Michaeline: How I Got Through Saturday

First, remember this: I got through Saturday morning more cheerful than I started, so look forward to a happy ending.

Girl in Hammock, exposing her shift and her calves. She's sleeping, and surrounded by shadowy green leafy shrubs. Her cheeks are flushed. Barefoot.
Keeping cool in the heat of things seems like a very healing idea. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

But to dive right in, I have been fighting the blahs for at least three months. I mean, any long-term reader who sees the subtext of some of my manic posts probably realizes that I’ve been squabbling with the blahs for a long time, but now I’m back to Not Getting Adult Things Done.

I’ve tried analyzing the reasons, and there are plenty of good ones for being depressed.

  1. The Corona Crisis. Lots of Twitter writers are talking about how the world zeitgeist has messed up their writing and their motivation in general.
  2. The Climate Crisis. Yeah, that’s another horrible thing happening that I can’t do much about personally. I have done something: I hung up reed curtains on the south porches to block some of the heat. I can do a little more: spend time in the creepy basement cleaning it up in case we wind up needing to sleep down there.
  3. Body. They say you can’t escape your body. I have been working hard the last two years to increase my strength and stamina . . . but that also means a lot of meditation, rest and good food. I have been successful. It’s much easier to go shopping now, for example. Walking around the store with a cart isn’t the marathon that it sometimes felt like. My current condition is day three after a major garden day. My ribs still hurt from twisting and pulling weeds, but I could go out for an hour or two. If I rest for the rest of the day, I can have another Major Garden Day tomorrow, and then be knocked out for another two days.
  4. A neighbor lady died of heat stroke recently. Her funeral was today. Her family said she wasn’t feeling well, and went to bed without supper. The next morning, she wasn’t breathing. She’s only three years older than my mother-in-law, and it WASN’T THAT HOT. We’re working on it; we’re processing it. A lot of my imagination is going to into jellied salads and interior decorating of creepy basements. Poor woman; may she rest in peace, and her family be comforted.

So, you see, I have good reasons to feel down. But I can’t help but suspect there are a lot of great writers out there who feel down, and they USE that to write great, wonderful things. Their writing is therapy, and a joy and comfort . . . and it goes out in the world to help other people. I want to do that!

Except, obviously, I don’t. I haven’t written anything but blogs for weeks.

So, I was feeling very down today, and like I wanted to go back to bed and stay there until I can get a vaccination appointment.

My friend also had a tough week, and she invited me to offer some advice about cooking (after some major hinting on my part).

Readers, I spent a half an hour hunched over a nasty little keyboard and had the best time detailing a plan for learning how to cook. Gosh, how it lifted my spirits and made me feel like I was doing good in the world!

So, that’s how I made it to 3 p.m. on a sunny summer Saturday. I did something I liked doing, instead of what I was supposed to be doing. It’s worth a shot if you are in blah territory, too.

7 thoughts on “Michaeline: How I Got Through Saturday

  1. Lots of thoughts on this post!

    Last Saturday I attended a local writers’ group meeting. The attendees ranged from folks who are making a solid living as indies to a woman who’s been reliably trad published for 20 years to a 40-something poet (who’s really good, by the way) to a guy in his 80’s who’s in the process of self-pubbing a trilogy that re-imagines Scarlett O’Hara as a modern-day woman. In his most recent book she’s working for the CIA. (But they probably WOULD have her in the maf-i-ay.)

    But I digress. So, wide range of authors and they all said the same thing: in recent months they’ve missed contract- and self-imposed deadlines. At some point they just ran out of juice. Some are back on track. Others aren’t. But this pandemic affected each and every one of them.

    The point of this long and winding tale is to say: you’re not alone. There may be creatives who have been able to use the extra time granted by the pandemic to create but the lack of new stimuli has left most of us dry.

    But, as Jenny was wont to say, nothing but good times ahead! (Or, at least, better times.)

    • Also, I’m sorry about your neighbor. A number of years ago my sister lost her best friend, a woman in her 30’s, to heat stroke. Kirsten had attended the Olympics in Atlanta and spent too.much time in the sun without staying hydrated enough.

      So add that to your anti-heatstroke checklist: stay hydrated!

      • Thanks, Jeanne! It is good to know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Just gotta keep chugging. My in-laws got their first shot on the fourth, so that’s a big load off my mind! Can’t wait until it’s available for us middle-aged people who are self-employed.

