I don’t know many people who start the new year with pessimistic thoughts of things going wrong, or things remaining status quo. I think almost everyone hopes for a change at the beginning of each new year. Never is that more true than with the beginning of a new decade or century. We have a while till we see another new century, but today begins a new decade. The realization that we’re starting a new decade made me look back to where I was 10 years ago, and it let me see how far I’ve come in that time. Most of the time, we’re so caught up in the seemingly small, incremental changes of our daily lives that we rarely look backwards to see just how much progress we’ve made. This is true even in our creative lives as well.
At the start of 2000, I had an old basic sewing machine that I didn’t really like to use, using it to make things like shorts for my kids. I still used a film camera and had hundreds of photos stored in paper sleeves from the drug store. In fact, at that point I didn’t even have an SLR … I was using (again) a point & shoot camera. I’d never made a quilt, I didn’t have a dedicated sewing space, and all my crafting gear fit into one small cabinet. I did make the covered photo albums that were so popular back then, and I did wreaths, but none of it was terribly satisfying. In short, my crafting activities were not a driving force in my life. Not only did they not help define who I was, they barely existed in my conscious being. I guess you could say that I hadn’t yet realized my full crafting potential.
Fast forward to today and I have not one, but three sewing machines that I keep humming away a good part of every year (with plans to do more this year). I’ve made dozens of quilts and learned all sorts of new techniques for making clothing. I’ve gone from the safety of working with a pattern for everything, to creating some of my own designs both for quilting and fashion sewing. I have a room that is stuffed with crafting materials, fabrics, and space dedicated to my creative pursuits. I have two digital SLRs that are used often (and will be used a lot more this year), and I’ve learned how to categorize, store and display my photographs with scrapbooking techniques. In addition, I’ve learned how to make my own soaps and candles. Gone is the cross stitching – I passed it on to my daughter over the holidays this year, actually – and the wreath and covered-album making, but in their place is a whole world of crafting I never would have imagined 10 years ago.
My personal life has changed significantly too. I divorced, raised two children mostly alone, reconnected with my family, welcomed new friends into my life, met a wonderful man I now call “husband”, bought two houses, got a degree … I cannot complain! The road hasn’t always been easy, but I wouldn’t trade a moment of my journey for anything in this world.
Maybe if I looked back to where I was last year, I wouldn’t see a big difference, but with every passing year, I’ve learned more, tried more, and done more. Over time, it adds up, and I look back over the last 10 years with a sense of wonder and excitement for what the next 10 years will bring. I’ve seen so many people glad to see 2010 go, with a hope that 2011 will be better and I can understand that. I’m looking forward to a new year too, but I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned, seen and done over the last few years. Those things have changed me, shaped me, made me who I am today. Here’s hoping the 2010’s will be as good to me as the 2000’s were!
Happy New Year!!