In transition

Me getting my feet wet in the Atlantic Ocean

Soaking up the sun and surf in San Sebastian, Spain

Life has been quite a trip lately.  I’ve started my new job and have been adjusting to my new schedule, and let me tell you, things are different around here.  My commute is longer (and more unpleasant thanks to packed subway cars), I leave home earlier and get home later, and after work I have just enough energy to eat dinner and crash around 9pm.  Unfortunately this means that I haven’t sewn anything in ages.  Even the idea of sewing makes me exhausted these days.

To add to the longer days, my new job is hard.  Hard in a good way though, in the way that pushes me to learn new skills and think in new ways.  Hard in the way that makes my brain hurt but leaves me excited for the next day’s challenges.  But still, hard!  I’m the kind of person who can admit when I’m wrong, when I need help, when I don’t understand something, and when something is difficult for me.  And people, I am having a hard time with this.  Growing pains, I suppose.  But hopefully I’ll come out of this position wiser and stronger in the end… assuming I survive that long.  🙂

I feel like I’ve been fumbling around a lot lately, struggling with my work and struggling with my new routine.  Things definitely feel like they’re still in transition, both at work and at home.  I know I’ll find a way to get back to sewing and the other creative pursuits that have been with me throughout my entire life, and I know I’ll settle into my new role and responsibilities at work.  It’ll just take time.

One interesting side effect of my new life is that I’ve been plowing through novels on my subway commute.  I’ve found that the only possible activities to pursue when you’re packed ass-to-ass, face-to-face with a bunch of complete strangers is to (a) look down at your shoes; or (b) hold up a book about 3 inches from your face.  If you choose option (b), you get the added bonus of an opaque barrier between your face and the next one.  If you have any good book recommendations, I’m all ears!

It’s been interesting to go through this transition after having a relatively stable schedule for the past 5 years.  Looking back, though, I remember having a hard time settling in at the beginning of that period, so it’s no surprise that I’m back in this position again.  I’m looking forward to finding my new normal… eventually.

In the meantime, I hope you’re all doing well, enjoying the change of seasons, and perhaps settling into a new routine of your own.  Do you have any advice on finding peace in a new world full of chaos?  Lately I feel like this all the time:

Serenity Now

19 thoughts on “In transition

  1. My life is chaotic. I often don’t get home til 8:30pm so I understand your pain!
    How do I find time to sew? I might pin a seam before bed, sew it before work, pin in my lunchbreak and so on. Sounds nuts but my sewing doesn’t tire me out as I rarely have a long session. A long sewing session to me is 45 minutes!
    But most of all, saviur moments of serenity. Whether it’s stopping for a few moments to enjoy a view, help someone or enjoy a cup of tea & coffee. It’s in those moments there is some peace.

    • Lizzy, this is brilliant advice, thank you! I suspect your life is way more chaotic than mine since I don’t have any kids to look after, and I admire you for managing to keep yourself sane and actually get some sewing done. I think I just have to adjust to having less “me time.” I’ve been keeping your advice in mind these last few days and really enjoying my cups of coffee and walks down the street. I’ll take what I can get!

  2. Hi Carolyn, good to read you! Sewing withdrawl is mean! All changes and improvements needs a lot of power. When you look back in a couple of years you will be very proud on yourself. I present you the hour I got back from daylight saveingtime timeswitch. 😉 Greetings from rainy Germany Tutti

    • Thanks for your kind words, Tutti! You’re right – it’s always difficult adjusting to changes in your life, whatever they may be. I got my extra hour from the time change this past weekend and it was **wonderful.** Little things like that make a big difference these days!

  3. I’m in exactly the same place with sewing! I’m used to sewing almost every day, for the past 4-5 years and ever since returning from a trip to Japan a few weeks ago, I haven’t done much more than muslin a sleeve. If I’m honest with myself, my zeal for sewing hasn’t been the same since I finished my sister’s wedding dress. Like you, I’m just in a position where I have to trust that the interest and joy in sewing will return. Also – congratulations on finding a job that interests and challenges you!! That’s such a gift!

    • Thanks Morgan! I’m extremely thankful to have found this job and am actually really excited about it. It’s just a matter of settling in and learning how to tackle these new challenges. As for sewing, I have no doubt your excitement will return. The wedding dress was such an epic and all-consuming project – it was bound to wear you out! I’m sure I’ll learn to find time for sewing too. A passion that has been around for so long isn’t going to disappear that quickly. 🙂

  4. Liking your new job and being excited about the challenges it presents is a great thing! No matter what profession you’re in, there is a necessary melding of the academic background & training and applying it to the “real-life” situation. It can seem overwhelming at times, but it does work-out and you’ll be amazed when you look back.

    BTW, my daughter is a RedLine commuter along with 1000 of her “closest friends”! And, like you, she gets a lot of reading done! Yes, the T can be an interesting chapter in your day. 😃

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Ellen! I’m actually still in academia, just transitioning from being a graduate student to a postdoc, which apparently is quite a transition! More so that I had expected. This job will be a good trial-run for me as I decide if I want to apply for a faculty position in a few years. As for the Red Line, argh! Never have I had so many strangers “up in my grill” on a daily basis. I miss my personal space!

