The Before and After – Featuring Feelings and Emotions

Last December, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2012. I want to take a minute to reflect on this now, since there might still be time to accomplish these things. Also, everyone does resolution round-ups at the very end of the year. And I am nothing if not different.

December 2011 was the very beginning of the Sad Dark Time, as I affectionately refer to it. The end of the year was when everything started to go downhill. I graduated college, which is anxiety inducing under the best of circumstances, I was recently diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, my wedding was pushed back then eventually cancelled altogether, I moved back home with my parents (which I’m very grateful for, but it was also not what I was planning for this part of my life. BEST LAID PLANS, LOL), and my overall emotional health was the lowest it’s ever been.

In February I got a puppy, which briefly improved my spirits, but when she needed to be rehomed not long afterwards, everything came to a head. I had nowhere to go from there but up. Slowly, slowly, things improved, one by one. On a Saturday towards the end of April, I voluntarily wore clothes that weren’t pajamas on a weekend for the first time since the morning I brought home my puppy. That was no small deal. By May, I remembered that normal people wash their hair sometimes. By August, I started writing again. By September, I started dating again. By October, I noticed that this bout of happiness wasn’t a phase, it was for real. By November, I started singing in my car again and smiling in public. Now, in December, I teared up with joy to read a Macy’s ad that said “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” because I’m apparently very lame. I also almost cried while listening to a comedy podcast, because they said something about how many different words there are to describe something and I remembered this:

“I read once that the ancient Egyptians had fifty words for sand & the Eskimos had a hundred words for snow. I wish I had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep & there are no words for that.” – Brian Andreas

Because I am very lame, and also because happiness is something I'm beginning to understand more and more, and this Brian Andreas character seems pretty happy in this quote, so I'm happy for him too.

This is the face of a happy, adjusted person. Promise.

I think every person has a year that changes their life. Everyone has a year that is the line marking “before” and “after.” 2012 is my line. This is my “after.” I will talk about my 2013 goals soon, but for now, I want to reflect on this list from “before.”


1. Knit at least 3 sweaters

Ooh! I did this one! I’m glad the first goal worked out so at least I can open on an accomplishment.

In the original list, I stated that I wanted to knit the Kara sweater, and the Fair Isle Dohlman as two of these. I did not, naturally, because why would I do anything as planned? Instead I knit the following, in various stages of finishing and frogging: Tempest (finished but I need to rip out the seams and redo the button band; it’s currently a big ol’ hot mess, which is disappointing given how much I love the yarn); Pomme de Pin (finished, wearing it, loving it); Rocky Coast Cardigan (also finished, also wearing it, also loving it); Cerisara (never got sleeves, and frogged it. But it was a sweater-esque garment briefly, so it counts); Wildflower Cardigan (for my mother, to be blogged post-Christmas).


2. Design and publish 3 patterns

This is a giant failure. I designed nothing. I only just re-released my Mrs. Buchanan gloves, and my bag pattern that was supposed to come out through Coorperative Press has no word on when the book will be completed. Let’s skip this one.

3. Knit a pair of Cookie A. socks

Also no. When I made this list, I seemed to have forgotten that my only attraction to knitting socks is that vanilla ones are easy to throw in my purse or work on in the car. I can’t do that with fancy socks. I would need to do a gauge swatch and everything. I mean, I guess I could try to pump out a pair before the New Year? Maybe. Meh. That sounds like the worst. 2011 Susan had the worst ideas.

4. Knit something from hand spun yarn

No, but I haven’t done any spinning this year, so the only hand spun I have is about 80 yards of super bulky. Wait, no. That has to be a lie. There’s no way I have any idea how much of it there is or what weight it falls under. I have very little of it, let’s just say that. I can probably do something with it by January.

5. Knit a fingering weight sweater, designed to fit me exactly

Fingering weight – yes. Designed to fit – no. The Tempest falls under this category, but on the original list I said I couldn’t use the same sweater in more than one category. 2011 Susan was strict.

6. Make a quilt

I made the topper for a quilt! I did!

And I have all of the things to finish it, I just need to do it. LET’S MAKE THIS QUILT HAPPEN!

It’s going to be a haphazard, wonky quilt, isn’t it?

7. Yoga 2-4 times a week

Hahaha I have never done less yoga in my life than I did this year. Should I give this a shot? Maybe it would be doable to do it a few times, without binding myself to the promise of 2-4 times a week. Goodness, what kind of life did I think I would be living that I had free time for things like “heart health” and “weight management” and “doing something besides eating ice cream by the pint”?

8. Run

Do dreams that involve me needing to run away but not being able to coordinate my legs enough to do so count as running? Because if so, yes. I run all the time.

That being said, this always gets added to my list of New Year’s goals, and I don’t think 2013 will be any different. 2013 IS MY YEAR! WOO! 5K! WOO! ICE CREAM? NO! CAN’T TEMPT ME! WAIT…

9. Get a tattoo

This one will hopefully be happening soon. I have plans to go with my BFF Emily and get tattoos together, and bonus points if I can make it happen without my dad being very disappointed with my foolishness. But that part’s not a goal, just a pipe dream.

10. Go into everything with a positive attitude, open mind, and sense of humor

I don’t know how to quantify this. How can I say, yes, everything I did was with the right attitude and here’s why? I can’t. But I can say that I am happier at this point in my life than I have ever been, I’m doing new things with less fear, and I’m working hard to make everyone around me happier than they would be without me. This one, the biggest one even though it’s buried near the middle of this list, was very much accomplished, and will be on my goal list every New Years.

11. Finish the novel I started for my thesis

YES I ACTUALLY DID THIS ONE! I have one more edit to work through, but I have already sent it out to young adult literary agents, and I have a list of so many more. I still need to write a synopsis though, which apparently is synonymous with hell.

12. Podcast

I did this one for 7 or 8 episodes, but it lost its luster for me. It was very well received, and I met a lot of great knitters through it, though, so I feel really bad that I don’t want to bring it back. I’m thinking of maybe trying a video podcast instead? Maybe it will appeal to me more if I can show off my projects? I’ll think about it and work it into my 2013 goals, perhaps.

13. Blog 1-2 times per week

I was largely a failure at this for a long time, but recently I’ve been doing very well! Right guys? Right?!? And that’s the whole idea, consistent improvement. That’s all I can do, is try to improve a little bit each day.

* * *

So here’s to the “after”! I hope you’re as excited for 2013 as I am.


8 thoughts on “The Before and After – Featuring Feelings and Emotions

  1. Michelle says:

    Wow. it sounds like 2011 was a really rocky year. I’m so happy that 2012 was the uphill turn you needed and deserved it to be. I should probably start evaluating my actual progress on my 2012 resolutions. I’m pretty convinced, there’s no way I can make-up all the slacking I did in the middle of the year, and I’m mentally already looking towards 2013.

  2. Hannah says:

    I’m really sad that you aren’t going to continue podcasting, because you are super good at it, but I do understand. I’m glad that your podcast led me to your blog, because you are a wonderful writer. I’m really sorry that this year has been so hard for you, but I am happy that it is turning around :-) May 2013 be the best year yet!

    • Susan_Cardoza says:

      Thanks Hannah! All my podcasting accounts are still set up, just in case I change my mind, but I think writing about knitting is where I’ll stay for now. :)

  3. Opal @ Playing with Fiber says:

    Throughout my life, I’ve had a few challenging times. While it was tough, I stubbornly plodded onward, and things eventually became better. It’s nice that things are brighter for you.

    It looks like you’ve accomplished a lot on your list. Spinning is something I want to learn in 2013.

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