Saturday, January 30, 2010


A friend at work and I have had this ongoing conversation about success. We've noticed with our students that almost invariably it's tenacity that makes them successful, not intellectual superiority. I've had many really bright kids who were quitters, and quite a few kids with seemingly average IQs with so much drive and willingness to work through failures that they became excellent. Success is messy, but tenacious people work through it. My friend and I have both been married to our spouses a long time, he for over thirty and me for twenty-five, and we've also talked about how difficult some stages of ostensibly good marriages can be. I think that many of  the problems in solid, long-time marriages are often not that different from the problems in failed ones, except that the people in successful marriages choose to stick with it during and after the trying stages. They keep with it despite how messy (within reason)  the past might have been.

So, here's my knitting connection. I will often chuck bad knitting even if I have a lot of time invested in it. I'm not happy just patching it up and making do. I'm pretty good about not harping about past, perceived injustices or failures in my marriage. I much prefer to harp on current issues, like "What home improvement Russ "needs"  to be working on today." But, I just can't do that with knitting. I want a clean slate. I just can't overlook  even small imperfections and focus on the overall product. I've made several major mistakes with my current mittens, mistakes that are, of course, near the beginning of my second mitten. More discouraging still, I think that the second mitten is actually the correct one. I forced myself to knit a little on it last night, thinking that maybe I could force myself to finish it, and just accept it as imperfect. I'm unhappy with them. They were intended as a gift. I love the yarn, but I just want to quit. How sad!


Rani said...

WHOO HOOOOO!! Look at that. I'm inspired to finish a pair I have laying around here for an infant.

Thimbleanna said...

Oops. I'm reading your posts backwards LOL. I couldn't agree with you more about sticking with it -- I have a seemingly average student (of course, I, as his mother, think he's brilliant) who made it to med school through sheer drive and determination, while his seemingly brighter friends didn't make it. They've learned a lot from watching their friend (my son) though, and they are also persevering and will eventually make it too. Sorry about those beautiful mittens!

JayJay said...

I have the same problem. I try to keep going and ignore the mistakes, but I always end up ripping it out or starting over. I guess that's why we're both successful academics. :)