Match Girl, I’m alert to any advice or guidance offered by the gatekeepers inside. And there’s a lot out there. Some of it helpful, some not. One piece of advice in particular caught my attention–that is the recommendation NOT TO BLOG about your particular process of creating the product or about your adventures in gatekeeper wooing. (Even though, to be fair, those guys blog endlessly about what my process should look like, but whatevs…I love you, gatekeepers! Keep up the good work!)
Anyway. So. NO BLOGGING about my process. Check. Immediately after reading this tidbit of advice, you can imagine what happens. That’s right. I realize I’m going to have to blog about my process. I’m less than a month into this blogging thing, and, while there are probably no less than a zillion things I could write about (Who is the Most Shallow Kardashian! Libya, Yikes! What is Nutella!), there is only one blog post my fingers itch to type.
I figure if I’m going to go down that dark path–and oh, yes, you know I am–I should employ some smoke and mirrors. Like they do in those Bourne movies, where they call nefarious, need-to-know government shenanigans something friendly-sounding like Operation Daisy Chain. So you don’t realize that down in the CIA’s basement a bunch of guys are getting the dopamine sucked out of their brains and their DNA rebraided to make them super robot-soldiers.
So…in the spirit of Jason Bourne…drum roll, please. The project I am working on is…
OPERATION CABLE KNIT SWEATER.
That’s right. As far as you or anyone knows, I’m knitting a sweater. A large, fuzzy, multi-colored pullover.
Oh my gosh, now that you know, I have so much to tell you. Where do I begin? Well, I have knitted and knitted and pulled out stitches and knitted all over again. I’ve risen early and worked late into the night. By candlelight. No, just kidding. Regular lamps only. And here, at the tail end of the process, I just have to say…I have fallen in love with this sweater. I have. I couldn’t help it. It’s so soft and pretty and when I smell it, it smells like joy.
It’s nowhere near perfect, I know that. I’m aware of it’s flaws. I could never knit exactly what I saw in my head. I drank far too many Diet Cokes while working on it, and there’s no telling what effect the massive doses of aspartame had on it. I’m sure it’s painfully obvious in some spots, maybe a lot of spots, that it was knitted by an amateur.
But you know what? I don’t care. I’m proud of it. And more than that, I’m very, very proud of myself for finishing it. The bottom line? It’s MY cable knit sweater, dropped stitches, uneven arms and all. And it all happened because one day I woke up and realized time was slipping away faster than I knew, and I’d be so disappointed in myself if I didn’t at least try.
I don’t mind being on the wrong side of the gates because I did what I set out to do. The rest is up to those mercurial gatekeepers. I’m trying not to dwell. Instead, I’ll leave you with a thought.
You should try it too.
Whatever it is you’ve dreamed of–a sweater, a quilt, a macaroni necklace. Whatever it is, do it. I will celebrate with you and for you. Especially if you blog about it.
(And P.S. when I wrote this post, I looked up “sweater” in the online dictionary in order to find that awesome synonym “pullover.” Second definition: “one who sweats in a particular manner.” Just thought you might need-to-know.)