Sunday, February 26, 2012

February musings



When I lived on Cape Cod and drove to NH to visit my parents, I used to feel badly about their isolation and constricted (from my judging POV) lives. I encouraged them to have fun, take a trip, whatever. "We are happy just as we are, " Mom would say.

Dad would sit in his adjustable lounge chair for hours and read, listen to opera recordings, nap. Mom did some crafts and knitting, lots of reading, and all the cooking and household jobs.



I would return to my Cape Cod home shaking my head. It was sad to leave Mom and Dad behind but I had only good feelings about leaving the cold isolation of the New Hampshire boonies. Although I lived alone, I had 30 years worth of friends and contacts in the world of writers, artists and healers. There was the women's group, several writing groups, herbal classes, and other mind expanding workshops. I went to poetry and prose readings both to listen and to read my work. Barnes and Noble. Night of New Works in Orleans.

An editor once called me and asked me to send him a story to publish as something else had fallen through. Well, that only happened because I had stayed in one place for many years, made many contacts, kept the same phone number. I worked hard at overcoming my introvert characteristics, my shyness, my preference for hiding. And I was rather proud of my accomplishments in become a friendly, social, out there person. Even as I maintained my needed quiet time and privacy by living alone.



How arrogant I was. Now, I have become my father. Sitting in a chair reading the hours away. Watching movies as my "drug." Staring out the window like a potato. Of course, I am my mother too as I cook every meal, clean the house and so forth as women always do whether married or not. I have been "stuck" in New Hampshire now for 4 years and two months. Though beautiful, the landscape and location encourage my introversion rather than counter balance it with people and socialization and activities.

This is my own "fault." I have tried to break out into warmer climes, yet have failed. The introvert web is woven around me and it is harder and harder to find the way out. I am lazy and passive and perhaps long to be rescued by my Dad and Mom in some subconscious way. But they are gone.



What is it about February that brings me to face these things again? Is it the anticipation of spring, a time of growth and action, that brings up fear in me? Fear that yet again I will remain trapped by my routines

Does the anticipation of spring bring up any fears for you. Desires to make changes and reinvent yourself. Or, other.....?

28 comments:

Umā said...

Well, you know how I'm going to answer that question. Yes, yes, definitely yes. Every spring. In fact a few years ago I told myself I wasn't going to make any radical changes in Feb/March (like quit a job or cut off all my hair) because I was convinced it is was obviously a month of 'craziness' for me. I started trying to ride it out 'till the warmer weather of summer soothed my restlessness and the growing garden and pretty flowers distracted me. But now I am questioning once again what these feelings are trying to tell me. Of course in my heart I know, but it's so scary and unconventional and requires so much work on my part I would rather just walk around for miles like a person in a cage of my own making, lol. I think there are content people out there, perhaps your parents were two of them. But I wonder, because I am often surprised how restless the most settled down seeming people admit to being once you get them talking...sorry to have rattled on for so long Suki but your posts are so inspiring.

Lynn said...

Well we were talking last night, my brother and I, about retirement. He entered it a few years ago now and as a single guy seems to relish his living alone, being rather sedentary, not going out much, puttering around his home, sleeping in late, staying up late, reading in his chair. Did I say not going out much? I wasn't at all sure how this sounded to me...if it were me...who was retired.

Your life on the Cape obviously sounds more full of life to me. In fact I had invited my brother up to visit because I felt HE NEEDED more people time, family time. And we did have fun together playing cards, going out to dinner, talking.

So what will my choice be? Right now I have a nice balance between fewer hours/days at work, more time to play with my art works (drawing, art quilts, doll making, painting, etc.) taking an occasional workshop, going to the CITY, being with friends and just staying home.

It scares me a little to think of giving up the "office hours" entirely. Will I be bored at home everysingleday?

I guess time will tell. But yesterday I learned of an 80 yr old woman who still worked in the field I am in. (counseling) So I guess I could have the best of two worlds for many years to come.

Spring doesn't scare me. It invites me outdoors more and excites me with it's colors and sunshine and flowers.

What a post Suki, you sure brought a lot out of me as well!

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Actually I can understand how you feel Suki. Being in a colder climate by the time February gets here I have just about had enough of it. and Spring is coming soon but unlike in CA which is warmer..its still cold here and there and makes you more homebound. I enjoy being home because I am not alone but I wouldnt like it if I were alone. I need people which is why I blog and do the Art. It does keep me connected even now.

