For Christmas I knit some socks for my sister and a scarf for my mom. I learned to knit as a kid, but hadn't ever done any complicated projects because I wasn't comfortable following a pattern.
But I gave it a go. The scarf is a beautiful and complex pattern -- so complex that I had to write each row out on a sticky note so I could follow along without getting lost. I also knit about four inches of it just to learn the pattern, then ripped out the awkward mess and started again. It was BOTH difficult and fun. It was a challenge, and the fun part was in figuring out how to overcome obstacles (like losing my place in the pattern) and in celebrating my success (as the scarf grew and I appreciated its beauty).
My friend taught me how to make the socks. She is such an accomplished knitter that she doesn't need a pattern. They were made with the most beautiful wool I've ever seen. I used 2 mm needles - the smallest needles there are. Those socks were a crazy project, and near the end of December I stopped sparking because all I did, night after night, was knit frantically in order to complete them by Christmas.
I was so happy to give homemade presents to the two people I love most in the world. I was so proud of what I made, too!
I wanted my mom and sister to be warm and cozy, and to think of how much I love them each time they put on their gifts.
As I was knitting on the tiny needles, I would look at the socks and be amazed. Stitch after stitch, they grew. They started from nothing but wool, and they became a tube that became a sock, and then there were two. Stitch by stitch. Each stitch on its own was nothing, but over time, they become something precious.
I thought about how the process of knitting is similar to the process of becoming fitter. One step, two steps -- they're not much on their own. Keep putting one foot ahead of the other, and the steps add up. Keep plugging away, and the walks get longer; maybe they even they even turn into a jog. Over time, the body gets stronger. Muscles, lungs, heart get fitter. Just keep at it, and you can make something precious.