I've been known to escape through various methods. I'll spend all weekend reading novels, and only reading novels. I will stop answering email or phone calls for a week at a time. I will get under the covers and stare at the wall for hours. Occasionally, but not often, I will get in the car and actually go somewhere, kind of loll around for hours. I shut down. I pull the shades on life and let my mind..just....disappear.
It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to realize that this is maybe not the best approach to difficulty. And as I've been reading a lot lately about mindfulness (marriage isn't the only self-help topic I love!), I've been trying a new approach:
Revel when I like something. Take action when I don't like something.
(I've had a few opportunities to try this out in these past few weeks.)
Because of the reveling and the action-ing, I've been up to some fun things lately.
- I finished the quilt I started back in September.
- I 'redecorated' the apartment and now it's much less cluttered and more cohesive (and it looks less like a bachelorette pad and more like a man lives here too, actually).
- I attacked a green wax stain* on a cute (and expensive!) seersucker dress. (Ashley: 1; Stain: 300).
- I set up a painless plan to reduce the amount of clothing I own (a hybrid of JD's method and Joshua's method, minus the spare closet) (PS - two great blogs, those two!).
- I spent an afternoon thinking about how I should be vacuuming.
All in all, I feel better doing this whole 'stay present' thing. I feel more relaxed, actually. When I sit there and zone out, and then get agitated about how I'm not doing anything when there's so much to do, I pick one thing that I could do, right now, pretty fast. And then I get up and get sidetracked by three other things go make a sandwich have to take Rory out go do that thing.
Keeping in motion. That's what it's all about, for me. I've been somewhat aware of my tendency to stall out for a few years now, but as I've taken on more and more adult responsibility, it has become the glaring issue that it really is. I'm realizing just how big of a problem it is to just...stop living.
I'm one of those people who doesn't do well when living alone. I need the accountability of a roommate, an actual person who will make an appearance every evening and every morning, or I will do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I won't cook, or clean, or sleep, or go anywhere other than to work and back. I'll maybe eat a bowl of cereal or a Hershey bar, the entire day. I just kind of...shut down.
I know, it's so weird!
Granted, I was in and out of a multi-year depression that ranged from 'Ok, I can handle this' to 'I oughtn't operate heavy machinery if I manage to get out of bed today' for most of college and through the first year or so that we were married. So that's what, 7+ years that I was on the brink? I'm better now, so much better, so I don't know if becoming inert is something I'd deal with these days. But I'm not about to play with that book of matches.
So with Brian gone all last week, it was really important to me that I keep in motion, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I can handle being alone, and upheaval at home, and working a new job, AND a border collie, all at once.
I'm so proud of myself right now. I missed Brian, a lot, but that didn't stop me. I didn't eat as well or sleep as much as I should have, but I did eat, and I did sleep. And as much as that dog always sometimes irritates me, she does keep me in motion.
All in all, I feel like I've made some real progress in the past year. Inside and out.
And I can't wait to show you what's on the wall above our headboard now!!
*Any pointers on getting wax stains out of seersucker? The wax is gone (I did the iron thing) but the stain, it remains. I've tried boiling hot water, soaking overnight in oxy-clean, bleach pens, and vinegar. Nothing is working. I am sad.