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I give advice to people I coach on the value of pushing beyond your limits when you’re striving for something. Whether it’s stretching your imagination, breaking barriers, widening boundaries, getting out of your comfort zone, etc.

And yes, I do take my own advice, sometimes biting off more than I can chew. I’ll share an example.

I don’t believe in making New Year resolutions because I find they don’t have sticking power. However, I do spend a few moments at the beginning of each year thinking about things I could do better, things I could learn and good habits I could adopt. I call this my new year’s journey. Since we can’t travel, the title turns out to be apt for my purpose. My 2021 journey consists of improving my meditation and mindfulness skills, learning how to knit and having a healthy smoothie each day. Easy things that I know I can get through and hopefully sustain. Or can I?

The improving part is going well, since I’ve been on the mindfulness bandwagon for some years. The smoothies are off to a reasonably good start. If I don’t achieve a smoothie one day, I blame it on not having the right vegetables in the house. Hmmm – whose fault is that? Mine and mine only, sigh!

But on things I want to learn – I wanted to learn how to knit. Knit properly, not just headbands or long useless things that could possibly serve as scarves (with a good dose of imagination). I thought it would be a fun hobby to design and knit some of my own sweaters, and maybe knit useful gifts for those who need them. Due to covid, I resolved to learn online, knowing that I could reach out for socially distanced help if I needed it.

Except for very basic “knit, purl” attempts at basic square table mats and such, taught decades ago by Sister Edgara in my Home Science class in Grade 8, I’ve never ventured to pick up knitting needles again. And now I know why.

How hard could it be? Well, learning a new skill means making mistakes, I told myself as I drove to my friend’s house, desperate to have her help in salvaging a monstrous creation that looked more like a ghastly deformed pouch than the sock I was aiming for.

Following the driveway-based, socially distanced knitting lesson that consisted of frantic gestures, unravelling of yarn and dropping of needles all over the place, Half the conversation was muffled by the wearing of masks.

Bravely I resumed my quest, but soon I ran into another hitch, or should I say, stitch, which was hard to figure out. Back I went to my friend for further advice on how to undo things.

Trying to figure out which stitch or needle to use when, which ones to drop and which ones to tighten, my learning journey started to feel like a job, not a fun hobby.

After many such expeditions to my friend and several unravellings later, my always-helpful son, who had watched this debacle unfold for weeks, waxed poetic: “Mom”, he mumbled, in true young adult fashion. “You know you can buy a pair of socks for a lot less than it costs to knit them yourself.” He went on to declare: “Besides, this is taking you away from other things that you love doing, and it’s getting you frustrated.” Wise words from a son who is usually “otherwise”.

And then, the proclamation: “Why don’t you take up sewing instead?”

I used to think kids said the cutest things. Somehow they don’t sound as adorable when they’re older!

One day I’ll write about my husband’s new year’s journey. Let’s see how his pans out …

Sigh. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy!

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