Treading Water, Swimming to Shore
It’s been a weird year. I keep saying I’ve been lazy, but sometimes I don’t know if it’s been just that, with how unmotivated and uncreative and disinterested in all my passions I’ve been.
For months now, I’ve been feeling like I’m just keeping my head above water in a sea of chaos, but not getting anywhere.
Keeping the Nettle Nest acceptably clean, but never getting to things like organizing the bookcases or cleaning out the storage room in the cellar.
Meeting my reading goals, but never managing to make my TBR pile any smaller, or review any books.
Keeping my plants watered, but not propagating any of them or doing any other interesting thing with them.
Posting for Harvest Monday and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, but not writing anything interesting.
Keeping up with my laundry, but not doing any of the mending that keeps piling up, let alone any sewing or knitting.
Doing my job, but not learning any new things that might be useful at work – or, really, learning anything new at all.
Living my life in comfortable, familiar places, at home, at work, hardly ever going anywhere but the grocery store, my mother’s and my best friend’s homes, never challenging myself with new places or experiences.
Just treading water, keeping from drowing, but not getting any closer to shore.
I’ve always had phases where I got caught up in stupid online timesucks, sometimes games and quizzes and idiotic personality tests, sometimes silly youtube videos, sometimes fanfiction of everything I’ve ever read or watched (and sometimes even of things I don’t know at all), sometimes blogs that range from actually educative to mindlessly entertaining…
But I don’t think it has ever gone on as long as this, and it has never felt like this before, like everything was too much, too many things to do and each of them too much work. So I hid from them, doing only the most pressing things, letting the big stuff pile up. Just treading water, drifting further and further out to sea.
And it was such a shock to realize I have been drifting like this for months. Just drifting, not creating anything, not learning anything, not doing anything beyond work, stupid online timesucks, a little bit of cooking and cleaning, and sleep (and never enough of that).
It was books, really, that woke me up, a week of tearing through one good book after another and then thinking, “I haven’t done this in a long time.” And then realising there are so many things I haven’t done in a long time.
And it’s like that realisation was all I needed to want to do better, to start swimming again. And even if I don’t know where the shore is, or what this metaphorical shore is, at least I’m swimming again, repairing things, writing things, growing things, knitting things. Soaking up all the knowledge I come across, even if I’m still not actively seeking it out.
And sometimes, there are storms that blow me back out to sea, and it takes me days just to get back to where I was (like having a decent bicycle). But at least I feel well enough to start swimming again right away, to immediately start looking for solutions instead of moping for days (even if it was tempting.)
It’s still hard to shake the bad habits I’ve gained over the last few months – it’s difficult to do all the things I want to do when my brain is still craving silly, mindless entertainment. But I’m cutting back on it at least, an working on strategies to keep me swimming.
I still don’t know how far away the shore is, or what it’s going to look like, but I’ll get closer to it every day.
(Swimming was always the only exercise I enjoyed, anyway, and the only one I was kind of good at.)
And it’s only occurred to me while writing this post that I’ve been to quite a few seas already. The Mediterranean more times than I can count (because I don’t remember how often I was there as a child) (pictures 1 and 5), the North Sea twice (picture 2 and 6), the English Channel twice (pictures 3 and 4) and the Atlantic once as a child (and I don’t have any pictures of that here). And one of the things I’m swimming towards is crossing the Atlantic in just a few weeks to get to the World Fantasy Convention in Washinton, D.C., and then on to the Pacific to visit a friend in the Bay Area.