Plans for 2023
I remember I had big plans for my 55th year, and things were moving along pretty well until I had two SCADs, a day apart, in late August of 2018.
I can honestly say it has taken me nearly five years to try and come to terms with things and figure out how to live a new way. I consider myself to be a work in progress, but I have had a few breakthroughs.
I have discovered I need to be prepared to be at odds with my health care team. We will not always see eye-to-eye and I may have new information about my conditions before they do. While they like the fact that I am an informed and motivated patient, they do not always appreciate my stubbornness about being heard and taken seriously.
I have learned that I don't have to be a production craftsperson to still be a maker, exercising my creativity. When I first embraced The Knitted Raven, I still harbored hopes of being able to regain some semblance of my former business, albeit scaled back drastically. But I discovered I don't really have the "spoons" to pull that off and have anything leftover for anything else.
I was making videos regularly up until last spring and still dabbling in a little jewelry making when the to-do list for our home became the first order of business. We needed a new roof, an energy assessment and a plan to address whatever came out of said assessment. This meant finding a white hard hat and getting busy finding contractors and planning the work that needed to be done. Needless to say, combined with regular household living and family responsibilities, I had little energy left for videos or anything else.
I tried carving out a little workspace in the hallway of our little house, but that soon became a dumping ground for anything that had to be set aside while things were hectic. So I picked up my knitting needles, tucked myself into the corner of my living room, and started knitting.
I knit a lot over the fall and right through Christmas. It was my salvation in many ways. When the rest of my life seemed to be running amok, I had complete control over my knitting. The soothing rhythm of the stitches, the texture and color of the wonderful yarns, helped me feel like a maker again. I published a couple of free patterns on my blog and on Ravelry. I made a bunch of Christmas gifts. And as I was knitting I contemplated my creative future.
About the same time, I discovered some new YouTube channels and Instagram accounts that gave me real food for thought. Most were run by women who were carving out their identities through a path of trial and error, and a willingness to color outside the lines.
Some were making unconventional life choices and defining success in very different terms. Some had embraced "slow craft" with an emphasis on hand work and taking joy in the process as much as the outcome. Others refused to be constrained by societal norms and dress and live in ways that might be termed eccentric, cottagey, vintage, or historically inspired.
Every one of them is mindful of how their states of mind are impacted by how they choose to spend their time. And they are determined to be as joyful and content as possible.
So I started asking myself, what do I really want my days to be like? How do I want to fill the hours between waking and falling asleep? If I pretended I was starting over, how might I proceed?
First thing I had to do was silence the grown-up voice in my head that had already begun to scold my frivolity. (I often picture this voice as looking a bit like Sam the Eagle from The Muppet Show.) My defense was the assertion that as a double SCAD survivor, who also has other life threatening conditions, I've earned the right to enter my second adolescence early. And for the first time, that voice fell silent! And in that blessed quiet, ideas and plans are being nurtured!
I've decided that 2023 will be the year I begin to make my own clothes. I've already got my first sweater completed (see picture above) and another on the needles. I've been perusing different fashion eras and find myself drawn to the 1920s. I like the shoes, hair styles and comfortable looking silhouettes. I've purchased a couple of practical and simple modern dress patterns, as well as one from the 1920s, as a way of getting my feet wet this year. And I've begun to sort through my existing clothes, making plans for how I'll proceed as my previous fashion choices wear out or no longer fit me (I've slimmed a bit in the past year).
As a maker who has rarely made much for myself, this does constitute a shift for me. My main customers will be me and my partner Jenn. (She too is fed up with fast fashion and is looking for better fitting options.) For this past Christmas, I knit her a cardigan which she wears almost every day.
I've also been growing out my hair over the fall and am hoping by March to work my way into a short bob cut that will compliment my 1920s and more modern choices. My long-term goal is to have a wardrobe with hardworking pieces that can be mixed and matched, and to buy as little ready-made clothing as possible, and to have a hairstyle I can manage myself, which compliments this.
So that's my big plan for this year. Do you have any plans in mind for 2023? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear about them.