Oh, my people, I have so much to be writing about. As always. It is overwhelming. Thinking and wondering and making connections, or trying to, all the time. It is tiring, actually. My son and I are reading so many thought-provoking works of fiction and non-fiction together. I’m really backed up with all that I could write about. But let me at least explain my word for 2020 that I have hashtagged often on Facebook since January.
Okay, that’s two words. I know.
Basically, I mean Get Out of the House. I really don’t have to go far. Some of this is for my physical health, but the biggest part is for my mental health. In 2019 I was becoming increasingly overwhelmed and depressed, and by the end of the year all I wanted was to complete whatever outside the home tasks each day, such as teaching 40+ piano lessons, and just come home and sit on the couch and watch Hallmark and British TV. I couldn’t even focus on reading any of my many beloved books — although, I did manage to meet my Goodreads goal for the year by some miracle. I had decided for my son’s new school year in the fall (he’s now an 11th grader in our homeschool) that the word would be Chill, and that had been and has been going well, but the rest of my life, not so much.
Have you heard of hygge? Go look it up; I’m not taking this space to explain it. That concept was like an answer to an introverted reader’s prayer. And I still think there’s a lot of good to it. As a Montanan, I appreciate the Dane’s concept of enjoying the potential coziness of winter. But how easy it is, at least for me, to take this permission to retreat to an extreme. “Avoid all extremes”, the writer of Ecclesiastes says. And then near the end of the year, I watched a friend making a decision to cut off relationships and out-of-the-home activities, and I felt very sad for her and then took a hard look at myself.
I had been trying to come up with my word for the new year and suddenly I had it. Well, them.
I seem to stay in a constant state of disappointment over people and their thinking and actions, and over the past few years, major conflicts have happened about every six months. My Facebook friends can tell. I start posting stressed posts and quotes and memes and scriptures. I wrote about the weariness I felt after a particular event here. I occasionally get a little PTSD and have flashbacks, as evidenced by yesterday’s Facebook posting of witnessing my brother’s bloody death in 1998. I realized that when I stay at home — where there is plenty of chores to do — have you seen my stacks? and the dust? — I tend to obsess over the foolishness of people. School planning, piano planning, balancing my checkbook — those get done, but the stack of books and papers and dust and dishes remain. And my obsessing gets me no where. But if I get out — physically leave this place, I am instantly better. Go to my studio to teach, I am better. Go to the gym, I am better. Go to the store, I am better. Walk to the chiropractor, I am better. Walk to the bank, I am better. Go to Monday music classes at We, Montana’s Great Room, I am better. Meet a friend for coffee, I am better. Sit in my camp chair while Jack, James and friends play Ultimate, I am better. I don’t need to go hiking in the mountains, but it sure is nice seeing them in the distance when I Get Out.
I love Montana’s big sky and wide open spaces. I can breathe here. Just by walking out my door. And I need connections in the flesh. I’m grateful for my students and their families, all the kids and parents that participate in Jack’s We, Montana! classes, my local CM friends. It seems that when you lose some friends, more come along. I’ve had a couple of local CM friend’s (if you don’t know what that means, you haven’t been reading me), who have been especially encouraging to me when I wanted to give it all up.
And I’m especially grateful to my husband Jack, who never gives up on me. He understands depression and disappointment and encourages me in all my endeavors, weak as they may be at times. His tenacity and faithfulness are unbelievable at times.
Yesterday I posted this on Facebook, provoked by thoughts of people saying, “Nobody can tell me how to….” :
I have been a human being for 58 years, but I’m still learning to be a better human being. I’ve played piano for 51 years, but I’m still learning to be a better pianist and musician. I was taught about God and the Bible from birth and made my own decision to follow Jesus 48 years ago, but I’m still learning about God and the Bible and how to be more like Jesus. I have been teaching for 37 years, but I’m still learning to be a better teacher to all my students, including my son. I have been a wife for 18 years, but I’m still learning to be a better wife to Jack. I have been a mother for almost 17 years, but I’m still learning to be a better mother to James. I am learning (and often doing some unlearning — I’ve been wrong about many things) through reading and listening and seeking the advice of others further in their knowledge of all these areas of my life. And I am putting my learning into practice. I am not done. Are you?