Having just celebrated a significant birthday that ends with a zero, I've been told that I now qualify for full membership in the Society of Curmudgeons. I must confess that I used to worry that this would happen. But as time went on I realized it was a losing battle. I think its part of my New England upbringing. We're trained from an early age. So I began to embrace the idea, even aspire to it. Secretly I've been practicing for years. What does membership offer? Lots! My favorite thing is that you get to be opinionated. Period. No name calling, no questions asked, no judgment passed. Not once you're a curmudgeon. It’s just a given that a curmudgeon will be opinionated. And now that my age ends with zero again, I've come to realize that I've got plenty of them. Now, you must know that I wouldn't bring this up if I weren't going to take advantage of it and offer you an opinion or two. So here goes. You know what gets my (cashmere) goat? (Curmudgeons are always complaining about their goats being gotten.) New Year's resolution! Why? Because too often, these goals are so lofty and life altering that they simply aren't realistic. "I resolve that I won't eat chocolate in 2010." (Words you'll never hear me say.) "I'll have washboard abs by Valentine's Day". In Ergonomics Land where I live, I often hear people talking after one of my classes about how from now on they'll always sit properly when they knit. Or, that they'll stand or walk while knitting every 30 minutes. Or that they'll always have a balanced project diet so that they don't strain themselves. These are wonderful goals but, depending on the individual, they may be unrealistic. The problem with a "resolution" is the living with it. That is, you have to change your behavior. And depending on the behavior, that's not always an easy thing to do. And there's more. We feel guilty, even defeated, if we slip from the goal, even a little, which we're very apt to do when making a behavioral change. And once we feel defeated, we often give up. So I, a fully vested Curmudgeon, say to you, "Don't beat yourself up!" (Curmudgeons often pepper their speech with directives and exclamation points.) My wish for you this year and forever more is that you won't strive to be perfect! Instead strive to be better. If bad posture is what makes you hurt, try using better posture more of the time. If you're getting out of shape because you sit to knit too long, try standing (even a little) while you knit - or walking, or making bigger movements when you pull yarn off the skein. And then acknowledge your accomplishment! A little self-appreciation for your "betterness" will motivate and encourage you to continue. So now we have started a new year and one of my goals is to send tips your way about how to improve your knitting ergonomics - it's safety, efficiency and productivity. But please just take small bites, chew them thoroughly so you can digest easily, and then come back for more. And remember that if you slip, it’s no big deal. New Year's resolutions are for amateurs. Real pros know that the changes happen every day, not just December 31st. Take it from me. I'm a curmudgeon.
Knitting teaches patience. Ergo, I knit.