I have schedules. Plenty. Run training, hot yoga, and gym sessions take up most of my week. I even schedule time with my friends. I like the consistency of it; I like how regular it is.
Saturday was not regular. Saturday was a day of no plans. I opted out of my long run to let my body heal and rest and found myself staring at a full day with no plan in sight. Naturally, I took myself to brunch at The Sprout for a tofu scrambler so I could mull over what I could possibly do with a whole day to myself. Got in on a little cupcake action too…
Once finished with brunch, I found myself wandering towards the local knit shop, Cast on Cast Off. The owner, Katie, is a wonderful, encouraging yarn enthusiast who knows her fiber! As I wandered around looking at yarn for some knitted gifts, women started gathering in the shop. One by one, they sat down and took out a knitting project and started knitting. Not sure if it was the pull of the yarn or the warmth of the people, but I found myself sitting and casting on a pair of socks. I sat, knit, and listened to the natural flow of conversation of women who clearly had been knitting together for some time. Then I heard it. One word. Lifeline.
Despite being a knitter for about 5 years, I have never knit a lifeline into my work. I was gobsmacked that such a brilliant thing existed. Basically, it is a piece of waste yarn that you strand into a row below a difficult part of the pattern (video here). This lifeline sits there. Waiting. Just in case the pattern you set out to complete gets too tricky. Too complicated. Too messy. Reach a point where you cannot continue and you just rip back to the lifeline so you don’t lose the whole project.
I was amazed. What a simple concept. I thought about the projects I ripped apart with the intention of starting over only to abandon because starting over seemed too much. I thought of the beautiful knits I had wanted to create and the projects I had avoided due to the trickiness of them. Lifelines can let me tackle the harder projects without the fear of having to start from scratch every single time I mess up.
Training for my 2014 race schedule requires me to run long distances that sometimes, I just lose all motivation to run. Being a running coach with other people depending on me to show up and run has given me a lifeline. If my own plans go to pot, then I have my group to fall back on in case running becomes overwhelming. I didn’t want to run this past Saturday, but I showed up and ran 8.5km with my group on Sunday…because they are my lifeline.
Constantly balancing between feeling like I am capable of doing anything, and terrified I’m trying to do too much happens. Often. Emotional eating or destructive thoughts were, and sometimes continue to be, part of the negative lifelines I use when I struggle. Slowly, I am replacing these with people, groups, and strategies that keep me afloat when everything goes wonky. Slowly, I am threading in new lifelines so the plan isn’t abandoned, so I don’t have to fear starting over from scratch.