Mystic Meandering said...

I can understand that having to make such a drastic change in lifestyle would really change your whole *life*! And impact your momentum... Becoming a caregiver can really do that. I see that coming for me as well. I have felt it sometimes too with having to make life changes with my husband's jobs, taking us here and there, just when I felt I was getting established. And I have that same tendency to introversion, to isolate, to withdraw, to lose momentum, especially when it feels too hard to keep trying (which is also contributed to by health and physical issues that don't make it easy for me to be "out there" anyway.)

Sometimes I feel like I never really discovered my "passion". Am feeling that more acutely now in my waning years, like the flame has already gone out...

Oh dear, I'm weaving myself into a story here! :) I do hope that you are able to find your way out and find a place where you can thrive again! For your own sanity!

With much love to you for being who you are!

ZenDotStudio said...

I like this post a lot, Suki. Strangely it does not feel depressing to me. It' feels exploratory as you review things and ask questions.

What I am learning lately is the part that causes suffering for me, is the disparity between what I am doing and what I think I should be doing. In my own life I see this as the source of restlessness and discontent, if the 2 are not on the same page.

I am a hermit and this winter I have given in to it and basked in it, instead of my usual criticizing myself for it. It has been a time to rest in creative things, to enjoy family and not pester myself to be someone else or do something else. It feels like a shift of acceptance and then I can trust whatever else is to emerge next.

For me it still feels like winter. I will see what blooms when Spring arrives.

PS - this is not to say that stretching is not a good thing but I'm experimenting with letting that come naturally. We'll see how my experiment goes!

patti said...

I love Spring and can never wait to shake off winter. Although in this southern hemisphere we are about to head into autumn/winter! Though our winters are mild, not snowy and freezing cold like where you live Suki, it is still a time for slowing down and getting cozy indoors.

I need people I have discovered. My job keeps me in contact with the world and I would hate to lose that connection. Being solitary is not for me!

Thanks for a thought provoking post!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I think February is a depressing month. It is usually our coldest month and I don't get out all that much. This year is different in that the weather is tolerable. I haven't had any of those "winter is too long" feelings as yet. Fear. I don't fear spring. I enjoy spring since it brings so much life back into my life. I am looking forward to all that is to come. I doubt I would be happy living alone although I do crave alone time. I just don't get much of it. I can't imagine sitting and reading alll day. I am too antsy to sit still for more than a day of reading unless I am sick. On the church sign up the street they had a quote saying "Fear is the dark room where negative feelings are developed".

BrittArnhild said...

I don´t have many fears Suki, but sometimes I am filled with longings.......and I don´t quite know what I long for.

sukipoet said...

Uma, I love reading your comments and, thank you. Actually my mom was not all that content and desperately wanted to spend at least the winters in Connecticut near her sisters but my Dad wouldnt budge. I feel I have a large task ahead too, and would rather take long walks but at the same time want to breathe myself somehow into a more fluid situation.

Lynn, perhaps you are a more extroverted person vs your brothers more introverted ways. I always appreciated being encourage by my extroverted friends to join in their escapades.

Thanks for your thoughts Cris. And spring comes way earlier in Oregon than here. LOL. but yes, I think i would feel differently if I didnt live alone or at least if I had a good friend within walking distance.

sukipoet said...

thanks for your kind thoughts Christine. I hope you do find your passion. A person can find it at any time of life. "Momentum" is a good word. I do feel I lost the momentum I had created in my familiar territory. I also am not a big traveler and to have the same landscape for so long gave me a nice grounding in who I was. Now I dont know so much who I am and of course that weaves in with natural life changes as one ages.

sukipoet said...

zen dot, it is a blessing to just accept oneself where one is, that's for sure. I am so glad you have done that for yourself this winter. I am so often in that place of disparity you speak of, thinking I "should" be doing something else. Maybe that is part of my spring fear. I told myself this spring I would find a place to live. And because I "failed" the last three springs I am a bit afraid.

sukipoet said...

Patti, having a job of some sort in the exterior world most likely would be good for me too, even a volunteer job. Dont get me wrong, I love spring. It's just this feeling during the transition time between winter and spring that feels like it is getting to me this year, along with self expectations I have set.

sukipoet said...

Lisa, my whole family read and sat around a lot reading, so I guess I got it from them, though i like to get out and do things actively too. I love the beauty of spring. That's part of the irony of my current feelings. Anticipating the beauty of flowers and trees blooming and birds nesting and so forth. yet feeling something is expected of me (by me) this spring and wondering if I am up to it.

sukipoet said...

