Sunday, February 21, 2021

Unstructured Time

Another similarity between my experiences with both infertility and the pandemic is having a lot of unstructured time. 

I didn't know I was infertile so when my husband at the time was (finally!) okay with not using contraception anymore, I quit my job in preparation to be a stay-at-home mom. So I also spent my years trying to get pregnant with very long and lonely days.

Now it's a pandemic so none of us (at least in the blogosphere anyway) are living our lives normally. As you already know, the lack of precautions were so bad at my job I resigned.  So here I am again, unemployed with lots of unstructured time.

You know, that makes me think of another time period in my life. I had a terrible accident in my early 20s that left me unable to work for a year. That was another chunk of my life with unstructured time.

So, what I'm saying is I have experience with unstructured time on my side.

I... Do not deal well with lack of structure. I thrive on routine. Without it, I can easily overwork myself (in an ineffective way) or, just the opposite, be completely unproductive... For a very long time. I can very quickly and very easily slide into another depressive episode. It takes energy to fight and live this life.

So at the beginning of January, I knew I was going to have to give myself a little bit of structure. Therefore, I wrote a short list of things I wanted to accomplish for Jan./Feb. I didn't write down too many things. I knew I'd be processing my most recent job experience, the last several years of my life, and the pandemic. But I also wanted to make good use of the gift of time I'd been given by getting crap off of my To Do list after they'd been on my mind for a couple of years.

Friends, I would like to celebrate. 

We have one more week of February left and I have finally changed my legal name on every important account I have except one! I'll figure out what I need to do for the last account this week and then I will be DONE! My original name will be fully restored and my children's last name will only appear on junk mail in the future, nothing serious or important. 

Not as significant, but I also finished unpacking the kitchen boxes from our move last summer, renewed my state professional license, and figured out solutions for several different sewing problems I had. (Turns out, my young friends in grad school were right. Just watch videos online to learn what you need to know!) I got out of bed every morning, showered most days, and stayed on top of the laundry and dishes. 

Why yes, I am congratulating myself for maintaining my own adult life for the last 2 months haha. 

My two-month list strategy was helpful, so I've already done the same for Mar./Apr. There are just a few more tasks that have been on my mind for a couple of years now. I want to take advantage of this unstructured time to take care of what I've been putting off. 

At a leisurely pace of course. ;)

I was quilting these past Friday and Saturday nights. I finally sat down for several hours each night and really enjoyed myself and the process. I thought, "Would I have the time to do this if I had had kids?" The answer is of course. The quilting world is very fertile; there are a ton of quilters with a ton of kids. The few teachers I've had all had kids and talked about teaching them how to sew. I would still sew if I was raising children. Women have literally done it for centuries.

But much more importantly, the answer doesn't matter. Because the fact of my life is I'm not raising kids. And right now I DO have unstructured time. That's just how it is. I don't have to apologize for my life, explain it, or make excuses for it. 

But with you all, who understand, I am happy to share that I am living my life. I am using my time well, getting stuff done and enjoying life along the way.

 ✨ I finished my 10th quilt last night! ✨
"Sewing mends the soul."


  1. Beautiful! The post AND the quilt! Good for you for ticking off items on your to-do list. I know I feel enormous satisfaction when I can do that. (And yes to the Youtube videos - the crazy tea cosies I am knitting occasionally have a new or unusual technique, and I find the pattern writer isn't great at describing them. So I am very thankful for helpful demonstrations on youtube.)

    1. Yes, it's very satisfying to mark things off the list. And it continues to amuse me how the things that I put off aren't actually that hard to do...

      And yes to videos! It can really simplify the problem solving process. I'd love to see pics of your knitted tea cosies. :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm going to mail it to one of my best friends as a random surprise present... :)))

  3. I love the colours & patterns in your quilt!!

    1. Thank you!! I really like making those star pattern blocks so I've already made two quilts with that pattern! :)

  4. So beautiful! And congrats congrats congrats on changing your name! It sucks so much that women have that piece (I've changed mine THREE times -- for my first marriage, THE DAY I got my divorce decree, and then my second marriage. I almost didn't change it again because it's such a royal pain in the ass!). That's huge. And I think you get tons of credit for successful adulting in this time of transition. I love your goals and structure, and my goodness that quilt is gorgeous.

    1. Thank you. I thought that this was kind of a boring post. Like, it was good for me to write but maybe not that interesting to read? Haha. But thank you. Adulting is hard, especially during a pandemic combined with very unexpected unemployment.

  5. Well done, Phoenix! It does feel good to get some things done. I am glad you seem to know your own needs and take care of them <3.

    Wow, congratulations on finishing your 10th quilt! It's beautiful.

    1. Sometimes I know what I need; sometimes I don't. Like this morning for instance. I'm feeling all sorts of things, but I am not sure what I need...

      Thank you Elaine. I really love making quilts. :)