2016 was my year of getting healthy. I even had a theme song for it: Rachel Platten’s Fight Song. I knew that getting weight loss surgery (WLS) approval, and then going through the surgery itself and the recovery was going to be a tough process. I knew I would have to dig in my heels and follow every part of the program in order to get myself to a healthy weight. I knew I would have to improve my eating habits, my sleeping habits, my hydration habits and my exercise habits. Those things were actually pretty hard for me and knowing I would have to do them all at once was daunting. I also knew we had to get our old house ready for market, sell it and move into a new house. That is a lot of pressure on one person in one year.
I have never been very good at taking care of myself. And by that I mean putting my needs ahead of everyone else’s. Going through WLS forced me to learn how to do that. I’m really trying to hold on to that ability now that most of my hard work is done. So, once we were moved into our new place, and everything settled down, I decided that 2017 was going to be my year of learning something new. I decided that I would try things that scared me a little, or that were difficult or complicated. I also wanted to branch out and try more things just for the sake of having some fun.
I asked for the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Book for Christmas, so I thought I would start with that. I’ve always been fond of baking, but I had never backed much bread (or anything with whole grains). I baked a lot of bread and cookies in January, and learned so much.
I even spent some of my Christmas money on a banneton for rising bread, a lame for cutting the loaf before baking, a cool liquid measure, new liquid/dry measuring cups, three sizes of cookie scoops and a bowl scraper. I use them all regularly now and my family is really appreciating the baked goods.
In February, I forced myself to rip out an almost completely finished sweater that just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Now I’m nearly done with a sweater I really like knit from the same yarn.
I also went roller skating and jumped on the trampolines at Sky Zone. I realized I love trying new things, even if I’m not so good at them. To be honest, due to my mom/old lady bladder, jumping on the trampolines made me pee a little! But it was so much fun, I will definitely do it again. It felt like flying and I loved being able to get my body to do that. In fact, they have a fitness class based on jumping and I am considering taking it. I also lifted weights 5 days a week in February, which was interesting.
March is when I picked up embroidery again, and I’m enjoying falling into that rabbit hole. I love starting a new hobby and buying the accessories. Doing a sampler to learn new stitches is a lot of fun.
Plus, I have some beautiful zipper bags from Stitched by Jessalu that I’m keeping my projects in, and a cute pouch from my friend Lois (formerly Knittingsmybag) that I keep my embroidery scissors in. I like repurposing my crafty organization for my new hobbies. March is also the month that I started baking breads from my new Bread Illustrated book. I made Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day, Italian bread to eat with lasagna and brioche.
The Italian bread came out so good that I made it again the next week and I think it will become a regular bake. On the personal front, I had my eyebrows professionally shaped for the first time. I’m not sure if I want to keep that up, but it was a fun thing to do for myself.
I’ve been making a monthly scrapbook page to document my year of learning something new. At the end of 2017 I will have a collection of pictures to remind myself of all the things I learned. I also thought it was about time I documented a little bit about myself for my kids and their future families. Moms are often the ones who don’t appear in the pictures. I started my family at such a late age, I don’t know if I’ll be around to know any grandkids. I want to make sure my kids and their families have lots of memories of our lives together.
I don’t know what April will bring. I’m thinking of refinishing some furniture for my bedroom. I have a quilt top that needs finishing. I’ve finished Couch to 5K and I might start working on 5K to 10K. Maybe I’ll try to grow a few house plants (I’ve always had kind of a brown thumb, but my husband is a good gardener and he will help me). Maybe I will dye some yarn, or hook another wool rug. I’m looking forward to getting some furniture for my three-season porch and enjoying that space as the weather gets warmer.
I love that there are so many options for me now, both physically due to weight loss and craft-wise. I do miss the Knit 1, Heart Too podcast but it is very freeing not to “have” to knit for the show. I feel more able to do other things that interest me instead. Don’t get me wrong, I still knit every single day and that will probably never change. But I don’t feel guilty if I do something else for a few hours, and that’s a good thing.
What things are you trying for the first time? Any suggestions for me? I’m looking for a new rabbit hole in April!!