Monthly Musing – September 2019 – Finding the “why”

I’ve got a spare few minutes and I’m scrolling through Instagram on my phone. Every other post is an advert, the current theme of which seem to be about “finding my niche”, “my purpose” or “my why”, all of which I can do with the help of a self-proclaimed expert who will help me to work out exactly why I am here on Planet Earth – as long as I hand over my credit card details and my email address.

I might mutter at the adverts, but actually, isn’t the reason that we are here something that we’d all like to know? What purpose do we have, other than doing the 9-5, the washing, the cleaning, the lawnmowing … surely in the great scheme of things, whatever or whoever created the Universe didn’t imagine that the sum total of our existence would be down to the amount that we put into the recycling bins each week!

My “life purpose” is something that I’ve thought about quite regularly from being a teenager, usually in varying tones of annoyance depending on my age at the time and what the particular circumstances of my life are at that moment. Some people just know what their life purpose is from an early age; I always envied those who were committed to a definite goal whilst still at school whilst probably like many people, I’ve veered from having absolutely no idea to being completely certain – only to change my mind later and think that maybe that’s not the reason I’m here after all. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s OK for that to happen as we all have something to offer at different stages of our lives, and these days, I’m pretty sure of my “why” – the reason that I get up in the mornings – and you won’t be surprised when I mention “socks” in the same sentence!

No, I don’t believe that my main purpose in life is to knit socks, but I do think that being able to pass on the skills to others might well be. I have spoken to so many people at Yarndale this weekend who have told me how a single ball of yarn and a set of needles has been pivotal in their lives in some way, and I am immensely proud to have been part of that process, and grateful to those who came to tell me. With so many teachers and tutorials in the world, it’s good to know that my words have been the ones that have worked for the people that I’ve spoken to, and I know that being able to add to the collective knowledge so that others can teach and learn too is one of the reasons that we’re all here. We are all teachers and learners in equal measure, and I think that our “why” always involves what we can give to someone else as much as what we might gain ourselves.

Does it matter that I didn’t know this at 13? I don’t think so, because I wouldn’t have had anything to offer. Everything happens at the right time, and that includes finding your why – with or without the use of a credit card!

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17 Responses

  1. Lenore says:

    👏👏👏well said Christine. Xx

  2. Judith says:

    I think you are so right Christine. The most important thing, I believe, is our relationships; treating one another with kindness really does make the world a better place – and costs nothing!

  3. Susan Rayner says:

    I wish I knew what my life purpose is – at 72 I am not sure I have found it. But grumpy old lady comes out occasionally – especially when I hear about "mindfulness" wellness" and "me time" – I think teaching us all about socks and creating a wonderfully welcoming community of supportive people could be your life purpose in spades!!

  4. sustainablemum says:

    Finding our purpose here on earth seems to have been a theme for hundreds if not thousands of years. i don't suppose we will ever really get to the bottom of it. Do we really need a reason? It is something I too have pondered over but I would rather spend my time doing things that I do have the answer for as time is precious and it is good to use it wisely!

  5. Unknown says:

    This really works for me. I am always wondering why I am here. Still not sure at 57. But time will tell. Till then I will keep knitting.

  6. Jools41 says:

    I enjoy your blog for your ability to find joy in everyday experiences, I think being happy and sharing that with others is very important. I have never known what I was put here to do and have come to the conclusion that it is the small pleasures and random acts of kindness which have had a greater impact on my life (perhaps this is because I haven't participated in world shaking events!) than any grand plan. Oh and I love making socks; you've helped me improve – so, thank you for that. Best wishes, J xx.

  7. MidgePorterDesign says:

    I still, at 46, have no idea where my life is going or what my purpose is. I just feel time speeding up and that I need to do 'something'. Not sure what that is yet!! Great musings 😍

  8. Wanda says:

    The important things in life are free but vilifying money, and the desire to spend it, is counter-productive. For instance, if we didn’t spend money, we wouldn’t be able to do the things you’re teaching us, and all ads and marketing are self-proclaimed and self-serving–medical, legal, political.

    There isn’t a human being alive who hasn’t pondered their existence and I’d like to submit that knitting socks isn’t a reason, but that it is an excellent vehicle that greases the way to it—which is becoming aware that following yourself (in your case loving knitting and teaching) will lead you where you need to go—in the compassionate service of yourself and others.

