“Your Life Calling”

Life has been almost too much lately–but fun!  In  late January, I was invited to be interviewed for an AARP television project.  The caller was looking for people who had made significant mid-life changes and reinvented themselves

Jane Pauley

Jane Pauley

after age 50. And yes, it was true; I had done this 10 years before when I left the 9-to-5 world of healthcare administration and took up my knitting needles full time. You could have knocked me over with a pin, however, when the caller said that the TV project was going to be a Today Show segment hosted by Jane Pauley and sponsored by AARP. I  am not one to search out cameras and lights. The thought of it was, to put it mildly, a bit terrifying. Now, however, I’m glad I decided to give it a go because this unexpected life chapter turned out to be a fascinating adventure.

The week began at Java House where the producer and camera crew joined me and my Tuesday knitting community in our favorite sunlit atrium spot. Footage of my husband Terry, our dogs and me in our condo followed in the afternoon, as well as a dog walk in Esther Short Park. The dogs, of course, looked great in their matching pumpkin-colored “Dandy Dog” sweaters. The condo footage included the inside of our closet!  It houses lots of handknit socks stacked in rows (albeit neater and more color-coordinated rows now than before the film crew was scheduled to arrive.) And no, the whole stash didn’t line up for a big group shot (after all, this was all being done for a relatively short video segment), but yarn was played with and more photos taken.

Interview with Jane PauleyWednesday held more filming and  finally the trip to Tacoma, WA, where the annual Madrona FiberArts Festival was about to begin. Friday morning I finally met Jane, was interviewed by her at Yorkshire Yarns in Lakewood, WA,  and then walked her through the yarn market at Madrona where she was excited and surprised by the beauty and varied fibers available to knitters today.

You, too, can see this on her new monthly program, “Your Life Calling,” which debuts March 9, on the Today Show. The segment will also be posted on the AARP website with related articles. Jane took on this new project after struggling with what to do next in her life in the years after leaving “Dateline” and becoming an empty nester.  The 90 minutes I spent being interviewed by

Betsy signs copies of "Knit Socks!"

Signing copies of "Knit Socks!"

Jane absolutely flew by.  It was like two girls from Indiana talking (I was born there, but grew up in Illinois) about something they felt passionate about.  She was down-to-earth, very approachable, warm, and when I put knitting needles in her hands later in the marketplace, they remembered what to do with them!  She hadn’t knit since she’d been pregnant with her twins who are something like 27 now! And she left Madrona inspired by all the wonderful yarns and carrying (like the rest of us) a skein of yarn that spoke to her and a new circular needle to use on the plane ride back to NYC.

The experience was a wonderful gift of the sort that comes to us unexpectedly–out of the blue, to use part of the subtitle of Jane’s autobiographical book, “Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue.”  It caused me to reflect upon the experiences I’ve had because of knitting, the wonderful friends I’ve made, what I’d given to others, how I’d spent my last 10 years and what I’ll do during the next.

It occurred to me that any number of other knitters could have been the subject of this film segment, too.  That’s one of the things I love about hanging out with knitters and spinners—they’re good people with great stories.

16 thoughts on ““Your Life Calling”

  1. Besty, I just saw your segment and was very inspired! I have cut back on my career though I haven’t done more knitting (just really prefer knitting as a part-time/occasional hobby). Looking forward to more of your blog!

  2. What a lovely surprise to happen onto this morning. Your interview with Jane Pauley was really so nice. You did us proud!

    Knitting nut in Albuquerque, NM

  3. Hi Betsy,
    Just watched the interview. That was wonderful! What a great representative you are for all of us.
    You looked sooo calm and collected. Of course I’ve never seen you otherwise.
    Congrats!

  4. I saw the information on Ravelry about the interview. How very interesting. I enjoyed reading the articles on AARP too. Thanks for doing this so well.

    • Thanks. I, too, enjoyed the aarp.org articles that accompany the video that is slightly longer than what played on the Today Show. My favorite article was the one that talked about my teaching my daughter Becka how to knit. I really had thought that knitting was going to jump a generation here, as it had done in my case. So, my heart sung when she asked me several years ago to teach her, and it really sung very loudly when she picked it up so quick. I love that article where she was interviewed about that, as well as about her best selling nonfiction book.

  5. I’m so glad I happened to be passing by when your interview came on. You are inspirational. Lovely interview, and lovely blog, too.

  6. Betsy

    Just watched your segment on the Today Show website, and read the AARP article. You truly are an inspiration. I was a single mother, a nurse, working part time, earning just what we needed, so I could be home as much as possible for my children (I’m pretty frugal-LOL).

    I’d always expected when I became an empty nester, that I’d up my hours at my job to full time. But the time arrived, and I’d discovered knitting. I couldn’t imagine more hours at my stressful job, at this time in my life-mid 50s. So I kept my position, and all those hours I’d devoted to parenting, I’ve now channeled into my passion for knitting-socks, mainly.

    I still make enough to get by, and with the kids gone, expenses are less-so I have the luxury of knitting retreats, a couple cruises with a knitting group, and lots of gorgeous sock yarn. The highlight of my past year was attending Sock Summit-I really loved the Pacific Northwest, the beautiful yarns in the marketplace, taking a class on sock design with CookieA, and of course, all the wonderful fellow knitters who “get it” about sock knitting.

    I’m much happier living this way. Much more than I would have been had I gone for more money and more stress. Thanks again for a wonderful story.

    • Margaret, it sounds like your life is working wonderfully for you. How smart to keep the time freed up and give it back to yourself for knitting. I, too, thoroughly enjoyed the Sock Summit and am looking forward to another one happening—-maybe next year. I don’t know that for sure but have heard positive rumblings about it. It was one of the most wonderful gatherings I’ve ever attended and a great place to teach.

  7. Betsy,

    You are in inspiration to all women. Knitting is also my passion. However, knitting on the east coast does not seem as popular as it is on the west coast. I work a 9-5 job and I have shared my passion for knitting with my coworkers. One day I hope to teach on a broader scale. I also hope I can come out to the west coast one day and browse through the many yarn stores.

    • Thanks, Karen. Although I don’t know exactly where you live, there are areas on the east coast heavily populated by serious knitters and spinners, as well a number of annual fiber festivals and related events. I feel fortunate, however, to live in the Northwest–we have good weather for knitting, lots of local yarn shops, opportunities to get together (e.g., the Madrona Fiberarts Festival, The Black Sheep Gathering, The Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, to name a few) and lots of talented and experienced knitters. Is there a knitting guild anywhere nearby? They can be a real source of inspiration and friends.

  8. Betsy,

    I just saw your Jane Pauley interview on the AARP website and read the articles.

    You are an inspiration!

    You must have a parallel life with my mother in law. She is a quilter and proclaims to enjoy many of the same benefits and a result of doing her craft.

    Suzy Weiss

    • Yes, a lot of us are living and enjoying parallel lives. I always think about how if any two of us got together, we’d find out we are more similar than different in the ways that really count!

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