The holidays are fun, cheery, and…a little stressful. I had a lot of commissions in the last month—and I’m thankful—truly! However, now that the winter school productions, the work parties, the Christmas shopping and commissions are finished, I’ll have time to walk outside again, and stop grazing on Christmas candy all day long (starting tomorrow).
Yesterday, I turned 48 years old.
Yeah, I’m like…old. But I also have to say that I like my 40s very much. I’ve been fairly healthy during this decade. I’m definitely less worried about what people think of me or what I do. And in many ways, I’m mellowing out…no, seriously, I am. One thing that I did not expect is that this city is getting to me.
I grew up in a beautiful Western suburb, and from a very young age, I dreamt of escaping to a place that was less sheltered, more urban, more populated, with more action, more art and music and diversity, more life! So, I’ve been living in Chicago since 1988, when I started college at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I still love Chicago. I love my friends, my house, my church, my neighborhood, my job! My community! I love the fact that this city is so culturally rich –in food, appreciation for the arts, music, different lifestyles, all of it! It has become my home.
But in the last few years, I’m getting tired of seeing garbage in the streets. Vandalism. Traffic. Noise. Violence in the summer. The bullshit politics of this city. Sometimes I see people who literally don’t know how to act human. It blows my mind. I just wanted to get out. So, I started walking. Just to get some fresh air. I’d walk to the park, and walk around my neighborhood at night when it’s somewhat quiet.
Eventually, I took little trips outside the city, to explore some of the forest preserves and state parks. I have so many left to see, but it’s been wonderful – discovering these sanctuaries that have been around for years but I was too busy to notice. It’s so nice to just go where there’s no one around, and the only sound I hear is the moaning of tree branches in the wind, birds singing, leaves rustling, or water running.
Of course, I can’t always take the time to drive out of the city to walk and explore. So I walk to one of Chicago’s many parks. When I do that, I take the time to notice what’s around me. I look at the trees, the sky, the other people walking too… couples, a mom and her baby, dogs and their people. In the spring and summer I notice all the flower gardens. Roses are abundant in my neighborhood. It fills me with such joy to see people here getting into their gardens. I feel relief when I look at the sky and see a gorgeous sunset. I’m awestruck when I look at the tree-lined streets in the fall, with their gorgeous colors. Even in winter, early in the morning, when the snow falls, the parks look so peaceful and untouched. I stop and take lots of pictures to help me remember that there are beautiful things everywhere. I just have to look for them. Seeing these things make me feel better about living here. Natural beauty is everywhere. Sometimes if I’m lucky, I can even see the occasional deer!
The colors of everything I see linger in my mind when I come home from a walk. And those are the colors I look for before I start a project. Those walks mean a lot to me. They calm me, they’re good for my body, but they also inspire me. I want to keep those colors around me all the time.
If I really think about it, I’m actually surrounded by some of the kindest, most caring, deeply thoughtful, and friendliest people I’ve ever known. Perhaps I’m just taking my city for granted. Maybe I am just getting old.
By the way, Happy Birthday Mom – my greatest friend, my champion and the one who always believed in my passions! May this year be joyous, followed by many, more to come!
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays in whatever way you celebrate! Thank you for reading this post, following this blog, purchasing one of my works, “favoriting” my Etsy shop or even liking my LSSLuscious Knits Facebook page. I hope we all have a happy, healthy, prosperous and creative 2017!
Here’s a gift for you: a knitting pattern called Do the Purl-Twist Headband. It’s easy, it will get you through the winter, and it’s cute. Here’s a video that shows you how to do the “purl twist” stitch that’s essential to the above pattern. Let me know if you have any questions!