You know, I’ve seen so many funny pandemic tee shirts during the last year and a half. Ones like “I was social distancing before it was cool” and “Free hugs – just kidding don’t touch me” or “I’m tired of being part of a major historical event.” If I made a tee shirt for this phase of my life though, I think it would just say “Goal Not Met.”
Years and years from now when I am a very old lady, I imagine little children will ask me about the great pandemic. “Did you really stay home?” they will ask me, and I’ll say “Yes, for months and months.” They’ll stare at me all agog, and ask more questions and I imagine that they’ll ask me how we were ever able to do it. To cancel our jobs and stay home and not see our families and have little kids do school online and to not be able to see people you loved, or to travel or to even go to a store that sold a tee shirt or get a haircut and in my mind, there is a moment when they say “How did you do it?” and I will explain that I am RIDICULOUSLY bad at predicting stuff, and also a massive optimist. That whole time, I will tell them – that whole time I was always convinced that it wouldn’t be much longer, and that things were about to get much better. I think, my darling knitters, that this, this incredible combination, might be the thing that has saved my sanity, while simultaneously leading to the least successful phase of my life, if you go by goals.
Every minute of this whole shebang, I have set completely ridiculous goals based on the belief stated above – that this thing is almost over, and we are POISED FOR JOY. I have to say, so far I have really been super wrong. I mean, catastrophically wrong… I have not been correct about a single thing. I set a goal or make a prediction, the goal gets smashed (usually because I was wrong about the prediction) and I come back for more, cheerfully certain that sure, I was wrong last time, but this time, this time the fact that I was wrong last time only makes it more likely that now I will be right.
I am ready to admit now that there is something about this thing that uses up energy and makes goal meeting impossible. Is it that it’s so unpredictable? Is it that if you admitted to yourself for one little minute that you don’t know when pandemics end or what the future holds that you’d have to acknowledge how long stuff has been screwed up for? Is that why I can say to myself “Stephanie, you have only 1.5 sleeves to go on that sweater. That’s an evenings work. Goal set!” only to discover somehow that time has ceased moving normally and the next day I’ve made only a tiny bit of progress but somehow started something else? I mean what is going on?
I admit there have been a few spanners in our personal family works. Quite some time ago, when I leaned that Meg and Alex were happily expecting again, I was so
terrified thrilled overwhelmed that I promptly ordered a baby blanket kit and set a goal of weaving a million hopes and dreams into each stitch.
Was coming along too – getting big, and the weeks passed and Meg and I started talking about how she might announce their good luck, and enough time passed that I got brave and set a goal to embrace this wee one completely and bought matching jammies for them and Elliot and…. well. Just shy of the 2nd trimester mark, this babe’s heart stopped beating and obviously those two previous goals aren’t goals anymore. Just being here, whole and present in this time, supporting my family, being a good grandmother and knitting something other than that heartbreaking blanket is my goal now.
When these goals aren’t met – be they big or small, my fault or not, I respond with typical Stephanie Zeal™. Usually I set another goal. Something bigger. Mostly, because I’ve been a goalsetter and somewhat of a failure (like almost everyone, it turns out I’m not perfect) my whole life, this doesn’t get me down. Not terribly. Usually I can shrug it off, and try again. Like with the retreats. Do you know that when I cancelled the March retreat in 2020 I thought there was a good chance that we’d be back in June? And in June I really thought that November would do the trick? I just keep thinking that any minute now, things are going to get much better.
This is what I was thinking around this years Bike Rally. I thought we’d all be vaccinated (we are) I thought that would mean the virus would mostly go away (thanks for nothing arsehole Delta) and I thought we’d be able to all ride together to Montreal. Well, goal not met. Bike Rally leadership announced that even though we couldn’t all ride together to Montreal, we’d have local rides (Toronto, Kingston or Montreal) for just two days. Well, that wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but c’est la vie, by now I should have predicted that I can’t predict anything. (I know, it’s a complicated thought process.) Then our gathering limit was set too low to have training rides, and now the gathering limit is high enough to have training rides but you have to take the Subway to get there and people with unvaccinated little people in their immediate families really shouldn’t be on the subway if they can help it and…. the rally crept closer and Polly-f**kin-Anna over here (that’s what my mum used to call me) kept thinking it was going to get better any minute and I would wait patiently until it did.
Well, let me tell you GOAL NOT MET. Nothing has particularly improved with the pandemic- restrictions and problems are still in place and now I have three massive problems. I think I also have solutions, but with my goal setting track record public now, I’m not sure.
