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Monday, December 27, 2010

Would Whatever It Was That Stole My Groove Please Bring It Back?

Well it's been nearly ten days since I last posted. I haven't been doing anything remotely homestead-y, and then Christmas happened.  I really hope everyone had a great holiday.  I have mixed feelings about mine because I went down to visit with my family, which was great!  But it wasn't quite the boost in the arm that I was hoping for.   I don't know if it's being out of work for over a year and feeling pretty helpless about that, or if the somber Oregon rainy weather is doing it, but I'm finding that I'm having trouble lately being interested in the many things in which I'm interested, and that usually means that I'm depressed.  Maybe blue is a better way to put it- I am not one of those pitiable individuals who are racked by depression.  I just get down every once in awhile.  Everyone does, I suspect.  I don't think it's the weather so much; I generally enjoy inclement weather and the feeling of coziness that not being out in it engenders.  I really think it's the feeling of no longer being wanted or feeling useful that's doing it.   I haven't even been out of work as long as others in this country have, and while statisticians and politicians tend to look at unemployment in terms of numbers, I wonder if anybody really has an idea of the toll that high unemployment costs the country in terms of optimism and confidence and hope?  I never managed a degree, so I'm dealing with the want of that, but what about the young people who are graduating now- what's it doing in terms of their futures? Nothing good, I'll wager.

One view of the Room of Shame.  It's a shame, isn't it?
One thing that going home for Christmas has done for me was seeing with eyes anew the incredible piles of crap in my mother's house.  My mom is one of those who grew up in the Depression, and she tends to hang on to everything, just in case.  Consequently, she has at least three rooms in a five bedroom house that are packed full of piles of things that might come in handy some day.  Between that and the hazard to navigation that the dog crate in the middle of the kitchen creates, and the overflow of people that is seven siblings and their spouses and their children and their dogs such that you can barely move in one direction in the kitchen and actually have to go around the other side of the house by way of the living room to get to the table….the chaos is amazing.  No wonder my brother-in-law who didn't grow up with this bedlam has been dealing with Christmas at my mother's for twenty-five years by drinking early (he started at nine in the morning) and taking lots of naps throughout the day!  Anyway- being there was truly a good time- I miss my sibs and mother- but I'm also determined to treat the Room of Shame that is my guest room with a far more critical and severely editing eye and start throwing stuff out.  And get a bid on redoing the sliding closet doors so that I can turn it into a craft closet to hold the stuff that I truly must hang onto.  Maybe if I get the guest room under control, I'll feel like I have more control over the rest of my life.  And then at the very least, the fact that winter is finally here means that spring is next. And hope springs eternal in the spring.  I hope.

What do you do to get your groove back when it disappears?


Maria said...

I can't suggest anything terribly helpful about getting your groove back on, but having been out of work for 4 months and with no prospects of employment in the near future, I can relate to some of the feelings of futility and uselessness. I guess the best we can do is keep trying - keep trying to get a job, keep trying to do useful things outside of employment in the meantime, and being frugal. I've been reading your blog for a while and it seems to me you've done an amazing job of doing things to your house in the past year, which you would not have had time to do had you been full time employed.
I guess what I'm saying is chin up! keep calm and carry on, and things will get better eventually if you/we stick at it.

Nina said...

I've been unemployed since late September. I, too, do not have a degree. I do some freelance work - just little enough to not cut into to benefits. Where did I find the time to work full time?? Your blog has given me inspiration. I make sure I do a few "useful" things each day. I have taught myself how to make a braided rag rug (and cleaned out my closets in the process). I now have three chickens to tend to each day. And now that Christmas is over I can start looking at my spring garden!! For me, 10 weeks before last frost is fast approaching and things like celery need to get planted! I hope you get your groove back soon!

Miriam said...

For me the thing that has the best chance of turning around a real funk is a sense of accomplishment - just getting off my bum and getting something done that has been weighing on me. But I have to be smart and pick something manageable, so I don't set myself up for failure! So if the guest room feels do-able, go for it. If it feels monolithic, try a smaller project. That's my advice, for what it's worth!

