Projects and Productivity

I’ve undertaken a few projects recently. It feels like I’ve been surrounded by people who have heard of someone who tries to learn a new skill every year. Everyone’s doing it. I don’t have such ambitions but I have been doing something productive with my evenings of late.

Firstly, I’ve taken up yoga. Actually, this should sit in 2013’s camp. I started sometime last Spring and went somewhat haphazardly for a while. Then we moved and I got more into it, until I found myself slightly uptight the week or so before the wedding because I couldn’t fit a yoga practice in. See, it’s kind of taken over my life. I rave about it to people who’ll listen, have lovely little yoga chats with a similarly inclined colleague and make myself go when I really, really don’t want to leave the house. When I definitely wouldn’t be motivated to go the gym – I’ll go to yoga. It’s good for my strength, my health and my sanity.

Interested? I go to yoga classes with Laura Fisher – she’s fabulous:  www.laurafisheryoga.com

Then I made a blanket. See:

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I can’t remember why I started, to be honest. I had a kit for making hand warmers but I’d never got further than taking it out the box and throwing it aside when I couldn’t decipher the instructions. I used to be able to knit many moons ago and decided to re-teach myself. I told a friend at work (incidentally the same yoga colleague mentioned up-post; she’s like my yoga/knitting guru) and she helped me see that my tiny needles and thin yarn was making the process challenging. Also that I needed a proper project. We went to a lovely, quirky little knitting shop / house and I chose some colours for making a blanket for my new niece. And so it started. I knitted at work, on the train, at home, in the evenings, over Christmas. I lost motivation a bit in January when I got annoyed with a miscalculation of wool. My yoga/knitting guru encouraged me onwards, took me to buy needles/yarn to join the squares together and Step 2 commenced. On the home stretch I got excited, I persevered, I got a bit precious, I got David involved, and I finished the blanket. Project started: December. Blanket gifted: February. To be honest, it was hard to part with.

Technically, the knitting was a 2013 project too. 2014 has only really just begun and I’m already caning the new skills theory. February = skiing AND learning German. Skiing was slightly accidental, in that we went to Switzerland for much needed rest and respite and for David to get back on some skis after 7 years. I was to sit around reading and drinking hot chocolate. Somehow I found myself with skis attached to my feet.

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I’d like to think I was mostly fearless, partly frustrated, and better at it than anyone expected. I was pretty jealous of all the small children surrounding me flying down slopes with no need for control because their parents would catch them, and the fact that I wasn’t amazing straight away. But I think I can do much better next time. YAY for skiing and more importantly, how absolutely beautiful Switzerland is at that time of year. I fell in love all over again.

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View of Zurich lake from a cute park in Thalwil

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Zug at sunset

And my latest obsession? Rosetta Stone. It’s a subject of conversation in the office (as my access is provided through a training initiative at work). We’re all getting carried away, sitting there for hours on end clicking through, marvelling when we realise we’ve learnt something without evening realising; without taking notes or sitting in a classroom. I am attempting German from scratch to assist with the Swiss visits and am finding myself eager to get home and crack on. I’d do it in my lunch hour if I thought I could get away with shouting the German for “a white cat” into a headset.

I know for lots of the people I’ve spoken to this “learn something new” ambition stems from wanting to feel they’ve achieved something, pushed themselves, got the most out of life, can chart time in terms of skills learnt. For me, I just like doing.

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