Problem One: There is still a pandemic on, and The Bike Rally powers that be changed the date of the ride, hoping for a little more time for restrictions to ease. So…Given that Ken and I need to keep Elliot out of any transmission chain, we’re not feeling the big group love. Cam had plans to be in Montreal on the new dates, so… this year we’ll be driving to Montreal to ride there. It’s a much smaller group, we can do the whole thing distanced without getting on the subway, and the only person who can’t make it is Pato. He’ll ride here in Toronto because right after he’s going on his (very) long delayed honeymoon. Ken, Cam and I talked about it and decided that was an acceptable excuse. We’re going to Facetime him all day. He’ll love it. Problem one, solved.
Problem Two: I am undertrained. I’ve done as many training rides as I can on my own but … well. There’s no denying that I’m not ready. I’m going to count on the fact that it’s just 200km, and hang in there. (No, I can’t believe I typed “just 200km” either. Blame the optimism.) With that classic Stephanie Zeal™ today I am going with Ken on my first official training ride. He needed help sweeping and I couldn’t say no. It’s 105km of hills in what’s looking like some pretty oppressive heat. If you have thought about donating but were waiting for the right moment – anytime today starting at 10am it would be amazing to get a ding on my phone, or any of Team Knit’s phones. We will all have them turned on. If I can get through today, I’ll feel a lot better about the ride I think. Problem two… well maybe it’s solved we’ll see if I survive.
Problem Three: Team Knit in terms of fundraising is… well it’s Goal Not Met for all of us. That’s on me. In years gone by I’ve blogged and done karmic balancing gifts and stayed right on top of everything. This year (see above) I waited for things to get better, and they didn’t, so now it’s time. I see that. There are six days to go before we ride, and that means I’m going to need to break a land speed record for fundraising. It’s one thing for me to sit around in my cozy house, well fed and watered while waiting for things to get better, but that’s not how it is for PWA clients. They can’t simply wait for things to get better, and I know they’re counting on me, and the force for good that is knitters. Our donation links are here:
Ken (he’s so close!)
Now- here’s the deal. I’m going to start up Karmic Balancing gifts again this year – just briefly. We’ll do it in a few giant bursts and details on how that works are below. (Hint, same as before.) In addition (because I have been delaying it, sure that things are going to get better and any minute it will be easy) If we make our goals, I promise that I will blog 5 days a week for at least a month. (I’m kinda hoping that’s enough to form a habit again.) That should be exciting for all of us, since eventually I have just got to finish that blue striped sweater, as well as the linen one that just needs a single seam.
I know meeting these goals isn’t going to be easy -but I have a lot of faith in knitters, and their ability to spread the word. Better than anyone else, we understand cumulative action, that while each of us may only be capable of a small gesture, the biggest knitted blanket is made of thousands of tiny stitches, and the whole thing falls apart without each of them. That’s what I’m thinking. Now – I’m off to ride 110 kilometres of hills in the blazing heat. I’ll blog tomorrow if I live. (I’ll instagram all day as I go.)
Karmic Balancing Gifts.
If you donate to anyone on our little family team then please send me an email letting me know you’ve done so. Make the subject line “I helped” and send it to stephanieATyarnharlotDOTca. (Note the .ca it’s a Canada thing.) Include your name, address, and whether or not you spin. (For the love of all things woolly, please use the subject line. It makes your email go to a specific folder and you have no idea what a difference that makes to my sanity.) You don’t need to say what you gave, or include proof. I know you’ll do your best, whatever that is, and I know you wouldn’t lie. (If you’ve already given this year, obviously you should send an email.)
Now, we know not everyone has money to help with – so we’re taking all kinds of help. If you can figure out some other way to do that, that counts. Maybe you can tell a friend. Maybe you can post about it to social media. Maybe you can forward the email to people in your family who will give… There’s lots and lots of ways to help, and if you can figure out a way? Send that email, letting me know you did. No money needed. (Of course, money is always good too, and even the smallest gifts make a big difference.) I’ll draw randomly from those emails to redistribute the gifts.
If you want to contribute a gift, It makes me less bonkers if you do this: Take a picture of your gift. Email me with the subject line “Karmic Balancing” (that’s important) with the details, picture and a link, if you want me to use one. When one of the helpers is chosen for a gift, I’ll email you the address, and you can ship it right to them. (It’s not a bad idea to let me know if you have shipping restrictions If you only want to ship within Canada or the US, for example – I’ll keep track.)