I'm a firm believer in expansion. I (perhaps obsessively) take the talents I've been given and expand on them, use them to the fullest. For example, I took a little 9 month post-secondary tech certificate and expanded my opportunities to include working for The Cleveland Clinic and eventually teaching adult education in Medical Assisting. And even while teaching, I expanded that to include serving as a panelist for the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio State University for state curriculum in medical assisting and later as a Beta Panelist for Career-Technical Credit Transfer in the state of Ohio to provide adults with post-secondary technical certificates the opportunity to expand that into a degree program. I milked that little 9 month tech certificate for all it was worth and made my way. As a knitter, I initially learned to knit to help my son, who is on the Austism Spectrum, with spacial relations, small motor coordination, and anxiety relief. Of course after that first scarf, I was smitten with knitting myself. Initially, I was scared to move beyond rectangles. I knit scarf upon scarf and afghans for 2 years. Then I moved to PA with my family to find appropriate autism services for our son. I found myself going from Medical Assisting Instructor/Clinical Externship Coordinator/Career Technical Credit Transfer Panelist to SAHM. I felt out of my element. Not that I didn't LOVE getting to stay home and be with DD and help DS adjust, because I truly did. But I felt like I was in shock. I moved to a new place, with no friends. I didn't have a fulltime job for the first time in 12 years. It felt strange. Then I met my local knitting community and found Ravelry.
In the past 4 yrs, I've pushed myself - using the same philosophy I used for work, to learn new skills in knitting. I tried out dyeing yarn. I made my own stitch markers. I learned (and didn't care for) Entrelac. I bought a spindle. It's been another exercise in expansion.
So right now, you may be asking what any of this has to do with Dragons? Okay, here goes. Dragons, being mythical creatures, don't have documented characteristics, per se. But according to the Chinese Zodiac, those born during the year of the Dragon possess certain qualities (which I gather the Chinese derived from their characterization of Dragons). These qualities include: might, dominance, ambitious, driven, willing to take risks, successful, passionate, enthusiastic, colorful, willing to help others, and loyal. Dragons are typically creative and in leadership roles. And WATER Dragons (this year's Dragon) can typically see things from others' points of view and work with others to find successful solutions to any problem.
Okay fiber pals. It's time to tap into our inner Dragons. I've recently started designing. I'm not terrific at it. I need practice to develop my design skills, but it hasn't stopped me from doing so. And in this year of the Dragon, I will passionately pursue my goals of designing and spinning. I will help others who need help. I will assume a leadership role in the knitting community by reaching out to new fiberistas and helping them to expand upon their passions. I will continue to learn, to grow, to practice - and even if that means falling flat on my face (or bum), I'll keep going. I WILL take risks. I will succeed at meeting my own goals.
So this year, I challenge you all to be Dragons. Go dye some yarn. Learn to spin. Pick up a crochet hook or a pair of knitting needles for the first time. Design something. Learn a new hobby or technique. Practice with utter passion. Succeed in meeting your own personal goals. We only have one life to live. Live it to the fullest. You'll never regret it.