Friday, August 19, 2011

It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be.

I've been away for a long time. A very long time in blogging years. It's been about 10 months since my last post. And even before that I hadn't been writing very much. My excuses are many and varied. In the twelve months or so I started (and recently finished!) massage therapy school. My divorce was finalized. I moved. Twice (sort of). And just when I thought my 50/50 custody arrangement was working out, it stopped working out (for reasons I will probably write about at a later date) and I am now a full time single mom. I'm also trying to find a job and start a massage therapy practice.

I think we can all agree that those are pretty damn good excuses for not blogging a lot. Or at all. On the other hand, since I tend to think of blogging as therapy, maybe I should have been writing like a fiend. Really what I've been doing, in some ways, is hibernating. I was making the transition from being a lawyer to being a student again. From being someone's wife to being single again. From living in a kick ass condo to renting a one-bedroom apartment. Again. Not that I'm complaining. This is all necessary. It's part of my journey and it's all compost for the beautiful garden that is my life. I just wasn't in a place where I could share it in writing.

Several months ago I decided to start blogging again. I had it all planned out - I was going to do my first post in the spring and talk about how I was coming out of hibernation. It was going to be the ideal post for returning to blogging. It was going to be perfect. Spring came and went and so did my idea of the perfect "coming out of hibernation" post. So I tried to come up with another perfect idea for a summer post. And that was a bust (see above list of excuses for why I failed to come up with anything brilliant). Then the other day my daughter picked up some knitting she had started months ago which inspired me to pick up one of the many knitting projects I have in various stages of completion. The one I picked up is a lovely pink baby blanket that I started making for no one in particular last year. But now my sister is pregnant with a girl and it will be a lovely present (hopefully I can get it finished by the time she's born sometime around the end of this month).

As I started working on it again I realized why I had abandoned it in the first place. It's a somewhat complicated pattern involving yarn overs, slip stitch knitting and other increase/decrease shenanigans. At some point I "lost" about 18 stitches and the pattern won't work unless you have the right number of stitches on the needle. I've been known to "unknit" several rows of fabric or start projects over (several times if necessary) to get the pattern right. Sometimes I don't mind it. But there's no way I'm starting this one over - too much is done, it's too complex and if I do, I'll never get it done in time. So I did a work around (which I also do a lot). But because I didn't do it exactly right, the work around left distinct holes in the blanket. Small ones, but noticeable to me and anyone else who does more than just glance at it. I had a decision to make. I knew that if I started unknitting again to try and get it right, I would probably get so frustrated with it that I'd just put it down and not pick it up again for years. Or I'd simply not get finished in time to give it to my sister while her baby is still a baby.

I was close to tears, ready to scrap the whole thing and then it came to me - It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be. Once it's done, my sister and her baby won't care about the little holes in one row of an otherwise lovely blanket with lacy hearts all over it. They won't care at all. I could buy them a perfect blanket but that would have a lot less meaning than the blanket I made by hand with lots of love (and more than a few tears of frustration but they don't need to know that). If I wait until it's perfect, it will never get done.

Which leads me to another "a ha" moment. I've been putting off a bunch of things - like blogging - waiting until I had the perfect idea, or the perfect circumstances to start. I realized that perfect ideas, circumstances, situations or opportunities are extremely rare. If we wait for them, we may never get anything done. Mark Silver from Heart of Business recently wrote that we shouldn't be afraid or resentful of imperfect circumstances, because they are the doorway to profound opportunities to serve and love.

So my blanket for my little niece won't be perfect, but it will be. And I know my heart will be happy when I give it to her, imperfections and all. My first blog post after a long hibernation may not be perfect. But it exists. And I'm happy to be writing again, imperfections and all.