Sort-of Vacay

It’s hard to take a vacation when you don’t have a day job.

One might say, “What do you need a vacation from if you don’t work?”

Answer: my life.

Despite spending too much time sleeping and/or sitting around doing nothing, I’m still often stressed.

There’s the huge list of, “I really should do” stuff.

And the messy apartment.

And ten thousand stupid things my head won’t shut up about.

For a few years, my local BFF would come over and make sure I got out of the house every week. The last couplefew years that hasn’t happened for various reasons for both of us. And that’s fine.

But I feel guilty anytime I spend money on anything that isn’t an absolute priority.

My car is starting to have problems and sometimes I don’t have any money for gas, much less maintenance on the car.

I have a lot of friends all over the country, but few locally.

And I spend waaaayyy to much time online, which doesn’t actually help me relax.

Me and C outside the old part of Crocker Art Museum

I haven’t traveled for a vacation in a long time, although I have gone to the Bay Area a few times in the last year or so.

So, when my HS BFF wanted to come out to celebrate my daughter’s graduation and get away from her husband and kids for a few days, I said, “Hell, yes! Come on out!” We met in 5th grade and by the middle of 6th grade, we were besties, all through school. We visited each other in England and Italy when she was in college and I was in the Navy. When I lived near her and C was little, she would sometimes “rent” my kid for the weekend before she and her husband had kids.

She knows my situation, both the mental health issues and the financial ones.

We went out to eat a few times, went swimming, met with my local BFF, went to the movies, grocery shopping, drove up to Sutter Creek and looked at some antique places. But mostly, we talked and talked and talked. That was fantastic. I’ve missed that. Chatting on FB is just not the same, you know?

I needed this time with her something fierce.

We talked about everything, including some of my current issues: work, money, motivation, career direction, what’s next for me.

She gave me a lot to think about.

In the meantime, though, I’ve put off doing some stuff I need to do.

I’m really behind in doing readings that people have paid for. I feel really bad about that, and I’ve got some thinking to do about that.

I’m good at doing the readings. But I don’t know if it’s really a good direction for me to build a business around.

Obviously, I haven’t done well with the Blogging Challenge, either.

Gratitude

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

I remember a few years back gratitude journals were thee big self-help/spirituality fad. Oprah talked about it, even, and it became fairly mainstream.

I’ve been listening to a bunch of interviews with successful people (free content, here and here and here). And the feeling of gratitude is strong, especially in the woman-centered spiritual groups, but really, in most of them. Even in the Amos Winbush interview I referenced yesterday, part of his daily affirmation is “Thank you, LIFE!” and he used it even in his darkest times.

I’ve tried, in thee last few years, I’ve really tried to find things to be grateful for. There was a point, even, where I hand-wrote and sent “Thank you” cards to various people in my life in one of my darkest times.

R, who has been my friend since 6th grade, once sent me a postcard saying, “You suck for never writing to me!” because, well, in our whole friendship, I’ve probably written to her less than a handful of times, even when in the military or separated on summer vacations. When she got hers, she called me to make sure I was ok, since it was so unusual for me to actually mail something.

I tried keeping a gratitude journal, but I’m sporadic about journaling to begin with and it quickly went by the wayside.

This fall, there were a lot of people on Facebook and blogs and stuff doing “30 days of thankfulness” for the entire month of November. I just couldn’t come up with anything to write about.

I can always say that I’m grateful for my daughter, and for N for sticking by me even when I’m a totally selfish shit, and my imaginary intermaweb friends. . .

And that was it.

I couldn’t come up with anything else.

An indication of my depression, maybe?

Suddenly, today, I’m bursting with gratitude for the strangest things. . .

I hated my job at [small company]. I mean enough to make myself a nervous wreck and physically ill at times.

But that job helped me go from renting a room in a toxic person’s house to being in my own place again. It introduced me to the person I bought my car from, which was a very serendipitous event. It introduced me to the woman who helped me come up with a name and logo for my tutoring business. I managed to maintain a good relationship with the company and even got a glowing letter of recommendation from them (and how often does that happen these days?). They sometimes didn’t want to but still ended up being flexible around my school schedule.

And I still have a business relationship with them. It’s not much, but in the last 6 months, the small checks from them have really made a difference. It showed me how much the owner’s attitude and force of will can shape and set the tone for a company.

And it modeled for me some things I would never want to do if I owned my own company – and that, too, is a blessing.

I’m still so, so grateful to R and N for always being there even when I push everyone away.

Modern forms of communication. . .  and even the ability to look up someone from long ago. I’m even grateful to J for looking me up last spring, because it was a huge push I needed to finally stop wallowing in a particular pile of shit and become open for what could happen next.

My imaginary intermaweb friends, who are always so encouraging and protective and helpful, delivering hugs and a kick in the ass as needed. You know, even the grumpy old uncle and the guy living in Pleasantville – as annoying as they can be – have their place in that community [the people who need to know, know]. 🙂 When I was completely unable to connect and communicate in the real world, you guys were there.

And now, my comfort level with electronic communication has me researching all kinds of crazy things.

No idea where it’s going to lead, but I’ve ignored my intuition for a long time, and maybe it’s time to stop doing that. So, I’m riding this thing out and taking copious notes.