I’ve decided I want to buy about 5 sweater’s worth of yarn in the next few months. I’ve got a birthday coming up and, even if I don’t get the yarn as a gift (and Rainer and the kids have a list of affordable options to choose from), I’ll know I’ll get money and have fun with that. I want to get different weights, different colours, and different fibres. A real mix.
It’s interesting since I’ve been exploring the yoga yamas and there is, at least on the surface, a direct conflict between the way that they resonate with all the gathered wisdom of my life and this deep and growing need to acquire. One of the yamas is simplicity and non-covetousness.
I have a hard time spending money on myself. It’s a product of never having lived on my own, never having had an income before kids, never really having had disposable income. Rainer and I moved in together when we were young, combined bank accounts, and worked our asses off every summer to pay for university. Then kids came. Eventually he got a ‘real’ job and things freed up a little and we could do things like occasionally buy new pants or eat fancy vegetables. But my mental money mechanisms are set to ‘caution’.
I have gotten a little better in the past few years at being mad with my mad money. Did you have an Oma like mine? I would sometimes get a card from her with $5 in it and she would clearly let me know that it was Mad Money. She always capitalized it in her graceful cursive. I wasn’t to save it or use it for responsible things. I often ended up buying a new Nancy Drew book when we were next in the big city of Regina and perhaps a wee bit of 5 cent candy at the grocery store across the street from school. I was to play with it, indulge myself, go a little mad.
What I realized as I was trying to tease out the apparent contradiction between my years-long practice of simplicity and this decision to buy a lot of yarn was this: every time I want to knit a sweater I feel a Puritan harshness rising in me. Using the 3-4 sweater’s worth of yarn I do have on hand seems reckless and improvident. Wanting to knit a project in a colour or yarn weight I don’t have on hand seems rash and indulgent. Buying new yarn is a process fraught with emotional and psychological eddies.
In other words, as things currently stand my hobby, my deep seat of creative satisfaction, my process for clothing my family in warmth and comfort is a complicated dance of justification. I want it to be my dance. Period. I want it to be play. I am not purchasing for the sake of owning or collecting. I want to be able to have an urge to knit myself a grey tweed sweater, or Sandra a blue hoodie, or Rainer a glorious cabled sweater, or, or, or… and to just do it.
Make hay while the sun shines. Go mad with the mad money.