        Also, re heatstroke. I read up on it. The biggest thing I did was get those jello-in-vacuum-pack things. I don’t know about the US, but in Japan they come in a popular fruit drink flavor (up to 25 percent real fruit!), and then fancy ones with minerals or vitamins, or the one I am fascinated with, hornet venom (VAAM!). My MIL is really quite sensible, so I hope we’ll be fine this summer.

        Take care and keep cool yourself!

  2. I have a large, handwritten note stuck up above my desk. I keep it there because I need the reminder every single day or I fall into blah territory.

    It reads, “Today, do the important things. The important things aren’t on the to do list.”

    Today I played with my cats. A lot. I searched Etsy and found some fabulous small artwork pieces to tuck into the see-through cover pockets of the binders on my shelf and ordered them. I spent a half an hour sitting on my back step working at getting one of the bunnies in my yard who comes when I call her to come even closer- I’m aiming to get her to eat from my hand. I spent twenty minutes listening attentively while my daughter discussed her potential hairstyles, a topic that never fails to make her face light up as she chatters excitedly.

    I did other stuff, too. Paperwork and laundry and groceries and other chores. But those things weren’t important and I made sure they were the extra stuff I tucked in around the important things, not the other way around.

    Sounds like you did the important stuff today Michaeline. And from your posts this year, it has sounded to me like you’ve been doing the important stuff all along.

    • (-: I think you are probably right, Daisy. I’m doing the things that need to be done for my mental and physical health. And if playing with the cats and the flowers count as the important stuff, then I did a lot of important stuff this week!

      Hope you are doing well, too. I remember the trigger that set you off on your journey of doing the important stuff daily, and it’s so important to remember the things you’ve learned.

  3. I’m with Daisy. Self-care is critical, and not just during a pandemic. I see no point in doing chores—especially self-appointed ones—when your heart and soul says to be doing something that you enjoy, including nothing at all. In fact, the New York Times ran an article this week about why we work so much, when hunter-gatherer societies get by with putting in only 15 hours a week to achieve health and happiness. Their writer was saying that we work so much to fill arbitrary and self-created needs.

    I’m reminded of a story that folksinger Utah Phillips used to tell during concerts. He’d sit on his porch during the summer strumming his guitar, and his neighbor would tell him to go out and get a job. And Utah Phillips would say why, and the guy would say, so you have money. So you can eat. So you can retire and do what you want. And Utah Phillips says, you mean like sitting on my porch and strumming my guitar?

    There’s another one, too, maybe from Utah Phillips again (he was quite a character) or maybe it was Woody Guthrie (or maybe it was Utah Phillips talking about Woody Guthrie). Whoever, he was out on the road working, and his wife was home with the kids and feeling overwhelmed. And she had to put in the garden. So when Utah (or Woody) called home, he said, Whatever you do, don’t dig out behind the barn! That’s where all the guns are buried! And practically before she could hang up the phone, the FBI showed up and dug up behind the barn, because illegal phone taps and Red Scare were alive and well. And then after the FBI dug up the ground for her, she planted the garden.

    So do you really have to do those chores? Maybe some of them, eventually. But it’s more important to take care of yourself, whatever that looks like. And especially now that it’s so hot, you don’t want to overdo and get heat stroke.

    • LOL, oh, gosh. Maybe I could come to the attention of an international spy organization, and tell someone on line about the contraband in the barnyard. LOL!

      I think it’s a delicate balance about the chores. I finally got the important things planted this week, and the only weeds I want to worry about are grass weeds (got the nasty ones out of the big garden). So, now I’m on auto-pilot — if I do 30 minutes of mowing for daily exercise, I can mulch and not have to weed anymore, LOL.

      Of course, I set new goals before the old ones are even finished. Gee, it’d be nice if I planted some ornamental kale seeds this week! They’d look lovely in the mulched garden in the autumn . . . .

      But you know what? There’s always next year. Or if there’s not a next year, I won’t be around to enjoy or worry about it anyway.

      Anyway, I may be lazy on teh 24th or 31st, and just show the fruits of my labor; laboriously try to work in some gardening/writing metaphor. And include a recipe for homemade mint syrup . . . . Care and feeding of the summer writer, right?

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