  5. Hi Carolyn, I was glad to see your post in my feed, I understand how you feel and have been there although many years ago!! What Ellen says is totally tru. It takes time to adjust to the new reality and be able to manage your time!! you’ll find your way sooner or later, my case was later as I don’t do well with changes!! Reading is the best way to spend the unpleasant time in the subway, don’t know your preferences but I will actually sugest you a few of my favourite books, I love Mario Vargas Llosa and his first book that I read is the city and the dogs, then from Juan Rulfo pedro páramo, I also like Zoze Saramago, any of his books!! any sugestions from your side? would love to know!!

    • Thanks for your advice, Aida! I take a long time to adjust to changes too. I’m a creature of habit and look forward to finding a new routine that I can rely on. Thanks for the book recommendations – I will check them out! So far I’ve read two books about sewing (The Dressmaker, and The Pink Suit), East of Eden by John Steinbeck, and now The Idiot by Dostoyevsky. Crime and Punishment is one of my favorites.

  6. I’m so glad to see an update on how things are going for you! It’s been a while since I started a new job but I remember how hard it can be in the first weeks/months when you are getting acclimated to everything. I am sure you’ll get your sewing motivation back eventually. It’s great that you’ve got time to read on your commute to work– the one thing I miss about commuting was how many audio books I listened to while driving.

    • Thanks Teri! Commuting definitely has its ups and downs. On one hand there’s all the sights and smells of the subway and the fact that it eats into your free time, but on the other it’s forced down time where you have time to read, think, and decompress after work. I don’t have a choice about my new commute, so I try not to lament it too much! I look forward to getting back to sewing, but in the meantime I can live vicariously through your projects. 🙂

  7. Nice to hear about your life changes! Hope you adjust to the new work situation, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before you feel settled. The “getting to read more” perk sounds pretty awesome though. I studied English Lit in college and used to read so much… can hardly finish a book these days. Best wishes as you acclimate to your new life!

    • How interesting that you studied literature! I always enjoy hearing about interests people have outside of sewing. 🙂 I love classic novels, so if you have any good recommendations, please share. As I said to Lizzy above, I have a feeling my version of chaos is quite different from someone with kids, so I admire you for juggling way more than I am. I may complain about my new routine, but I think I still have more down time than some people!

  8. I hope you will feel more settled in the coming weeks and months, but of course it really does take a long time to adjust to such fundamental changes. I used to sew almost daily for several years, but for the last few months I’ve only sewn a thing here or there. I have decided to just accept it, and try to understand that it will be there for me if I feel like making something again. In the mean time I feel bad about all those supplies sitting around but at least it means if the mood struck me to make something I could start that very second!

    Weirdly, I have also started to read much more in my free time, and prefer it to sewing at the moment. I went on a total binge, and some of my favorites were “Motherless Brooklyn” by Jonathan Lethem, “The Sirens Of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut, I loved the short story collection “Stories of you Life and Others” by Ted Chiang, especially the title story, and I got a great kick out of the novel “The Martian”. They’re all quite short, I’ve never attempted to read anything on the scale of Crime and Punishment!! (but if you want to, anyone that I know that has read “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt)

    • Thanks so much for the book recommendations! I recently saw the movie version of The Martian and really liked it, especially all the science-related improvising. 🙂 I do tend to like epic novels, and I will admit to eyeing War and Peace on the bookshelf lately. It’s been on my to-read list forever, but it will take a lot of patience!

      I completely agree about sewing, or the lack thereof. I have no doubt your inspiration will return, and yes, the fabric and notions will be there when you’re ready. 🙂 I find that all my hobbies go through highs and lows. It’s just a natural part of being human, I think.

  9. Commutes are a pain. I’ve fortunately never had to, but this means that my boyfriend has had to commute for the past 8 years to different jobs. What helps him is that I do all the cooking because I get home earlier so he can come home, have dinner and then do some stuff for himself like read the newspaper or watch some series. I feel it also helps to not overplan the weekend with activities so that it is actually a moment of rest.
    What kind of genres do you enjoy reading? Some books I’ve enjoyed over the past couple of years (I’m looking at my bookcase as I’m typing this): Almost anything written by Ken Follet, especially his Century Trilogy, The Cathedral and World without End. Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones (ties nicely to your recent trip to Spain). The books about private detective Cormoran Strike by Robert Gailbraith (pseudonym of J.K. Rowling) and the detectives written by Elizabeth George. For some light reading I enjoy Shanna Swendson’s Enchanted Inc. series. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods blew me away when I first read it (Seriously, I got so absorbed in it that I didn’t even look out the window as we were touring around South-Africa…). The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid was really interesting. The time traveller’s wife by Audrey Niffenegger kept me up at night. I’m curious whether you’ve already read any of these?

    • Oh my gosh, thank you for all the recommendations! I haven’t read any of these. I typically read novels but am open to just about anything, as long as there isn’t too much blood and gore. It’s amazing how much reading I’ve been getting done on the subway, so I’m excited to add a lot of new books to my queue!

      I completely agree about not planning things on the weekends. I like knowing that I have two days wide open to relax and just have to take care of a few chores and errands.

      • I’ve been a bookworm ever since I was able to read.When I am too tired to sew I can still read. I ‘ll read pretty much anything except horror and not too much non-fiction.

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