Sunday, December 29, 2013

End of Year Mood

I am not a particularly original person. And sometimes I wish I had taken a few more original decisions in life than I actually did. Perhaps there will be a few more chances, after the child is a bit more advanced in his life... Now being not particularly original, I fall into the same trap every year as the particular year draws to a close. Finishing mode – which is not too bad, as it helps clear up a bit of clutter, gives UFOs a different kind of life(expectation), and me a feeling of accomplishment.
And, of course, looking back on what happened during the past year with a more or less critical eye. I’ve been on the road in quilting and fabric selling quite a bit. I had one quilt accepted to a major exhibition and was rejected from several others. Overall, I guess, it has been a successful year.
Although I do have to admit that I did not get very far with my great intention of de-cluttering the studio which I announced in September. I even think I knew then that not much would come of it. But I did take one step of rearranging the immediate right hand corner next to my sewing machine, which tends to be the accumulation point of stuff. Stuff, which is not necessarily needed there, which attracts dust and more stuff, and which sometimes is a hindrance when I reach for the wheel of the machine on the right hand side:

Before de-cluttering

I cleared that off, as I did with the surface of a little trolley which holds many of my sewing threads and has the advantage of being on wheels, and which can be rolled into position on my right side when I need these things, and pushed back when it is in the way. Major achievement! Count that on the very positive side of the successes during the year.

After de-cluttering. Hopefully not only a temporary condition...

But because the past few months have been emotionally draining it somehow doesn’t really feel like it’s been a successful year. My husband has been struggling at work quite abit, which always has an influence on the family. And ever since the summer I have been asking myself ‘what is going on here?’
One part of it I attribute to the fact that Germany had the General Election in the fall. A lot of talk was going on about more children’s day care centers, getting more women to join the work force full-time (a large percentage of women working here only do so part-time, and a low-paid jobs), establishing more and more schools where kids go for the whole day – by far not the norm here yet. And it really made me feel insufficient. I don’t go out of the house to work for somebody else, my little one-woman fabric-dyeing business doesn’t have a wild surplus, I don’t give employment to other people, and I do care about being at home in the afternoon when my child comes home from school. I would not want to send him to afternoon care and only get to see him in the evenings when everybody is tired. I am working, and not only as the unpaid house-caretaker - but I am not working in a way that the politicians think economically successful. But with all that political talk suggesting that a good woman is only she who has made it to the top of some major company and is successfully juggling everything, driving herself and probably her family mad with overchallenging herself, I wondered how backward my opinions have become over the years. (My younger brother used to call me the feminist b.... when I was at university – now I am slowly approaching fifty and seem to be an anachronism regarding my opinions...) I haven’t felt good about it – although I do think I have taken the right decisions. They weren’t particularly original, but the ones that the politicians would have preferred, don’t seem particularly original to me, either.
I have also been bothered more and more with the EU’s way of dealing with so many situations. I don’t approve of their policies with refugees – I am ashamed that the former recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace looks on as hundreds and hundreds of people drown right on their doorstep when trying to escape from their unbearable situations at home. And the only answer the politicians come up with is putting more money into fending them off. In the end of November I listened to a radio report on the Jewish Refugee Children Movement, and how those had helped tens of thousands of children escape Nazi Germany. Right after that the news reported on the fact that by now hundreds of thousands of Syrian children are displaced either within their country or in other countries, just across the Syrian borders. And that Germany had graciously granted visa to 5,000 Syrians. (By now that number has been doubled.) How much have we learned from past history lessons? Nothing much, it seems.
Not to mention ongoings in other countries such as financial cliffs, civil war in far too many countries, natural disasters which still don’t teach us anything, backlashes in human rights issues... Easy to get depressed!
So it is easy to let a few months in the end of a year spoil the earlier successes. Again, not very original. We have had a few nice days of sunshine – although too warm for the season – but I won’t go on about it any more. In order to get out of the end-of-year-slump it certainly makes more sense to go out and enjoy the sunshine rather than lament that it’s there...

on the way to take a photo for my new tree-project


  1. Such a thoughtful post. Original or not, you are doing things that you love and being successful at them, who cares what the politicians think.

    Have a good 2014.

    1. Thank you Maggi, for your support. I try to approach it the same way, but there are times when it just seems a lot harder than normally, with media coverage of campaigns and stuff. But with the New Year ahead I'm sure things will brighten up a lot, and perhaps the world will realize after all that there are more important things in humans' lives than a growing economy?

  2. Amid the big project of Life, another big project - studio clearing ... which is something that doesn't happen in a day, or a week. Every little corner put in order is a big step! I remember the big thrill of gathering all my threads into two boxes, and then making a place near the sewing machine for them - how that made me smile!
    Sometimes even a little step is a big victory!

    1. That's right, I remember that feeling, which I, too, had, when I had acquired that little trolley and sorted my sewing threads in the top drawer and the one kind of quilting threads into the lower drawer.
      Thanks for reminding me, Margaret. It might belong into the successes of 2012, but hey, one could always celebrate the anniversary!