Last week I really hit a wall. I am sure in some way this transient lifestyle caught up with me. I did what I call “went to ground.” I just stopped. I just become even more of a introvert and only did things that make me smile. Most of them alone. No apologies for my choices of activities. No embarrassment about what I chose do. I lived each moment in the here and now.
So for those of you regular readers, don’t worry. I am sure it was some kind of mental health bump. A really good mental professional once said, as long as when you hit a bump you use the tools you have and you make good forward progress then you are good on your own. When your tools are not helping or you refuse to use your tools then you need to make sure you reach out for help. I did not stay in bed and do nothing. I wasn’t blue, sad or feeling depressed or hopeless. I just needed to slow down and do what it took to recharge and get my feet back under myself. I think it was just some reckoning of life in upheaval as we passed week 12 in the apartment.
So what did I do?
I had two firm commitments and I attended both of those, my book club and my watercolor class. I enjoyed them both and the people in them. I am the youngest person in my book club, but this group takes me into places I would not normally travel. This month’s book was The Warmth of Other Suns. We did our meeting via Zoom. Everyone wanted to meet in person but we all wanted safe more. My watercolor class is taught by a local artist. She is so talented. We meet at the local cultural center. There are only four students and we all mask up for the hour and half class. This week we did a beach scene. I got my ocean wrong, but for a quick first painting of a seaside it was a fun exercise.
I watched two movies in just a few days. For me this is like watching a 1,000 hour TV marathon nonstop. I can’t remember when I last watched TV for more an hour in a single setting. I liked the movies and sat still for both of them. Not my usual cup of tea, both were documentaries.
I also played Kitchen Crash. For those you not familiar with this TV show, it was a reality show, where some chef/food professional came to your house and made a meal out of what you had in your refrigerator and cupboards. My refrigerator and asking Google for a recipe using X ingredient meant I was cooking up a storm. Cooking is calming, creative and an expression of my love for others. I made a zucchini cake, rhubarb crumble, homemade tortillas that became pork street tacos, homemade pizza using tapas leftovers, mini cheese cakes, a kung po inspired vegetable crisper dump with chicken and tried brining and roasted fresh dug peanuts. This required some serious eating here daily, but fortunately I have become the master at cooking for two. So there were no leftovers.
I did not art during my down time. I had been doing mega doses of art since we moved in the apartment. I was arting overtime daily. I needed to step back and I did. I had reached the point where I was not enjoying my art. One should never get to that point. Today I am half a week behind in year long class, but I am ok with that and will catch up in the next few weeks. I gave myself permission to art for me until I get into the house and start setting up my studio space. I do what I do. No more racetrack art.
This was the most unexpected thing I did during my down time. I embraced wild and crazy socks. I get cold feet, even during the summer here in North Carolina. I have a nice collection of sport socks and dress socks My dress socks are gold toe black socks that are exactly the same. Now you know how boring I am in the sock department. Enter 10 pairs of Halloween socks. I was checking out at Marshalls, walking down that aisle of impulse items that you have to go down before you get to the cashier. There was a packed of low profile Halloween socks 10 pair for $6. They went into my cart. I thought that they would be a great cold toes addition. Those of you familiar with me know I have no use for the Halloween holiday. I don’t hate it only because it is not worth expelling that kind of energy that hating it would take. Suddenly every evening I have on a different pair of socks with some crazy design. What is even stranger is I am hoping for the next set to be either Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, or autumn. Each evening when I settle down in a chair with a book, these wild Halloween design socks just make me smile and what better way is there to end the day than with a smile.
So my words to you is embrace what makes you happy. Small things. Big things. Let there be no such thing as a guilty pleasure, just let it be a pleasure. Look for what will bring a smile to your face. Acknowledge those wonderful things inside you and don’t wait for someone else to tell you that you are wonderful. Treat your body well. Let those around you love you, but also love yourself. You take care of yourself and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Embrace each moment. Live in the here and now.