And I echo Maria's thoughts - I have lots of empathy for how hard it must be to stay positive when you've been out of work, but you have many accomplishments you can be really proud of!

Joleen said...

Hi Paula, I'm sorry things have been so difficult for you. I've missed you the last few days and worried about you. When I get down, walking outside always helps, but it's hard this time of year, I know. Also, I listen to my body and usually it's asking for nice drinks of water and healthy food after the holiday crap starts taking it's toll on me. Hang in there.

Jennifer Montero said...

I'm underemployed too, two years this February. It does take its toll on your mental health and self-belief. I can't give you any words of wisdom, except to say we're in it with you. Small consolation perhaps.

The fact that you keep your blog and your mind is obviously sharp (if temporarily groove-less) shows that you aren't going down without a fight.

And don't be hard on yourself for the room of shame. Rename it your room of pending stuff. Our guest room is exactly the same. I found a 2nd hand bookcase, organised real small stuff in baskets (also 2nd hand), and put other stuff on the shelves. I used a pretty quilt I found at a charity shop as a curtain to cover the front of the bookcase. It looks tidier. I freecycled, or sold the stuff I didn't need at a tag sale.

I get pretty serious blues, but I have the animals to thank for getting me out of myself and keeping it under control. What about a few chickens in spring? Think of the eggs!

I'm sure your groove will return when the weather improves. If I find your groove, I'll send it back. Hey, I found my car keys yesterday - finally! - so who knows what else is lurking about the place.

All the best.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Activity! That's what does it for me. And you're doing it, so keep doing it until you feel better.

And I'll second Jen on the chickens. When Kevin was still trading, he'd come home after a stressful day and just commune with his birds. They're like an avian anti-depressant. The eggs are just a bonus.

Julia Posey said...

Never underestimate the restorative power of music.

I love Jennifer's sage advice to see it as the Room of Pending Stuff. What about going through it & listing what you don't need anymore on freecycle, eBay or your local recycler? Maybe make a bit of spare change to go with your change? I too have been ignoring a space, my garage, since we moved into my house eight years ago. I'm taking it on this year. Small steps for a clearer head and workable garage. Want to create a Go-go Rally West Coast Booster Squad to encourage and challenge each other on the journey? I don't think I've ever taken a pledge like this before, but, by golly, I've got stuff in the garage that's replicating as I write, so I think I've got to do something.

jules said...

Hey! I've got a Room (or two) of Pending Stuff too! I think my challenge for this new year is to get them both cleaned up and dealt with. One is mostly getting the filing and papers under control, and I've got a file cabinet for that! And the other is boxes for the attic, pending going through and more culling. And getting book cases for the 12 or so boxes of books looking for a case to live in.

Although I'm not sure what it will take to get back in the groove either. I box/file at a time!

Kate said...

I don't really have any words of wisdom for when the groove goes AWOL. I've been there, and it's no fun. All I can say is that for me it seems to wax and wane on its own schedule. So I try to enjoy the times when I'm motivated, and make the most of them.

I'll chime in though on the livestock chorus. It does make it a little more bearable when I'm in a funk. No matter what, the livestock must be attended to - every day, without fail. So, even on days I'm utterly unproductive, at least I can say I took care of the chickens, and that it involved stepping outside at least twice for a few minutes each time. It helps.

Hope you find your mojo soon. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...


Activity, activity, activity!

If you can go outdoors that will make it even more beneficial. I am sure that is easier to do here in FL than there especially at this time of the year, but the fresh air and the sunshine totally helps. You may need to pick-up some Vitamin D, just a thought.

The Room of Pending can be a start. Try adding in some fun music to help. I find that cleaning/organizing with music on helps me to indirectly focus on clean without being too bummed about spending time cleaning, if you know what I mean.

One other thought is to find a movie, book, tv show, or person that can make you laugh. Laughter starts with a smile, which has been proven to lighten moods. Hope you find your goove soon.

Take Care and Happy New Year!