Yeah, don’t let the door slam on your arse on the way out 2016. What a shitty year. I’m not the only one that feels this way, and I’m so looking forward to 2017. In the meantime, I hear you asking ‘Jane, what have you been doing?’
Well, I’ve decided to give sewing a go. I purchased a wonderful 1970s Singer sewing machine and I’m reading a great book on how to sew. One of my main concerns has been getting things to fit. Once you hit anything past 35 years of age, chances are your figure isn’t going to be standard. Deciding not to be defeated by this fact, I got my friend to come around and help me make my very own dress form after seeing it done on Youtube. What this entails, is putting on a tee shirt then getting your very patient friend to wrap you up in duct tape. Yup, you end up feeling like a storm trooper, but once you are wrapped and ready to go, your friend cuts you out and you stuff the duct tape shape with wadding, and et voila!! You have your very own custom-made dress dummy.
My advice is, don’t do it on a hot day. It’s quite full one being strapped into your tee shirt in duct tape. I lost a fair bit of hair at the back of my neck when it got caught in the tape, and it’s almost impossible to move once it’s all been taped onto you. I laid on the floor so my friend could cut it off, but getting down there was quite the journey.
As 2016 departs, I like to think I’ve learnt some new things about life. Mainly that kale smoothies and kombucha tea are not miracle workers. That learning anything new (sewing, crochet, writing a book) is going to take time to master. You have to brace yourself for failure and slow improvements as you make your way. And lastly, that finding happiness in the things around you will make you healthier on every level, and is far more effective than a sauerkraut infused, fair trade, organic, vegan, raw-before-four salad any day in my books. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and a fabulous 2017.
As the year draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the art of learning, because I’ve tried a few new things. This year I’ve learnt how to crochet, begun how to learn the art of sitting with people and listening (pastoral care), and am re-learning how to sew. I haven’t touched a sewing machine in 30 years… Someone summed it up beautifully when they pointed out, when you begin to learn anything new, you will have the vision of where you want to be (sewing a ballgown for the MET gala) versus where you actually are (a polar fleece pillow for the ferrets’ cage).
I’ve learnt you have to accept that you are undergoing an apprenticeship in doing it wrong, until you know how to get it right. After a meltdown at my sewing machine this afternoon (the bloody threads kept breaking!), I’ve really taken on this process. I’m going to get it wrong for a long time before I get it right. I remember the first real dish I tried to cook. It ended up being a disgusting vegetarian dish of basically raw potatoes in horrible sauce. Nearly 30 years on, I can cook almost anything. Ahh, the journey. I think that’s what makes a lot of people old. Being too scared to learn new things. It’s really humbling to sit at the bottom of the mountain, but without that vision of what you want to be able to do, you won’t have any journey to take. So, I think the coming year is going to be very interesting in terms of ‘learning’.
I really want to learn how to sew and make my own clothes (goodbye mass consumerism), I want to continue learning french (hello nearly 300 days straight on Duolingo. I could probably order a beer in french now), and I want to learn how to light up my miniature dollhouse. Middle age is typically represented by women going crazy for craft. But you know what, going crazy for new learning is pretty fucking fabulous!
Not to mention writing my next book!!! So on that note, I hope you all have a happy run up to Christmas. It’s not the happiest time of the year in my personal history, and I know there are many others out there that feel the same. I guess that’s what I like about learning new things. It makes me feel alive, when things like Christmas just make you feel … sad. So, get out there and find your new thing you are going to learn next year. It will make you feel fabulous.