IN THIS ARTICLE:
Making good on your promises to those you love
even when life gets weird.
We’ve got loads of reasons for leaving business unfinished. Like, there are some things that you don’t finish out of a crippling perfectionism — the kind that tells you that if a thing won’t be perfect, it isn’t worth finishing. Or there are some things you don’t do because you’re really busy and they’re not as high on your priority list. And then, of course, there are the things you leave unfinished out of sheer laziness. All can be shame-inducing.
But there’s a special kind of shame reserved for when you’ve promised to make something for a loved one for a special occasion that you had every intention of finishing on time for that occasion, but you don’t.
Such is the case with this cardigan I promised to my husband for Christmas. Christmas 2012. It is now October 2017. Or, wait a minute — maybe I promised it to him for his birthday? Who knows, I can’t even remember. All I know is that I started making the thing five years ago and have promised to finish it every subsequent year, but life got weird. Weird how? Work stressed me me out. Work stressed him out. We were stressing each other out. Resentments festered. Etc.
To make matters worse, this isn’t just any cardigan — it’s the “Dude” cardigan. Yep, the famed ’70s Pendleton worn by Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski. An article of clothing I chose to DIY for my husband because he’s been a HUGE fan of the Coen brothers since he was a youth growing up in a small town in Northern Ireland with this crazy, far-fetched ambition to one day move to Los Angeles to work in the entertainment industry. Such was his love for the big screen. And the small screen. All the screens.
With much hard work and persistence (on top of natural talent, of course), my amazing dude uprooted his life and moved halfway across the world to make his goal a reality. Even when life got weird.
I, on the other hand, chickened out of my childhood career ambitions, moved a mere 30 miles from where I grew up, and I can’t even finish a lousy cardigan for the person I love most in the world.
Of course, I could continue using the “poetic” excuse of taking the same laissez-faire attitude while making this cardigan as the Dude himself took throughout the film. That is, “the Dude abides” unchanged as all hell breaks loose around him.
But, and I’m going to be super frank now, one of the biggest reasons I didn’t put in the time and effort to finish this cardigan for my husband was resentment. I was depressed and dissatisfied with my life. Consumed by a job that was only leading me farther away from where I wanted to be. He was busy with a career that was blowing up. And resentment manifests in all sorts of ways — like being unwilling to put in the extra effort at the end of a tiring day to make good on a promise years ago. And, in more ways than one, this cardigan seemed to epitomize his success and my (perceived) failure. Resentment makes us conjure up crazy symbolism like that.
But no more. I hereby proclaim THIS to be the year. Not just for finally finishing this cardigan, but for making a greater commitment to finish what I start. To actively pursue and take responsibility for my own happiness. To love my loved ones like there is no tomorrow. Unconditionally. All of those things we know we should do but don’t — until tragic things happen in the world that remind us that tomorrow is never, and was never, guaranteed.
So Los Angeles had better have a cold, cold winter this year, especially after the record-breaking heat we’ve had throughout the fall. Otherwise, my husband’s going to be sweating buckets wearing this thing on Christmas morning.
Oh yeah, and I think it’s also fitting to announce that 10 years ago on this day, we got married inside a Toyota Prius in a drive-thru wedding ceremony in Vegas.
Here we are, driving down the aisle.
And ordering. I think we had the dinner combo.
Looking forward to 10 more years with my dude.