My dryer broke last night. The damn thing is almost 15 years old. No big loss and I knew it was coming, but now I am tasked with buying a new one. My washer is even older than the dryer and still working, but it’s only a matter of time before that’ll fail on me too. I told my husband last night we need to buy a new washer/dryer this weekend, because even though I enjoy going to the laundry mat to wash dog beds and comforters on an occasion, I am not up for weekly trips there. I went last night to dry the load that I was about to put in the dryer.
I’m always humbled when I go to the laundry mat. You see people of all kind there. The husband and wife who go together. The person who reads the newspaper while they wait. The old woman in the corner who talks to herself while she folds. The young college guys who don’t know what they are doing. I am usually the mom with her kids in tow. They get to deposit the quarters. I usually stick around for the wash, but I always sneak out to run errands while the clothes dry. I reason if someone takes me cloths, Oh well.
Wear the clothes.
Wash the clothes.
Dry the clothes.
Fold the clothes.
Put away the clothes.
Cook the food.
Eat the food.
Clean up the kitchen.
Hand wash the pot and pans.
Load the dishwasher.
Unload the dishwasher.
Wipe the counters.
Mess up the house.
Tidy up the house.
Clean the house.
Get frustrated with the monotony.
Daydream about a more fulfilling life.
(Know that I have the power to create it, and I will)
Creative projects get put on hold. I start to stress with madness. The stress reaches a crescendo of annoyance. It quiets down. I ride the calm. The cycle repeats without ever accomplishing anything tangible and I often find myself disappointed.
I am still worrying about the transition from the end of the school year to the summer. Worrying about what? I continually ask myself.
The newly-discovered answer: WORRYING ABOUT BEING PREOCCUPIED AND AGITATED.
I don’t want to be preoccupied. I want to be healthy and present and not frustrated. I don’t want to look back on this time and say goddamnit, Why was I so frustrated? To a point it’s warranted, being a stay-at-home-mom is not an easy job, and I hope I’ll give myself grace when I look back on it someday.
But it’s funny, I’ve addressed so many problems and pain from the past and now I find myself worrying about how my future-self will look back on my life.
Is this normal? Why can’t I ‘just be.’ I read about shit like that all the time — mindfulness, self-help, etc. I read about vulnerability and courage and bravery. And I learn from it and I grow and I love it and it is helping me find ‘peace’ in my life. But it’s a daily struggle.
My therapy appointment went good last Friday. I always have my therapist read back her write-up from the appointment before, which for me was the end of March. I wasn’t doing well then. I was totally depressed. Managing it, as always, but down in the dumps under the surface. I guess that’s what’s great about therapy, you get to air all those sad feelings.
I wasn’t sad or depressed on Friday, just a little overwhelmed and trying to figure out how to take things day-by-day and not let rushes of ideas take over and leave me spent. I need to manage this.
My daughter still has a week-and-a-half of preschool, which means I have time to exercise and I have scheduled appointments out the wazoo. This is good. I’ll be able to start summer with a lot of ‘things’ taken care of. I’m pretty happy about my schedule for the next week-and-a-half. But then what? I made an appointment to see my therapist again this Wednesday evening. We weren’t exactly at a good stopping point, and while I feel like I could fill in some of the blanks about how I want my summer to look on my own, I thought it’d be easier if I saw her again quickly. I feel good about this.
I ordered some of those gigantic post-it notes on Amazon last night. I’m going to tape one to the closet door in my office and make two plans to start.
- June 1-14 (the day my son gets out of school)
- June 15-30
And then I’m going to create a list of summer activities. And then I am going to decide if I want to keep waking up in the early mornings before my kids and husband to write… or if I DO take that writing break… or at least adjust the time of day when I write. I think I need a change. I am thinking about getting up M-F and power walking and listening to a podcast for 30-45 minutes in the morning, maybe some interval running. I definitely need to build in some sort of self-care to my routine or I’ll go bananas.
