I thought back in January that I knew exactly what my 'B' post was going to be - my Bohus sweater kit. But then I got bogged down in the swatching process and too overwhelmed with studying for my college classes and didn't get a chance to do the fantastic research I envisioned in order to enlighten you all on this subject, which led me to pondering how easy it is for me to let my life get out of balance in one way or another.
The term 'balance' implies harmony and an equality of the parts of the whole that allows for smooth sailing. My life, on the other hand, has often been more like a fisherman snagging a big fish that is pulling him out to sea more than he is landing it!
I have three main areas where I have had to steadily work for years to keep things in balance: money, food, and time. I have always been heavily involved in volunteer activities, and gradually learned how to say 'no' when people asked for help, realizing that it was better to do one thing well than a shabby, under-committed job of several. I have become the voice of reason in our combined Headstart programs who asks if we are really ready for the size of project being discussed, and who is showing others ways to delegate, round up enough help, etc., so that good organizers don't fall by the way from burnout. Spending on stash has been more an 'eyes bigger than my stomach' phenom with me than being unable to resist the sensuousness of yarns... I have a bad tendency to think I can accomplish far more than there really is time for in one lifetime! Hard lessons learned, those!
Money is a different story... it is more a matter of being over-generous. Each year, we end up in debt at the holidays because we want to do so much for our family and friends. Over time, realizing that this is a pattern DH and I both participate in, we have installed certain mechanisms that allow us to work with this problem rather than it completely steamrollering over us; one is agreeing in advance on spending limits and austerity measures for the first quarter of the next year. I have gotten much better about not over-shopping as well, and have been busy finishing up projects and pulling new ones from stash in 2008.
Food may well be an addiction... there were times when food was scarce enough, both in my early childhood and back when my children were very small. I can recall making mayo sandwiches on white bread when I came home from grade school the last day or two before my dad's payday, and scraping a spoonful of peanut butter out of a mostly-empty jar for a snack near the end of the month when my kids were toddlers. I also baked and cooked from scratch all that time, to save on the food budget, which was constantly under attack from other segments such as rent and car insurance. I am pretty good at whipping up a meal from random ingredients, and didn't need to worry much about my weight until I hit mid-life. Over the past decade, I have spent a lot of time exploring how food issues affect me, and facing up to some of the cravings I have and whether they are healthy. My weight stays just a bit one side or the other of 'healthy', but I do have to be vigilant not to cross that line into 'overweight'. Staying in balance takes real work and attention.
Blogging and knitting are not listed in those top three life-balance issues, but I have to work to keep them in balance too. When I first started blogging, I wanted to be "Super Blogger", posting every day and providing witty and insightful information. It was kind of like wanting to be the popular grrl back in high school. As I focused on knitting, I realized that I had a lot to say, and loads of experience to share, but then so did a lot of other knit bloggers. Over the past three years that I have been blogging, I have had to compromise, and accept that sometimes the rhythms of my lifestyle shift and keep regular blogging from being a valid possibility. And that it's ok. I have discovered that there are certain people who like me and what I have to say, just like in my real-world life, but I wasn't superstar material out in the big, wide world either.
Blogging has made staying in balance with my knitting far more challenging. I am easily attracted by visual images, being a spatial-graphic learner, and get excited by so many of the things other bloggers are working on. Following Rudolf Steiner's Temperments theory, I am a sanguine personality, easily swayed to jump from one thing to another... I may even be mildly ADD; I know my sons are. I have been examining my stash this weekend and thinking about where IT will lead me over the next few months rather than where ideas from Blogland will. I have lots of good ideas and interests. I have a few choice items in my stash, as well as a huge Ravelry queue, but sometimes get to feeling paralyzed by so many choices.... do you? That is where meditating on balance and its importance in my life really comes in handy.
Therefore, this weekend I have been working further on finishing up DH's grand vest. As this photo shows, I have
managed to get one front done and the other close to bind-off. What you can't tell is that I am almost out of this deep forest-green Cascade 220. Knowing I wouldn't be able to get the same dyelot, and that I had originally planned to use black wool to edge the entire piece and the armholes, I am opting to finish the upper back with a black yoke. This pattern is from Felted Knits, and it feels like it is stretching on forever. I was complaining about the fussy little details awhile back, but my attitude has changed; I am now considering those as the finishing touches that will really set this item apart. DH works for the US Forest Service as a high country ranger, and goes off on 6-8 weeks of fire assignments each summer/fall so my idea in making him this vest was so he would have something unique from home to take with him. I am employing my best Zen thoughts to carry through to the end of the project.
Learning to be in balance is worth the effort, though effort it is for someone like me!!