if i were to scroll back through my blogs over the past 25 years, i'm sure that i write a post like this every year, or at least write it in a journal entry offline. with summer always comes sadness for me, but especially these past few years. in 2018, the summer after losing my father, i was intent on healing and focusing on myself, but my mourning continued long past September, as grief is an everyday struggle that continues to this day. in 2019, i was just getting a handle on grief, and wrestling with adulting, so the sadness turned inward as i tried to understand why i was struggling with growing up and being responsible. last year, COVID and the loss of so many folks i love strung the grief out, but i continued teaching summer school, even though i should have rested. so this year, i have said that i'm not working this summer, truly giving myself the time and space to rest and focus on healing and myself.
and that's ugly. it sometimes means not caring about the everyday things. it sometimes means ignoring others and hiding so i can attend to myself. it sometimes means losing my phone, or not being reachable or reliable. always, it means getting sick. my body has held itself together throughout the year, and mask-wearing + quarantining has meant we haven't been exposed to illness in the same way. but eventually, my body tells me when I need a break, and it is now. (and it's just a cold, thankfully)
i've been struggling a lot, as the world opens up, with my anxiety around what that means for socializing. after 16 months and, people really give no fucks about safety at this juncture. i am still wearing masks in public spaces because my children cannot be vaccinated, and i must vigilantly protect them. i am wanting to be around people and missing them, but feeling paralyzed and unsafe when i do hang out. i cannot imagine dining or being indoors at a bar for a long time, or seeing live music, and this is what i loved to do to relax before. what new ways can i work on being together with people, and feeling safe enough that i can enjoy the time together? for the summer it can be outdoors, but what about in the fall and winter?
i also realize and remember every summer how terrible i am at not working. i keep picking up projects and deciding to "do more", even in the face of an obvious need for rest and disconnection from screens. my husband, my children tell me how much i am engrossed in a device instead of the people in front of me, and this needs to stop. as work became digital this year and as i used social media for work and personal reasons, i am always finding new ways to work, and disrupting my own rest with a need to feel connected. what will the cost of this addiction be, and is it vanity, or something else?
in the midst of this sadness, i am reminded that these are "champagne problems" as Jerome Nichols of The Butters says -- or high class problems. i have a beautiful community of people who love me. i have a home, a vehicle that is reliable, a job that i love, a husband and 2 beautiful children. paid time off. my health. so many amenities and beautiful things about my life. it is okay to recognize this AND also sit in this sadness, contemplate its purpose, its location, its lesson.
i will continue to find my way to heal in these ways: being around and fully present with people i love and miss (outside, masked up), connecting with water and letting it teach me about perseverance, basking in the sun, loving on my family, feeling unapologetic about the need to rest and set boundaries. the sadness is necessary to recognize and appreciate the joy.