I’m going to write some mantras and affirmations and words of wisdom and inspiration that I can couple with my summer goals. What’s hard though is when I have inspiration for writing, I find myself wanting to document every thought, but then either I get too tired or the ideas leave me. This is aggravating. I clearly need a mantra to help me handle this. Or a blogging schedule. Something that I can do to clear my mind when it gets too full.
I’m going to start pleaure-reading a new book to keep me distracted from myself. (Ha.) Not a creative book or a motivational book or a memoir — a novel — A Man Called Ove. My sister-in-law highly recommended it.
I decided I AM going to try my damnedest to put aside ambitious writing goals (a book or a book of essays). I decided that I DO want to start writing a memoir in the fall. I decided I am going to ask the woman who owns this cool art studio downtown if I can work something out with her where I use the space weekly to write in exchange for doing some work for her. I don’t want to get isolated in my writing and her studio has great energy that could keep that from happening to me. (But I need to STOP thinking about the fall now, these are the kinds of things that get my head spinning).
Sometimes I think I have ADD… but in reality, writers often have a constant stream of consciousness and it’s always good to unleash it no matter how disorganized. I am sure some of it is the bipolar too.
Over the weekend I bought some curtains and a new lamp and a new bin for my daughter’s room to finish the renovation and match the new carpet and paint job. Then I got caught up and spent some money frivolously. (I love my new clutch, compact and small and cute). I’ve done some impulsive shopping lately, and then I return things because I realize I don’t really need them. I haven’t had this problem in a while. Mainly because I have stayed out of the stores!
Before I curtail my spending habits, I want to buy a picnic basket and a trunk organizer to keep summer stuff in it… pool toys, balls, picnic blanket, paper products. I want to ‘be ready’ for spontaneous park outings, swimming, etc. But… I started stressing about it while in the store buying curtains and then kept telling myself, Slow down, this is not a priority now!
So already, I know, I have to take things day-by-day. It’s hard when I get hypomanic though.
The weekend was good. Slept good. Ate good. Ran hard. Church. Family movie night. Outside play. A few hours to myself. Grocery shopping on top of the frivolous shopping. I made a meal plan for everyday this week, which includes one new recipe. I am excited about that as I want to amp up my cooking.
Cooking. Just one more things I want to do this summer!! “Come on kids, let’s make cookies!”, I’ll say to my kids one summer morning while we are still in pajamas. Gotta slow down though. Figure out what is important first. I cannot do it all. Or can I?? Why can’t I do it all, I ask myself. That’s how people become successful.
My first step though: FIGURING OUT WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT, WHAT I AM WORKING TOWARD, WHAT WILL MEET EVERYONE’S NEED, WHAT WILL FILL ME UP, WHAT WILL KEEP ME BALANCED.
I’ll figure it out and I hope be able to focus. (Because now I am obviously not!)
I am heading to a Creative Nonfiction writing conference this Fri/Sat in Pittsburgh. Yes one more thing and something I know is absolutely going to exhaust me, but I see it as the cumulation of all the writing I have done this winter/spring.
I am starting to feel better in this moment because of pouring all these thoughts out. When it comes right down to it, most of this is just a bunch of bullshit and my pathology. I need to get away from stewing over my life and just play along with what comes my way. I try to control too much. Summer time will be good for freewheeling if I can get to that mindset. It’ll get me out of my head if I can reign all of this in and organize myself.
I wish I could say I’m completely fulfilled in my life. But I’m not and that is something I am going to change. Not overnight and not this summer. I’m going to try to set all this aside and chill out, but come fall it’ll be back to work. I have a strong feeling I’ll have a fresher perspective.
In the meantime that’s not to say that I am not grateful for what I do have — my family, my house, my health — I am, but I want more out of life and I am going to find it.
Regardless, and whether I like it or not, I need to start shopping for a new washer/dryer and goddamnit I am going to make the best out of it. After all it’s an advancement in my ‘career’ as a housewife. Not exactly a publication or an editor or an agent or pay raise or a promotion, but I suppose it is an incentive to keep moving forward. I have wanted to learn something new lately, I guess this will have to do.
Wait. I bet a new washer will have new cycles to try. Because I want out of this one!