I frogged a crochet project for the first time yesterday.

Frogging, as I have learned, is a slang term used in crochet, knit, and even cross-stitch communities to describe the act of unraveling work (pulling out a portion, or all, of the stitches). It’s a play on words: frogs say “ribbit, ribbit, ribbit” when they croak; when crafters find a mistake in their work, or decide they no longer want to continue with that work (or want to recover the yarn to do something else), they “rip it, rip it, rip it”.

I had finished the Octopoda the day before so picked up some other work I was going to continue with, did a few rounds on it, and just knew I didn’t care to keep going. All enthusiasm for that specific project had gone. This was a bit of a weird feeling for me, as I’m the kind of person who tends to feel bad about not finishing something. Yet, the desire to move on to something else was strong—stronger than my innate guilt to want to complete the project anyway.

Wooly Ichiban.

I didn’t want to waste the yarn, so out came the stitches. I’ve seen other crocheters refer to their frogged yarn as ‘spaghetti’, but I dunno… To me it’s more like getting a fuzzy lump of Ichiban!

Readers with a keen eye will probably figure out that this frogged project is the Beta 2.0 attempt of my EVE Online Pod Pals project. Having made—and now abandoned—this attempt with the slightly larger, more detailed pattern, I think I will stick only with the Beta 1.0 body (sans jacket).

Frogging All the Things

As a concept, it occurs to me that I’ve started to “frog” a couple of other things lately. When I get home from work I want to do something that relaxes me and promotes a feeling of fun, entertainment, and personal accomplishment, however, quite often lately I run into the word obligation instead. I’m not talking about the kind of life obligations all adults have, like cleaning house or paying bills; I’m talking about things that I once chose to do because “I like to do this” that have now turned into “I feel like I have to do this”—but not in a good way.

Don’t get me wrong: in many cases, obligation can be a great motivator. But it has to be the right kind of obligation and/or obligation at the right level.

I think about activities A, B, C that I want to do, but then remember that activities X, Y, Z are waiting for me—where X, Y, and Z all used to be optional, enjoyable things I engaged in—so A, B, and C get quite reluctantly set aside. Add to that a few recent personal situations that have left me feeling less than stellar and I end up with massive frustration instead.

Well, screw that!

I started by deleting a few apps from my phone that have been nagging me about not paying attention to them. If I’m dismissing the notifications with a sense of “ugh, go away” then what use is that app? Off it goes. It’s a small act but one less thing to feel negatively obligated about is still an improvement.

Then I considered how there is so much META and plain old noise online. It’s easy to become swallowed by it to the point where trying to keep up feels overwhelming and impossible. This has also been part of the problem lately. There are people I know online who have the freedom and the energy to post to their blogs multiple times per week—or even multiple times per day in some cases—and power to them for being able to create their content at that pace. Do I need to follow these people in multiple places? No, actually.

So, I went to Twitter and unfollowed almost 100 accounts. Many of them were inactive, but others I got rid of because I decided they didn’t contribute worthwhile content to my timeline. In Feedly I got rid of all but what I felt were the blogs I wanted to be notified about the most. In G+ I unfollowed anyone I was already following on either Feedly or Twitter. The reduction in the amount of stuff to sift through has been enormous. I am still considering filtering out a bit more. It’s not personal; the content those people create is worthwhile and should be enjoyed by people who have the ability to consume and appreciate it properly. Right now I’m just not one of them.

Maybe most importantly: Two weeks ago I took a break from EVE Online. It was coming up on month-end, quarter-end, and half-year-end at work. With my manager still away on disability (and me trying to do my job and a good portion of hers with no real training or guidance) I just feel wiped when I get home. The end of June was going to make that even worse. It occurs to me now that one of the things I said when I sent the note to my leadership team was, It would help if I didn’t feel obligated to log in.

Since doing these things I have started to feel better and can concentrate on other stuff instead. Most notably, in the last two weeks I have written over 20,000 words on a fiction project—more than I’ve written in the last four years—plus added to my Myst Series playthrough, crocheted a bunch, and have started thinking about other things I’ve wanted to do for a while but haven’t gotten around to because of those other…“obligations”.

Obligation. It really sucks, so don’t be afraid to frog.