BrittArnhild, thanks for stopping by. I often have longing for things that i dont know what they are. In fact I think part of my current "fear" is that I dont know what is next or where I might live in a more satifactory manner. The truth is I could probably go along just as i am with no changes. But I long for change too.

Mim said...

probably my biggest fear about not working is getting into that rut. I'd hate for it to happen but have those tendencies. I watch my mom who is perfectly happy being alone, but when she is with people she truly blossoms. Interesting to watch, scary to contemplate.

And yes, Feb this year is such a "spring is almost here" time. Two years ago I dyed my hair in February. (it was awful). I've done other goofy things in February....

Robin said...

Ah Suki.... I can relate so well to your fears and your longings....

You really have tried to make an effort to meet people and join poetry clubs (sort of) in your area....but because of your location, it is truly difficult.
I know you like meeting Mim, KJ and Lo when you can...but it's not enough...you do need to make the move - as close to the Cape as possible... you will then be able to volunteer (or even find a part-time job)...go to art and poetry classes - and even if you feel like walking on the beach or in a meadow, you will have the option of meeting friends for tea after.

I am hoping with all my heart that this is your year to move closer to those who love you so!

Hugs and more hugs to you and Bibitty,

♥ Robin ♥

YogaforCynics said...

The introvert web...I love how you put that...and know it all too well!

layers said...

Yes.. There is something about spring and the feelings of renewal... Buds on branches and birds building nests. I am also a bit isolated on the island and tend towards introversion as well so I can relate. Consequently I am planning a new body of work.

~Babs said...

No, no fears for me in the spring.
I have a 'seasonal disorder' slight depression thing each fall, so I can relate somewhat.
As you know,I am not alone,and I'm sure looking out through your glasses is different than looking through mine.
That said,
If you feel the would have, could have, should have will haunt you the rest of your life for not following through, then you'd better follow through. This could well be YOUR spring, Suki!
All the best,,,,,

Kelly M said...

Suki, winter in a way feels safe. You can sit around and read and not feel guilty about it. Even failure to get out and exercise feels forgivable when it's freezing out with gale-force winds. But once spring comes, there's no more excuse for not moving, cleaning, putting energy into those plans and projects that you know are calling, calling your name.

Interesting that you wait for your parents to rescue you. I rely on a man to rescue me. With the possible exception of hitching across Europe, almost every big and daring move I've made in my life involved the help of a man. A good female friend could also have helped me, but I tend not to have those.

So I really feel for you as you try to figure things out on your own.

glitz said...

What a thoughtful and thought-provoking post, Suki.
As you enter your spring, we enter our autumn - a time for thinking of hibernating and introversion. To everything there is a season, and perhaps this is the way we're supposed to feel in spring? I wonder what these thought will bring you? All good things I hope.

PeaceGardenSu said...

wherever you are there you are... and you are WONDERFUL!

sukipoet said...

Kelly, many of the big moves I have made have involved the help of a man. Exceptions are my first big move with my college female friend when we went to San Franciso. and next exception is when I moved up here to help mom.

But the support of my parents was always big for me too.

Annie said...

No fears here, except what I will do with my dog as the days get warmer.
Suki, don't worry, you will do what you need to do when the time is right.
xoxo

studio lolo said...

Normally I'm withdrawn by this time in Winter, but this one has been so easy weather-wise that I'm not having the same "hurry up and get here" longing for Spring.

I've become less social since I've started working. I deal with people and phones all day long. When I get home I want to curl up in my nest. I don't like that this is happening. And I don't like that my art has taken a back seat.

I do hope for "my-self" to re-emerge with new passion in the spring. I'm ready to rebloom!

Hugs to you up there in NH. Hopefully we can plan some get togethers this year. Perhaps walk Blithewold and the cliff walk in Newport?

xo
Lo

Tess Kincaid said...

Beautiful post, Suki...I find myself staring out the window like a potato too...

marianne said...

Maybe it is just the end of winter? A time when you are allowed to hibernate and everyone joins you in that action.
Spring makes everyone come to life and take action , maybe this scares you off the feeling you also have to take some action?
You know how I think about you living there and seeing you would be better of at the cape but you have to make it happen, break through the fear. But I guess the longer you stay the harder it will be........
I just want you to be happy and at your place♥

PeaceGardenSu said...

the photos are stunning