Clarity/Focus –>Curiosity/Happiness

On this last day of 2021 I’m thinking about my Word of the Year, CLARITY. I never live into anything as much as I hope or intend to… including Words of the Year. But maybe the only way we ever really see anything is in the rearview, so I’m looking back on ways that some things in my life came into focus this year… whether I was seeing them clearly at the time or not.

I clarified a purpose for this blog: to reflect on the intersection of making/crafting and faith.

I clarified some ways my knitting life has impacted me (beyond creating a closetful of warmies).

I clarified my 100 Dreams List.

I clarified my thoughts about (or at least some of my issues about) work.

Eight days into November, I (finally) clarified what I wanted to write about, and on 11/30 I completed NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row.

And the biggest of them all, in November, I clarified a Next Step: I wrote a cover letter and cobbled together a resume (my first in 20+ years) and applied for a job… which I officially begin on Monday.

2022 WOTY: Curious

My Word for the new year came to me as they often do: out of nowhere.

Every morning I write 750 words (exactly) of stream-of-consciousness journaling. Usually it’s a combination of knitting project planning, “what I got done yesterday,” and “today’s to-do list.” It’s not Deep Thoughts, but it helps get all the stuff swirling in my head out. And now and then something semi-insightful surprises me.

So I was spinning through all the things I’m wondering about how my days will change as a working person. I know it seems ridiculous (even to me!), but it’s been many, many years since I’ve been employed. Apart from occasional short-term gigs I’ve never been an independent contractor and balancing freedom and responsibility. So there’s a lot to wonder about. And the word that kept coming up was this one: CURIOUS.

I can try not to be fretful (about work, life, future, husband’s career, national crises, kid’s college choices, my own wellness…). Instead, I can approach all of these things with curiosity.

I’m good at being curious! I love learning, finding things out, assimilating new information—and all these begin with curiosity.

My favorite thing is that CURIOUS isn’t focused on an outcome. It’s a perspective, a moment-by-moment choice to step back, detach, look at things differently. Being curious means not getting hooked by emotion—whether that’s fear, anger, sadness, joy. It means looking beyond those gut-reactions, observing, being interested, and staying open.

2022 Resolutions: Happy

As I’ve written before (this time last year) I’m pretty much “over” New Years Resolutions. As a kid, I’d spend the days after Christmas FILLING (and I do mean filling) a sheet of notebook paper front-and-back with all the things I wanted to do in the new year… and 30+ years later I could still fill front-and-back with ease.

Reading back over the post I wrote one year ago today, nearly everything I said is still true. The things I wanted to work on, I still want to work on. I engaged them with varying degrees of success in 2021, and they’re ongoing. Okay, fine.

So what makes 2022 different from all previous years? The biggie, of course, is that I’ll be working. So with much of my time now structured and committed, how can I make the best of the rest of it?

Instead of plans, goals, resolutions to be/do better, I’ve made a short list of what would make me happy this year. Mostly small things, some culled from my 100 Dreams. I know there’s a whole big branded version of “Happiness Project” stuff out there, so if you want to go deep into it, get to Googling. But as for me, I’m keeping it simple.

This little list is specific things that make me happy in themselves. They’re not “for” anything more than that. If, a year from now, I can say I’ve done these 10 things, I’ll be happy. And that’s plenty.

  • Learn to make eclairs.
  • Find at least six new meal recipes, ideally ones that make good leftovers for lunches.
  • Complete violin Suzuki Book 2.
  • Establish yoga practice.
  • Attend the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival (fingers crossed it’ll happen IRL).
  • Start using a teapot for afternoon tea.
  • Weave down my stash of stole yarns.
  • Do some writing activities: could be revising NaNo novel, gathering Advent devos into a self-published book, attending online writing retreats, taking online courses… just do some.
  • Read at least 12 “daytime books” (that is, ones I need to be awake for) and keep a book journal.
  • Collect my First Day Covers into an album, and (maybe?) work on reorganizing/renewing my stamp collection. (Yes, I’m a nerd, leave me alone. 😆)

I know the Usual Suspects of New Years aren’t there—Meditate, Pray, Eat Right, Exercise. They’re hovering in the background, along with Visit the Dentist, and Make a Doctor Appointment. These are all good and important and I have intentions to do all of them. But they don’t specifically make me happy, so they don’t make the list.

2022 Knits

2021 brought more yarn-stash “enhancement” than I intended (do you like how I blame the year instead of myself? LOL). I’m going in to the new year with a long queue of pattern + yarn matches for planned projects. Since my “no new yarn” intention for last year was… basically a bust, my knitting plan for 2022 is simply to knit up as much as I can of what I’ve accumulated.

I’ve narrowed down to four projects that I really want to make this year. I also know I want to make a black/white wrap and a multicolored wrap with my Advent skeins, and there’s a project I’m considering that will likely be a real challenge. But mostly I’ll be looking for perfect pairings of patterns and yarns, and knitting what feels good in the moment. (Curiosity + happiness are at play, even here.)

My short list:

In a way, my knitting plan is emblematic of my plan for the year: a balance of specific things I want to do, and openness to what else comes up along the way.

Bottom line:

I want to feel good… whatever “feeling good” looks like for me. I want to feel good about (finally) working, and getting healthier (I haven’t felt good in a long time), and what I accomplish for myself over the next 12 months.

There’s one more bit of clarity I gained in the year we’re leaving behind: that what feels good to me and for me is unique—to me, and for me. What relief, and what rejoicing, I feel about that realization! On the eve of this new year, I wish the same for you. Relief, rejoicing, and just plain feeling good.

Stay well, friends. And happy new year. 🙏🏻

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