Thursday, December 06, 2012

Life Lessons from Young Blondie


Metal deer statues c/o the amazing Grandpa Blonderson

I was just looking through old photos in search of something specific. Sadly, all of my photos are kind of jumbled together because I'm never smart enough to set the date correctly on my camera. If I'm looking for something, I have to scroll through thousands of photos. It can take a while. It's a huge pain in the a$$ because I can be all in a good mood looking for one of Little's baby pictures and BAM there are photos of my dead cat Kingie or my ex-boyfriend cuddling with Little or that really cool necklace that I lost. Time gets swirly when I go through my archives. It can be a little painful.

But today, I was not pained by any of the images I saw. Instead, I was somewhat in awe of myself. During the most painful part of my life, right after the big breakup, I was taking a ton of photos. It's because I started blogging and felt the need to document my every move. But still, I was Doing Things. Lots of things. There were projects and museum visits and orchid warehouses. Dollhousing galore! I was a busy bee. Interesting.

As I scrolled down into the present, the photos significantly tapered off. Why? I can think of a few reasons:

  • I used to have a camera that required AA batteries. They died all the time, but I always had extras. Now, my camera battery is one of those flat deals that you have to plug into a special charger, so I always forget to do it.
  • I don't do as much now. 

Why am I less active? I can think of a few reasons:

  • At that time, I was living in Chicago. Other than my coworkers, I only had two friends. It was hard to get together with anyone because it took forEVER to get from one side of the city to the other, so I spent a lot of time by myself. 
  • I was in therapy, and Shrinkydink encouraged me to Do Things and held me accountable about it, so I spent a lot of time finding little stupid things to do. My goal was to be busy as much as possible so I couldn't Think.
  • I was younger back then. I had far more energy.
  • Now, I live near my family and friends. I get a lot of love from them, so I'm less needy for stupid little things to do.
  • As far as activities are concerned, Chicago had waaaaaay more than Southwest Iowa does. Sigh.

These days, I don't "need" to be as busy as I once was. I've found that I enjoy lying around reading with the kitties on my lap. I don't have to have busy hands all the time to be content. When I was younger, I had a sense of urgency that I do not have now. I've grown more comfortable in my skin. I'm more OK with myself. I don't have to be changing my furniture around and visiting museums every week to prove to myself that I'm interesting.

But then again, I was rather impressed with my massive photo collection. I was always going somewhere and doing something. Sure, there were plenty of kitteh photos or boring photos of my new window treatments, but I was trying to Live. Every moment was so painful that I had to fill it with distraction. I'm not in pain now. Well, my back hurts, but that is pretty normal (tweaked the back out again, oh yes I did).

I'm not lost now like I was back then. I can see how I was so busy and trying to find joy and happiness through all that busyness. I clearly remember stopping off to look at the crap at the dollar store to see if there was anything I could use for the dollhouse and trying to keep myself there so I wouldn't get home until at least 8pm on a random Tuesday. Oh, Young Blondie. You tried. You really did. You did a good job. Look at how busy you were!

I don't want to be that way again. Keeping myself so busy was exhausting. It's not in my nature to want to go places and do things all the time. But still, I think I have learned something from looking back at all of those photos. It's true that getting out to do small stupid things can be fun. I do have wonderful memories of places I visited all by myself. I can do that again. I don't have to drag Ma and Pa everywhere I go. I don't have to feel lonely if I end up with one ticket to an event.

Because I do have so many friends and family members around here, I've lost touch with solo outings. I felt horrible when I went to the Indigo Girls concert alone this summer. I want to change that. I want to remember that it's OK to venture out all on my own -- on purpose. And this time, I'll be sure that camera battery is charged.

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