My yoga practice often requires that I hold a pose for an uncomfortably long time. You’re supposed to breathe through the pose, into the discomfort, until finally you transition to another pose and rest the overtaxed muscle. Or you find that you just can’t hold the pose and fall out partway through.
After one of these particularly difficult poses, when I’ve just surfed the peak of the pain — or backed away from it — my yoga instructor says, ”It’s in the past. Let it go.”
We chuckle. Then we move on. We let it go.
Yoga is an ongoing lesson in letting go of the past, and being in the present. What is happening now? And now? Now? What happened before doesn’t matter.
It’s a lesson knitters struggle with. Every knitter has been in the situation where she knows something’s not quite right with a project, but she just keeps knitting because she can’t bear to obliterate all her hard work. A sock the circumference of your thigh rather than your foot or calf. A vest that’s obviously too tight. A sweater front that’s a half inch longer than the back. Fabric that changes color midway through because you added a new skein from a different dye lot.
Sunk costs, by definition, can never be recovered; they should not be factored into our decisions about the future. They’re in the past. Let them go. It’s the hardest lesson of business and romance. And knitting, apparently. It is almost impossible, when you’re in the groove, to accept that the final product will not satisfy. That the capital investment you approved three years ago will not meet the company’s current needs. That the person you’ve been dating for so long will never be a partner. That the house you had under contract for five months will never be yours. That the Curséd Sock you’re knitting will never be worn. How can I rip it all out and start over? After all that work I put into it!
The expense, the time, the effort, the sacrifice, the waiting — they are all in the past. Let them go.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Judy, whose diplomatic question prompted me to consider the wisdom of moving forward with my Curséd Socks. Judy asked “What will you do with the socks if you finish them? Will you wear them if you don’t love the yarn?” At the time, I gave her a sort of half-assed answer. I had been so focused on overcoming my technical knitting difficulties, I had totally forgotten to ask myself that very question.
Then, as I was knitting last night after dinner, I asked Bill to feel my sock. He’s accustomed to me forcing my knitting on him and demanding that he admire the lush feel of the knitted fabric. This time he made a slight face and admitted it didn’t feel as nice as my other hand-knitted socks. I carefully slipped the two-thirds-knit sock over my foot, and finally faced the truth. Nope. I would never wear these socks. So why put any more time into knitting them? I didn’t have the heart to rip them out last night, but I did today.
It’s in the past. Let it go.
Tonight I will knit a swatch from my new yarn, which came to me when I stumbled upon Knitting Sisters, a yarn shop in Williamsburg. The visit and the purchase were wholly unplanned, and somehow felt providential. I’m hoping to use it to knit socks that look pretty, feel nice, and fit perfectly. They will be my Blesséd Socks.