Late in the spring of 2015, I decided to dust off my hooks and pick up some colorful skeins of yarn and start crocheting again, a craft I first learned when I was pregnant with my son who will turn 40 this year. After a short ramp-up period that initially required clearing the cobwebs and relearning the basics, I began in earnest.

Warm weather and seasonal activities intervened not long after that but now with wintry weather as the order of the day, I’m back at it and thoroughly love the calming movements of hook to yarn, the quiet repetition of stitches and the fabulous feeling of accomplishment when a piece is finished. Is it vain to admit I love to look at the projects I’ve completed – with my very own hands! – and to revel in the consistency of my stitches and to admire the look, the feel, the texture of my work? While by no means perfect or even the result of anything challenging in the way of design, I feel tremendous pride – and not a small amount of disbelief! – at what I have created. This makes me smile. This makes me happy.

There really is something to stepping outside one’s comfort zone AND to expressing yourself in whatever manner you wish to pursue with passion. A sense of pride and accomplishment – I’ve had too little of that in my life and I want more!

IMG_7511

While my heart stays true, more or less, my body will occasionally only feign loyalty. While I often curse rheumatoid arthritis, which I’ve known intimately now for more than fifteen years, for my morning-clumsy hands, slower movements, fatigue and declining strength, I am fully aware that it’s more than just an autoimmune disease wreaking havoc on my bod.

I’m getting older. I’m aging and no longer young. Things just don’t work like they used to. We girls used to make fun of Mom, with her aches and pains and cutting down on caffeine while hormones coursed through our teenage bodies and our skin glowed and we had slim, girlish figures (that we grumbled about then but would dearly love to have now). Oh, we had so much energy and enthusiasm, get up and GO! I understand it all now though. It’s here. It’s now. It’s – me. It’s where my own body is at these days.

And I guess that’s okay. Yeah, yeah – as the old joke goes – it’s better than the alternative. Besides, what can you do? Turning back the clock: NOT an option. We’re stuck. Time – and the elements – just keep rushing forward, unstoppable. Just as unrelenting wind and rain and hail and snow and the ever-glaring sun have continued their onslaught of this humble wooden structure, so too have the effects of life and her accompanying stresses, challenges, griefs and sorrows, exhilarating highs and debilitating lows, hardships and glories exerted their pressures, their effects upon us. But this structure, with its blistering paint, rusted hardware, warped siding and string-enhanced door latch, is still a thing of beauty. It continues to stand, weathering the elements, taking what’s given but still having purpose. Charm. Durability.

That is what I’ll be then. I can provide shelter, structure. I have use. I can provide comfort. I still have beauty. For I still AM. I continue to be. Until the tornado of life bears down on me, I’ll continue to stand. Even if I have my own blistering paint, warped siding and require my own enhancements – strings of a different sort, at times, to handle what comes my way.

Unlike this old shed, though, I’ve got heart. And passion. Drive and enthusiasm. Things I want to do yet, places I want to go. So while I may not have the energy or the endurance, the power or the agility that I may once have had, all systems are go. While the light is still green – and is sometimes yellow – I’ll continue on. I intend to make the best of it and enjoy each day. I’m still standing, weathering the elements of life. Yes. I’m still standing.