    My point is this, you don’t need a theme to share what matters to you. Your followers are following you, for what you’re offering from the inside of yourself. The ads on Instagram are annoying, they beg the question of are there any platforms left where we’re safe and unmolested from interruption and manipulation? I suspect not, and that includes even blog posts.

  9. Lazy Days & Sundays says:

    I used to envy those who knew exactly what they wanted to do from a very early age. I talk to consultants at work who will say they knew from a very early age that they wanted to become a doctor or to nurses who knew from the age of 3 they wanted to be a nurse. I think I just followed in the footsteps of my mother who had always worked as a shorthand typist. I have always worked in clerical and admin roles I would of loved to run craft shop of some description but the opportunity never arose. My mum was also an accomplished seamstress and I have fond memories of her and my grandmother with their sewing machines set either side of the fire place, sadly I didn't inherit that skill.


  10. Anonymous says:

    The Larger Westminster catechism asks, What is the chief and highest end of Man?
    The answer says, Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully enjoy Him forever.
    Whether you believe in God of not, whatever you do glorifies God, if it's done in a way that helps someone.
    Christine, you do this every day!
    I'm almost finished my very first Winwick Mum sock, and I couldn't have done it without your online tutorials. Thank you.

  11. happy hooker says:

    At 65, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up! Like many, I just fell into various jobs, but the best ones were/are being a wife and mother. Having people in your life who mean the world to you has got to be the best reason to be here. Just spotted that you're reading "The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden". I haven't read that one, but I'm half-way through another of Jonas Jonasson's books, "The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared". I can highly recommend it. xx

  12. Mandy says:

    As the song says Que sera sera. Just enjoy your self, we only go round once so make the most of what you have and don't worry about what you haven't. To quote another song "don't worry, be happy" Thanks Christine for sending me my lost pattern.

  13. Attic24 says:

    Such an interesting read and a wonderful invite to ponder – loved reading the interesting comments too. x

  14. TheAwakenedSoul says:

    I think using our talents and following our passions leads us to our purpose in life. Those things also connect us with like minded people. I think your purpose can change with age. I have a feeling knitting and writing are a part of yours…

  15. Louise says:

    I lost my husband to cancer in the summer but somehow that felt like I was put here to help him through a difficult time. He helped me gain the confidence to overcome health issues of my own; I carried him through a series of unfortunate events and ultimately his illness and death at 44. This post really helps me feel that life is sometimes not one big mission, but lots of smaller ones. I wish I could have grown old with DH, but I am honoured to have cared for him in his last days and feel that gave me a renewed sense of purpose after years struggling to find the one big reason why I was here.

    I took up knitting and crochet two years ago as something to keep my hands busy while watching TV and spending more time away from computer screens and with DH but it became a passion I never realised that I'd be any good at. I've always the theory person, not the practical one, and my sister is the one who gave my parents their grandchildren, but in building my needle and papercraft skills I've found that my love of storytelling, art and craft has come together in one riot of colour, yarn ends and paper cuttings. When I take up a new technique, the first thing I make is a squirrel: while hubby was alive it was his favourite animal. Now he has passed away, it is a way to keep him in my thoughts and prayers. At his funeral, my friend crocheted us little squirrel brooches.

    I've been working on socks this year — I have a few scrappy pairs that need blocking, and I have had more success with toe-up construction than Kitchener, but I love the process and the construction — working in three dimensions is more fun than working in two. You don't happen to know of any squirrel sock patterns out there, do you?!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your husband but thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I love the conversations that come from the Monthly Musings, they really make me think, and I love that the blog becomes a two-way conversation.

      I've had a look on Ravelry for squirrel socks for you – there aren't many that actually feature a squirrel although there are some, such as Nutkin, which are connected. However, if you do a general search for "squirrel" there are lots of other projects that feature colourwork squirrels and particularly mittens; I am quite sure that you could add them to a pair of plain socks as a colourwork feature and it wouldn't make any difference whether you worked them toe up or cuff down xx

    • Louise says:

      You're very kind — been having a go at colourwork so that'll give me some practice. Thanks :).

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