A year ago, I got off my antidepressants.
A year ago, finally granted with 7.5 hours/week to myself, I decided to try and regain a grip on my rapidly snowballing life. 7.5 hours isn't so much when you think about it, and so I made what I thought was a wise decision: Instead of making a mile-long to-do list and going ape-shit in my small window trying to get things done, I would prioritize my list, and focus on chunks. So. First priority? Get back into shape, lose weight. I would spend the majority of my 7.5 hours doing that. In any free time I had left over, I'd do something for me. Something mentally healthy. Something to put some definition on my grief.
A year ago today, I started a blog.
Last week, Bella went back to school. I now get 20 (!) hours a week to myself.
And I realize, I am exactly where I was a year ago: a list now five miles long, in need of prioritization, that sadly, reads exactly like last year's: firstly, get back in shape and lose weight. And sometimes, like last Friday, where I went from a tile appointment to a lighting store to a deli in order to buy lunch for my contractors, to picking up Bella and then hustling out to buy gifts for two birthdays this weekend, to preparing dinner so she could eat by six because she was looking a bit peaked, to treating myself to an after-dinner glass of wine only to have Bella wake me up at 1:30 a.m. and never really falling fast asleep again for the rest of the night . . .
I think, Why bother?
Here we go again. We all know how well last year's number-one flab busting mission went. (Not.) And here I am, finally running again in tiny little chunks with walks in-between a la my carefully crafted program by my wonderful PT staff, and I'm developing blisters on my arches where the orthotic hits. Podiatrist appointment set for my "free time" on the 15th. I am still overweight (18 pounds to be exact), and I'm fucking depressed by it. I haven't run in almost a year. And all those things that were supposed to happen after I lost a few pounds and got back in the swing of running? The playroom still isn't painted. The groups I wanted to check out last year, the job possibilities, the yoga class, the incredible list of house projects, the restaurants, the movies, all remain un-checked off, un-crossed out, looming at me, laughing.
Time to myself lately has been hard to come by. After the whirlwind family visit of almost a month, we barely had time to recoup when other family arrived for a three-day tomato jarring extravaganza. With nary an inhale between cleaning the pots and stashing the jars in the basement, Mr. ABF disappeared for four days on
Some of my August bills are unpaid and I'm nearing their September due dates.
I still have a plethora of health-related appointments I need to make for myself, that got shoved aside while I dealt with my foot and its myriad of podiatric, orthopedic, and physical therapy appointments.
To massively mix metaphors, it's like ground-hog day while putting out fires. I'm on a hamster wheel with a wee hose. Just yesterday, while looking at tile in our gutted kitchen, Mr. ABF brought something up, which illicited a now-typical "Crap, I don't know when on earth I'll have time for THAT I barely have time to shower or think anymore," and then two hours later I went to him and said:
Um, you don't happen to remember what the thing was that was so important that I needed to find time to do it? The thing we discussed when we were downstairs?"
Mr. ABF couldn't remember.
I'm sure we'll remember and have the same exact conversation with zero activity and no memory until the next time whateveritwas comes up.
But before you whip out the tiny violins and join me in the chorus:
I've been blogging for a year. And while I feel terribly that my bloggy life has suffered miserably in the last two blenderized months, when I look back on the past year it really remains my singular accomplishment:
I started a blog.
I started writing on another blog.
And in the process, I met (what to me comprised) an unimaginable number of empathetic friends who've made me think, ponder, cry, shout, act, feel comforted, want to meet them, and perhaps most importantly, laugh. I talk about so many of you now as though you lived down the street: "This woman I know? You'll never believe what happened . . . . " "So my friend in Canada? You know what she said?"
My body and my to-do list may be stuck, going round-and-round on the squeaky wheel whilst dodging the brush fires, but my mind is active. My brain to a great extent feels unfettered and worked over (minus the occasional and still-panicky lapse in short-term memory). My spirit is comforted and strengthened, and I know when I come here to speak -- and I don't mean about how no one makes an aesthetic, integrated-spray gooseneck faucet -- about how my grief intertwined with my day, whether amusing, frightful, or despondent, that someone out there in the computer will respond. Even if I feel so mashed out, a human ink-stain in need of paper towels, unable to cobble together my own thoughts, one of you will write a post that will tweak a synapse and suddenly make my fingers move, my eyes focus, my mind inspired.
I'm sure if at this birthday party yesterday (where, incidentally, I tried out the phrase "only living" to answer the "is she your only child?" question with a new mom. She quitely said "Oh," there was a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, and while she didn't follow up on that, she did keep talking to me and even sought me out to talk to me some more later on. So maybe someday?) I announced that my singular achievement last year was starting a blog, that the party would've ground into silence, and people would've stared at me somewhat forlornly, and someone would've muttered under their breath something about blogs being egocentric vehicles, and another about how the web spurs unsocial behavior. But I'd be smiling. This experience has been better than a support group, better than a writing workshop, better than a crossword puzzle. It has undoubtedly saved me, improved me, and given me confidence.
Admittedly, part of my current to-do-list angst is blog-related: I have two big writing thingies that have been mothballed since, um, early July; my blogroll and reader are horribly out-of-date and lack symmetry (there are some provocative new reads out there, people); those with private blogs have fallen into the black hole of my memory. (I'm hoping to carve time to put all of you in a tidy (neon, blinking, screaming) button somewhere obvious on my dashboard.) My email is unanswered. My comments have been a bit terse.
But it's all good. This was the second thing on my list last year, and I've accomplished it.
And I owe you all a thousand thank-you's for abiding with me on this journey.