Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hitting a wall? Or just feeling my way around one?

Wanted to get some knitting done last night and the night before, but didn't. Not very good for production when you get out of work late, wander for an hour in the dark, and then are so tired that all you want to do is flop into bed without dinner.

One aspect (of many) of holiday time I dislike is the feeling that I have to be in production all these weeks. Producing cookies, producing cards, producing gifts. Ordinarily I knit to amuse myself. I don't particularly enjoy it when I feel I should be doing it. Idem for baking and corresponding. Forget about shopping: even if I weren't in my current state of penury (This month's choice was groceries vs phone and oil. Phone and oil won out.), I'd not hit the stores. I detest shopping even during the non-rush times of the year, so why torture myself even further by doing so during the Christmas rush?

Holidays were nice for a time when I was little, but became miserable later on. When I became of the age where I couldn't get messed with financially by vindictive adults, I stopped going back to the family for holidays. Spent quite a few happy, quiet Thanksgivings, Christmas and New Years alone (How to do that? Simple: lie to all your well-meaning friends who think you shouldn't spend holidays alone. Tell them you have plans.). Recent years have seen me with those I call adopted family and the guy's family. Though am thankful for their taking me in (particularly my adopted mom in Connecticut - had me spend the weekend with her the year my one grandmother died and the other was dying. Made me a stocking and filled it up with toys. Never had a stocking before. Yes, I cried.), I am starting to feel like I need quiet again. No travel, no running around, no screaming children, no nothing. I want stillness and rest and reflection. There's so little of that right now.

It's not just the memory of sad holidays past that's making me feel so scroogelike and unspirited - there are other things: A dying grandfather who's trying to get hospice, but who's getting harassed to have invasive surgery instead. A mother who can't take care of herself, who is befuddled by everything going on, and who calls regularly to post the same reports over and over. A new and improved breast lump. A job where I'm underpaid and unappreciated, where there's no chance to improve myself or move forward. Essentially, I'm just marking time (Only 219 days...but who's counting!) in this limbo until I'm vested in the pension. Expanding my mind, healing my body and keeping up skills are all on hold due to cost of living. (Again - choices, hour of piano lessons or two weeks' worth of groceries? Another course and textbooks or rent?) I hope that I'm not sounding like I'm complaining. This triaging stuff gets a bit tiresome, is all. Am also feeling a bit homesick after my Thanksgiving visit which was so much fun.

I'm struggling mightily with possible realities here:

I'm weak, I'm whiny. I'm never happy. (There are kids in India breaking bricks for a living, for crying out loud. What's my problem?)

I'm depressed. (First diagnosis: mild dysthymia - glass-half-empty syndrome. Current diagnosis: adjustment problems - under a lot of stress, will get over it.)

I'm at a fork in the road and am struggling to choose which direction to take. (There's a reason why I'm marking time and why I know how long until my anniversary date. Don't want to talk about it too much, as don't want to jinx it.)

How I deal with my present and how I mold my future both hinge on how I choose to view myself. Am hoping that things will be clearer once I get through the emotional fog that the next couple weeks are for me. For now, I'll just do what I must to keep up the strength, to get what's required of me taken care of, to pull myself across the December 31 finish line. All major obstacles now, but still surmountable.


Anonymous said...

I still loathe Christmas - can wander about stores hopeless and indecisive, certain that I will blow it buying a gift for a 4-year-old and have him say, "I hate it." Thanks, Mom.

I have some of the same issues with work that you have.

Can you do an adventure? Take a combat pistol class, or the indoor winter sessions for a whitewater kayaking school, or a class in belly dancing? Anything that's not normal you. I've done a couple things that aren't me of late, and it helps.

Be said...

I celebrated a couple 'Jewish Christmases' and had fun with them.

Have come to the conclusion, after just about 10 years in not-for-profit (human services to be exact) that I really think I'd like to work for a for-profit next. At least they have to watch a bottom line somewhere, and I've heard that they actually reward ideas that save money/up efficiency.

As for the adventure? My life's an adventure. (snort) I'd not even touch a combat pistol class here, as it's such an anti-gun environment. I'd worry about getting kicked out of my home or potentially even losing my job if word got round that I was taking shooting lessons (yes, it can be that unreasonable here). I'm saving that for my next incarnation: The saner members of the family are instructors in various martial arts (from shooting to kempo to fencing) and I fully intend to return to the fold ojala and take advantage. Have been away for too long. As for the bellydancing: well, one of my goals is to get up the courage to dance professionally by 40.

Everything you've mentioned is a facet of me, and something I've tried either hiding or repressing. Maybe I should try to be more me and less what I believe other people think I should be. There's a thought.

Something for you to consider, too, if you are who I think you might be. (If you aren't, excuse the familiarity.)

Yogo said...

You know what I want? I would like for my friends and close family members to agree to a giftless Christmas. I think all the gifting adds to the stress. Just come and eat like Thanksgiving. There's so much stuff surrounding Christmas I don't blame you for needing quiet.

If I could, I'd spend the holiday in a northern cabin. Build a fire, watch the snow, make a big pot of beef stew, munch on crusty bread, drink plenty of red wine.

And I'd bring the guy too.

Be said...

Nappy: you hit on it. That's exactly what I'd like to be doing. I could take or leave the guy at this point, however.

As for the giftless thing, so long as people use this as a gauge to show 'love,' can't see getting much buyin on that.

Yogo said...

Alone in the cabin would be nice too. Gotta have some hot cocoa and a few silly magazines on hand too. And turn off the cell phone.

Be said...

Heck, the cellphone's goin' in a snowbank! (Well, maybe not...I'm not really that destructive.) wine...crossword puzzles. A magazine or two. Bliss. Could I have a sauna or an outdoor hot tub with this cabin?

Yogo said...

Outdoor hot tub.

Be said...

Had my first experience with one of those over Thankgiving. Get heated up, dive into a snowbank. Go back to get heated up again, then dive back into the snowbank.

Was soooo nice.