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So far, I’ve made two sweaters. One was a green and yellow Asian style crocheted jacket. It’s heavy and kind of gaudy, but it works…sort of. It’s not so bad; I just don’t have anywhere to wear it.

The other…well, let’s just say it sat in the closet for a year and a half before I decided to unmake it. I spent this weekend unraveling.

Making SocksEven though 44isn’t all that old, especially in a family whose women generally live into their late eighties and even nineties, I’ve been feeling my age lately. Between hot flashes, heart palpitations, panic attacks, acne, and countless other symptoms of a certain age, I feel a lot older than I expected to this year. How many 44 year-olds do you know who need a mid-day nap?

Just like in adolescence, I’ve had a lot of time to think during those naps. When I was younger, I hung onto a lot: Stories I’d heard, goals I’d set, ideals that maybe weren’t mine but that somehow I’d accepted anyway, keepsakes and photos, furniture, even bits of junk I thought may come in handy one day. Sometimes, it’s seemed I’ve hung onto things even when I didn’t want to, like the old emotions and stories of people I’ve helped along the way.

I decided it’s high time I learned how to really let stuff go. Carrying it to the donation center or the dump like I have over the past twenty years isn’t good enough any more. No. Now it’s time to change how I let it go.

Wool for SocksThe sweater that didn’t work may not work as a sweater, but it sure will work as socks. That kind of thinking turns old baggage and disappointment into a resource. That’s what I set out to do this weekend.

Little by little, I found the ends, unstitched the seams, and began unraveling that misshapen sweater. Jasper snuggled up to me awhile, just like a giant cat. It felt good to prize the seams apart and roll the wool into big balls, like a new beginning about to happen. I thought about nothing else.

This is Spring Cleaning for me this year: Taking time to sort through all the old stuff and finding ways to recycle and reuse on all levels. I hope it’s as invigorating as unraveling that old sweater.

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