Happy new year! I do not have specific resolutions, but I do think it’s a good time to reflect on how my life has changed in the past year.

When I started my second year of school last September I knew it was going to be busy. I got into an Honours programme, which means extra credits (half a years worth) spread over three years. I felt I needed to do something extra to get the most out of my time at school. I really want to push myself, because for me, this bachelor (social law) is a last chance to turn my life around and do something I really love at a level I am capable of. The Honours programme turns out to be very enjoyable, but at the same time very demanding too (almost half of our Honours class has already dropped out, to give you an idea).

Furthermore, my design career has really taken off. I could not have imagined that my Hotel of Bees shawl would be so popular. I am so grateful for all the kind words, the excited comments, the beautiful pictures of FO’s. No, I could not have fathomed it being so well received. So thank you for your support!

Being the hive minded and creative person I am, there are more designs I’m working on (two at the moment of writing this). When an idea pops into my head, I just cannot let it rest. It wants out! I can immerse myself in crochet for days on end, without thinking about anything else. This is quite difficult to combine with all the schoolwork I need to do and often times it conflicts. It’s frustrating, because it keeps my brain so occupied, that nothing else fits in there until I get it done.

Balancing my life has been difficult and that is an understatement. I live from list to list, crossing off and adding on and crossing off again (this post was on a list too). The last few weeks have been very stressful and when you think I would finally get some rest there is this fun to-do list for January:

– Study for and pass 5 exams (who thought 5 was a reasonable number!?)

– Write an Essay for Honours of 8-10 pages (Still have to start. I’m going to write about VAT-MOSS, how fun)

– Publish a new pattern (wont happen)

– Complete a new part for my other design so the testers can continue (not finished, because the perfectionist in me wants to rip it out and start over)

etc. etc.

There are days when I busy myself from morning till evening. I could take some me-time, but there is always this nagging voice in my head telling me to get my butt of the couch, because there are so many things I could do instead. This urge, or rather compulsion, to be ‘productive’ has really taken its toll on my well being. Because going against the stream of life simply takes a lot of energy. I want to be the person that does a hundred things a day and be proud of it.

But why?

Last Thursday I was at yoga (yes I do that too) and we had a session called ‘restorative yoga’, which basically means that you get into all kinds of very comfortable positions with your blankets and cushions and you lay there and just breathe and be. These sessions are specifically designed for stressed out people like me, to really get back to basics: your body, mind and breath. It was at this session, laying comfortable on a bolster, covered in blankets, feet up, when I came to the realization that enough was enough! I was stressing out about the release of a new pattern and thought to myself; ‘Stop. You cannot manage it now, so stop it!’

There are posts about how designers and bloggers manage their days when they are so busy (a lot of them work day jobs too). When I speak for myself, I can only say; I can’t manage. So there’s that. I have  to admit to this ‘incapability’ so I can get forward. Busy seems the norm these days. It feels like you’re ‘going somewhere’ and really ‘making it’ when you’re busy. Well, nothing spells in-productivity more than ‘burn-out’. There has been a lot of research about stress and how it can affect your lifespan. I am not ready to trade in time of my life, because I could not hit the brakes.

I’ve lost my view on what’s important, feeling that everything is equally important and that everything falls apart if I do not do all the things I need/want to do. My Honours coach has given me the assignment to put everything on my to-do list into perspective with a simple question:

What happens if you do not do it?

My answer is almost always the same. Nothing.

These revelations really help me prioritize and let go of the things that are not important right now. Most of the pressure I feel is put up only by me, so it is me that needs to change my ways.

There is a famous Zen quote: “You should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re busy, then you should sit for an hour.” I think this is a beautiful concept for de-stressing when you have a lot on your plate. In this new year I will try to empty my mind and shorten my lists, so I too, can sit in nature for an hour, without stressing about all the things I have to do. Maybe I have a New years resolution after all!

I need to learn to stop, breathe and let go.

I wish you all a very creative, but above all, calm and peaceful 2017!