I thought by this stage in life, I’d be more “together.” I thought by now I would carry myself with grace and kindness. I thought by now, I would be calm and knowing and able to weather the storms we all face in life without being crippled by anxiety.
I think the problem is this: I never learned to knit. I think if I could knit, then my life would be on a clear and unobstructed road to the golden years.
When I learn to knit, I’ll be granted access to the contentment that has eluded me. I don’t expect all the good things at once. I will have to pay dues first. At the moment, all I know of knitting is you are supposed to say “knit one, purl two.” I have no idea what that means.
I know I’m not going to go from “beginner with the manual dexterity of a toddler” to “extreme sports: knitting edition” overnight. I am motivated, though. I have reached an age where I need to stop talking about how much I love the middle part of life and start to actually embrace the middle part.
When I learn to knit a scarf, I will be entitled to novice-level understanding. If I can knit a scarf, then I will have reached a point in life where I hang clothes up in my closet instead of kicking them off while walking down the hallway to my bedroom. I will also own a thoroughly stocked and organized spice shelf.
When I learn to knit socks, I will not consistently be one unexpected car problem away from being destitute. Living paycheck to paycheck will be a distant memory by then. I will bake pies that sit in window sills with little cartoon smoke tendrils rising from the pie. Children will gather under the window and devise nefarious plots to steal my pies.
When I learn to knit sweaters, I will have achieved the ability to make homemade gifts that people actually covet instead of endure. I will find grace that has eluded me. I will lay on the couch in flowy, gauzy clothes while reading a book and no matter my position, I will look as though I’m posing for a work of art.
When I learn to knit fin mittens for homeless sharks, I will have found my cause. I will work for this cause, giving generously of my time. I will feel neither exhausted nor smug in my cause, just contentment. I will develop a twinkle in my eye that doesn’t just look like my allergies are acting up or that I’ve been hitting the bong.
When I learn to knit a muzzle, I will finally realize that I don’t have to say every thought that pops into my head. I’ll need a really thick muzzle, though.
When I learn to knit a life-size replica of Larry Flynt, I will finally accept myself as a sexual being. I will embrace the hot, sweaty goodness that is sex without the vague feeling that I’m doing something wrong.
When I learn to knit a pool boy named Raul, even though I don’t own a pool, I’ll embrace my aging body and cherish each roll or wrinkle. The veil disappears from my eyes, the veil that has forced me to view my body in a range from “disappointed” to “just no.” I will look at my naked body, the one that has carried me through all the years, and say “Look at that sexy bitch, right there.”
When I learn to knit a parachute for my husband to use at the Acme One Way Skydiving Emporium, I will learn to live with my husband’s quirks. I will no longer want to stab him when he drives like an aged grandmother. I will find humor in his jokes, even though I’ve heard the same jokes an average of 13 times a year for 20 years.
When I learn to knit house cozies, I’ll be able to coat my loved ones in a special Teflon that can only be obtained when you achieve master knitter status. I will be able to whip up stews with ingredients I have on hand. My refrigerator will no longer smell like it holds the contents from every science fair since the beginning of science fairs.
When I learn to knit, then I’ll find the peace I’ve expected for free as we age. I’ll grow wise and stoic. I will have easy answers to difficult questions for younger people who find their lives shift in a positive way when they heed my advice. When I learn to knit, I will lose most of the fear that has been my constant companion.
Perhaps, though, instead of relying on knitting, I should work on accepting me as I am right now. Today. Besides, it would take many skeins of yarn to hold this woman together.