I’ll be the first to admit that since becoming a certified *adult* I have struggled to relax.
I never used to be like that, (insert broken record here) I used to be fun-loving and excited and passionate about life-consuming. But working and dating and living and growing older and just existing as a human body is generally exhausting.
In turn? I became anxious, tired, unexcited, and largely uninspired. But one day I saw I beautiful bundle of yarn and I decided to learn a new skill.
Learning a new skill is WAY easier than I expected.
Now don’t get ahead of me, I’m not crocheting circles around your grandmother or anything, I can only do a single stitch pattern. But I am pretty good at it for a beginner. How did I learn this skill, you ask? The time-tested Millennial way: Youtube tutorials!
The first piece I made was an utter disaster. I tried to make a hat, not just a hat but an adorable and cozy winter beanie. But I ended up making a goddamn eggplant hair net. I’m not joking, it looked like a hairnet that someone would wear if they had to serve prison food and it has the color scheme of an eggplant.
I showed everyone I knew because secretly I was a little bit proud that I had at least managed to make something resembling a hat. I was met with a lot of reluctant praise through gritted-teeth. Even my boyfriend told me that he would “keep the hat forever because it was something I had made with my own two hands!” but that sentiment landed my eggplant net in the back-corner of our closet.
This is what I always do: royally fuck it up until I somehow figure it out.
So I went back to the drawing board and had an expensive and montage-worthy trip to the craft store. Cut to: armfuls of yarn and many hooks later and I was ready to try again.
The big problem before was definitely the thickness of the yarn, which anyone probably would have been able to tell half-way through the eggplant disaster (myself not included). With new thicker and much softer yarn I was able to make a luxurious hat that my boyfriend still wears to this day.
So you can make a stupid hat, good for you!
Okay, so I have now accomplished a BASIC skill that just about every person knew 100 years ago. I mean literally everyone made their own clothes and goods back before we signed our souls over to Walmart and Target, so why does it matter? Truthfully, it doesn’t.
I went on a while just numbly crocheting, minding my own business, accumulating a box full of hats and scarves and pot holders and very tiny blankets that are now my de facto gifts at Christmas and birthdays.
It wasn’t until a couple of months later that I realized that I was actually a much nicer person for it. And trust me, it was a shock to us all.
How the hell did this happen?
One day I was sitting on the bed crocheting and my boyfriend said something that would normally have set me off on the express-train to moody city but it went in one ear and out the other. There I was, just crocheting away, and my boyfriend is standing with hands on hips asking if everything is okay because he is shocked that I have yet to explode.
“Huh? Oh yeah! Everything’s great! Check out the shawl I’m making.”
That is when it hit me: I was suddenly back to my old pre-adult self. I was cool again! I let things roll off my back, I let fights and arguments sail by, I looked stress right in the face and told it where it belonged. I was in charge and unafraid and independent.
How are the two things even connected?
It took me a while but I finally figured out that I work best when there is something distracting my brain. I have a loud brain, I think most humans do, and that’s why it’s so difficult to focus on one task without worrying about the other.
It all made sense! That’s why I sleep well when there’s a podcast on in the background, or I clean better to music track, or I drive better when I listen to NPR. My brain needs a track to follow other than the one I am on.
I realized that while my hands were working with the yarn, my brain was resting! In crochet you have to count your stitches to make sure you aren’t dropping any as you go and that is what my brain was doing, 1…2…3…, until it became a form of meditation.
I am certainly not a doctor but I do know that crochet is cheaper than therapy.
So now, if I’m sad I make a hat and if I’m anxious I make a pair of socks and so on. It’s a lot easier to project your growing concerns about adulthood into a ball of yarn than anything else. It’s healthier too!
Not only am I much nicer person, I am also much less moody and emotionally dependent. I no longer feel like I need people desperately to have fun, I have a hell of a lot of fun watching true crime television and crocheting like a maniac.
There is one big problem… I have no idea what to do with all these hats!