Thursday, May 1, 2014

Warning: Vent Ahead

I'm sitting here, fingers poised above the keyboard, trying to figure out how to begin, even wondering if I should begin at all. You see, I'm having one of those days -- more like one of those weeks and maybe even months -- when things are not going well, and I'm struggling.

I wasn't going to share that; instead, I was going to "put on a happy face" and write about . . . well, I'm not sure what I was going to write about. But then I realized that if I'm going to write about my experiences creating a new life after losing my husband, I should do it honestly, even on the bad days. To do otherwise is unfair to anyone traveling this path (changing life after significant loss of any kind) who finds him/herself here. They, too have had and will have days (and weeks, and maybe even months) like mine, and I want them (you?) to know they are not alone, so here goes.

I'm feeling blue -- midnight blue. It's not one thing, but more of a collection of things:

1. My housing situation is unsettled right now. I've been moving, and downsizing, and moving, and downsizing for 4 years, and for 2 years before that we were building and most of our stuff was in storage. I'm tired of being "in process" -- I want to be finished. Finished with less stuff, fewer bills, and less stress.

2. My daughter (who moved home to house/dog sit for me while I was in England) is preparing to move out mid-May. I'm happy for her, I really am. But I will miss her when she's gone; this house will be so empty (see #7).

3. I have too many projects, and a few seem too large for me to deal with. For example, I have 28 years worth of photos and memorabilia to scrapbook (for 2 children); once I get moved (see #1), I know I can make good progress, but it's still there, hanging over my head. Another project is more worrisome (see #4).

4. I have 2 large batches of videos -- one VHS and the other a smaller size -- that I need to either convert or have converted to DVD. Doing them myself would be less expensive (in the long run), but it's such a complicated situation for this non-tech person! The software required isn't all that expensive, but for the VHS tapes, I'd also need to purchase a VHS player. Also, only about 1/3 of the tapes have been labelled, so even if I have someone else (Walgreens or some other company), I need to watch all of the videos to make sure that I don't send off any with nothing more than cartoons or something we taped for the kids to watch when they were little. On one hand, I really don't feel up to watching videos of Christmases and Easter egg hunts, birthday parties and family vacations, and sporting events and school concerts; on the other, I hate having this project hanging over my head, and I would much rather have a stack of DVDs in a basket than the 2-3 grocery bags of tapes sitting in my closet.

Tired of my venting? Unfortunately, I'm not done.

5. I miss my son. I haven't seen him since December 27. I realize that many parents go much longer without seeing their children, and I'm grateful that's not my situation. And trust me, I'm grateful that the reason I haven't seen him is that I was in England and he's in Texas, busy (80-hour work weeks of "busy") with this next step in his career. I know that other parents haven't seen their son/daughter because they're half-way around the world, in harm's way, serving in the Armed Forces. But, still, I miss him.

6. On Saturday, I began a 3-week class in knitting socks from the toe-up, two at a time, something I've been wanting to do for over a year. I was told when I signed up that I'd have a choice between making them with circular needles or with something called magic loop. I was told wrong. We are using the magic loop method -- and I hate it. Really hate it. But I paid for the class and invited a coworker to join me, so I'm stuck. Yes, I keep telling myself it will get better, but . . .

7. For several reasons (some beyond my control), I have not been exercising as I should, and as I used to. My weight is fine and my clothes fit fine, but I am woefully out of shape. And -- gosh, but I hate to admit this -- I have flabby, chicken wing upper arms. Really!

8. I'm lonely. I moved here -- several hours away from my previous home -- 3 1/2 years ago and have met some wonderful people. Acquaintances, yes. Friends, no. I won't go into all of the details as this  entry is long enough already, but between a couple of meet-up groups, work, church, etc., I've met quite a few really nice, friendly people who are busy with their families, friends, career, etc. I long -- and I use that word deliberately -- for a few friends that I could meet weekly or so for lunch or something, who I could chat with on the phone a couple of times a week.

There -- I think that's it. I think the first 7 would be more bearable if #8 wasn't in the mix. But it is, and I don't know how to change that. But that's a post for a different day. It's time now to close my laptop, take a deep breath, pick up my knitting needles, and get to work. Vent over!

What, if anything, is getting you down right now? Feel free to share, to vent and get it off your chest. Conversely, what strategies do you find helpful to not just survive but to actually triumph when life's circumstances are trying to get you down? I hope you'll share via the comments or by emailing me at aliferedesigned@yahoo.com.

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