Lessons in making things.

I love making things.

Hand-knit sweaters.

Origami cranes.

Homemade pickles.

But, this summer, I’ve come to realize just how much I enjoy it.

For the past several weeks, I’ve had intermittent pain in my wrists.  Sometimes it’s excruciating!  And others it’s more of a dull throbbing.  The pain, however, has left me pretty limited in what I can do.  (I’d never realized just how much we depend on our wrists on a daily basis!)  Although I can type (slowly), I can’t really do it, and many other fine motor activities, without wincing or it eventually resulting in accumulated pain later.

This means I’ve had to give up knitting, cooking and other creative outlets of mine.  It’s left me often feeling grumpy, frustrated, and – to be honest – even angry at times.  It’s been difficult having to come to terms with a new set of limitations; to have to understand that I’m not what I once was.

My forced hiatus from making things has had a positive impact, though.  It’s given me a new perspective on disability; the challenges of coming to know yourself in a new way; and the feelings that accompany knowing others are also looking at you differently. It’s also led me to a few realizations about why and how I make things.

Not only do I enjoy making things – I need to make them!  It’s an important part of my happiness.  I know this now that I’ve experienced what it’s like to not be able to do it.

But, as with everything, ‘not enough’ and ‘too much’ can be equally problematic.

I  must confess: my love for creating may have actually caused – or at least contributed to – my current condition.  Earlier this summer, I did some ‘marathon’ knitting.  I was eager to get a head start on holiday presents, and was trying to quickly knit and purl my way through a new sweater for my partner, Mark.  I spent countless (i.e. too many to confess) hours in a knit trance of sorts – not taking time for breaks.  I was too excited to see my results and continue with my progress!  It was after a few days of this that I began to feel the pain…

I know now from experience that what can give you joy can also bring you pain.  And great amounts of something is not necessarily worth it, if in the end it will only result in too little of it.

I’ve learned my lessons.

Although, I’m still struggling to put them into practice.

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