I love my husband. I adore him. He is my best friend, my biggest support, and the person I regularly trust for advice on what looks good on me. I am lonely for him when he's not around. And right now, he's not around.
Brian's away on a youth retreat. It's just a weekend gig, he'll be gone and back within 48 hours. On a side note, I have to work this weekend. Saturday AND Sunday. And all last week, and all next week. When you work for the people who crunch the numbers, and the budget is due at 4pm on Sunday, you're in the office a lot. I don't mind, because we really need the money, and I won't feel so lonely and useless. I wish I could bring the dog with me, for two reasons: I love my doggie and wish I could take him everywhere; and I don't like the idea of him being here alone for so long. I don't think today will require me to put in huge amounts of hours, but still. He was definitely clingy last night when I got home. I guess he can sense that Brian is gone, too. At least I have the benefit of knowing when he'll be back.
When I'm in the empty house, with the long list of things that are still waiting to be done, I get overwhelmed. It's not that my house is particularly disastrous (although I would be absolutely mortified if Brian's parents saw it this way) -- it's that I think it should be better, and I think Brian thinks it should be better -- and I heap all kinds of unreasonable expectations on myself. Will letting the Christmas wrapping paper sit out until March jeopardize my marriage? No, probably not, but it contributes to the havoc in my mind, escalates the anxiety, brings the misery a little closer. And THAT breeds trouble.
'Should' is my weapon of choice. And I wield it often.
So I sit, and look around, and my mind races and stalls, and I dwell on my perceived failures. Instead of being productive, I get stuck. I 'should' myself to a halt. So not only am I beating myself up about all the things that need to be done, I'm beating myself up about the fact that I'm too overwhelmed to do anything about them. It's an evil, horrible, perpetuating self-help disaster. I'm particularly susceptible to it these days, what with the money woes on top of all the normal stuff. The bad news is, no job prospects have materialized into even a phone call yet. The good news is that I have 7 resumes out that have not yet been rejected. The GREAT news is that I've unearthed a couple of small things that help me cope. I'm feeling particularly exclaim-ful about one of them at the moment.
Monogamous knitting. I used to want to cast on for all kinds of projects - have a knitting project in every room and one to go - all kinds of ideas, all kinds of yarns, all kinds of plans. But you know what? Sitting around being anxious does not leave much time for making progress on knitting. So all those projects that I'd started would move from the list of things I wanted to do to the list of things I should have been doing. It didn't work for me. At all. Knitting is something I want to love, not something I want to feel obligated to do. So, what did I do? I decided to let all unfinished projects hibernate. The big projects that I'd barely started, I ripped out and re-balled and packed away. I took stock of my relatively meager yarn stash. And I started looking for small projects that I could do. Small. And I now knit one small thing at a time.
This has been almost therapeutic for me. The time investment isn't big, but I can still feel accomplished. I'm taking care of ME, making carefully constructed hand-knit items for myself while sharpening my skills. And I can't afford to buy myself things right now, but I've got a whole bin of yarn just begging to be knit up, so by knitting, not only am I being good to myself, I am alleviating some of the guilt associated with a whole bin of yarn that I spent money on in the past 2 years and is now just sitting around.
It feels good. It feels good to be productive and make something with my hands. It feels good to be reducing the amount of clutter I have, by using up yarn and not replacing it. It feels good to think about the different things I could make for other people or for charitable causes with the rest of the yarn in my stash. It feels good to DO something. And best of all, I like knitting.
It's a great first step. Not infrequently, I'll sit and feel overwhelmed, and then pick up the pointy sticks to find some sort of escape. And then, as if by magic, I've actually DONE something, which means I can KEEP doing things. When I've knitted enough to escape the chaos in my mind and come back to reality, I'm motivated to get UP and do something. It hasn't made a huge difference on decreasing the to-do list, but it's helped me keep the list from getting much longer.
Is knitting my key to a happy, healthy life? No. But it's one of the small things I can do now to help me I get to where I want, and need, to be.