The sadness I hide

It’s been a long 7 days or so. Last week I was a little snippy with my daughter. Then of course as we approached Sunday afternoon, the day of exchange, the guilt leading up to that moment crept in. This week I’m tired. Just so so tired. And it’s constant. The only thing that touches it is coffee…which I don’t want to rely on so I only let myself have the occasional cup. What’s got me in its grips? PMS. I’ve really worked hard on stepping away from the mega-bitch of my former PMS self and I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping that in check, But the impatience with my kid and the inevitable exhaustion seem inescapable right now for some reason.

Yesterday was rough in a different way. I managed to get a last minute eye doctor appointment. I hadn’t had a checkup in lots of years at that point and with my new computer based side gig I knew I needed some support for my vision. BTW, what they don’t tell you about turning 40 is that suddenly parts of you body will start hating you. Eyeballs are one of those parts. Ok fine. So really invested in myself and I also ordered the anti-glare blue light blocker coating. Woohoo! Big spender! Hello self care!

Why was getting an eye exam so rough? I don’t really know but maybe it has something do with longer recovery times now that I am older and am also dealing with various autoimmune stuff. The drops that make your pupils dilate were particularly brutal. They stung like seawater. Once the exam was over I had to wear sunglasses for several hours while it all wore off. I tried to sit down at my computer and get some more training observation done. Nope. After about a half hour I was toast. I let my new boss know what was happening and took myself to the couch for a nap.

Coming out of my nap I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. Doom scrolling felt sickening for some reason. Lately I’ve found that the more time I spend on my phone the less connected I feel to life. The less happy I am. I don’t actually want to be looking at this thing and yet I do it constantly. And yes, I am aware of all the pitfalls of social media and its impact on mental health. I am there. I am impacted. I am addicted. Still not knowing what the hell to do I opted for TV. But it’s still not really TV. Not like when I was a kid and it was either the mercy of what was on a particular channel or a VHS. Weird. After I was finished watching a docu-series on the Boston Marathon bombings from 2013 I still didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t feel like making anything. I wasn’t up for any self spiritual work. Nor did I want to go for a walk even though it looked lovely out.

After sitting with myself for a few minutes I realized what I was actually longing for. I wanted a really good book. Not a romantic storyline. I’m done reading about co-dependent fictional characters. I wanted character development and a juicy storyline. Sadly the library was closed. In my moment of longing I started getting super nostalgic for my teenage years and into my early college days. Then the grief settled in. Grief for a life that felt more alive. More connected. More stimulated from art, creativity, exploration, discovery. Brace yourself, I’m about to wax lyrical about my childhood.

I recently saw a meme on someone’s FB page (the irony of this is not lost on me) which went something like this…”if you had to turn the clock back 50 years could you survive?” After thinking about this for a few minutes I realized that yes I could in fact survive just fine 50 years ago. I started to remember all that was a part of my analog life before the internet. Before life got fast. Before we were all so “connected.”

What were some of those things exactly? Phone books. Remember those? That’s how we found services like mine or plumbers & electricians, or CPAs, or lawyers, or doctors. Maybe that’s what so great about phone books. In some ways they were equalizers. If you ran a business of any kind you needed to be in there. Profession or vocation. It didn’t matter. If you wanted people to find you the phone book was your took for visibility. What else? Newspapers. The small of the ink. The leaf like dryness of the paper itself. Having to wash your hands afterwards. All the sections! Local stuff. Global stuff. Wanted ads. Wedding, birth, & death announcements.People selling stuff they didn’t want anymore. Recipes. Letters to the editor where people engaged in discourse via printed text. If you were going to stir up shit in that section you had to commit. Also, everyone actually knew who you were so be prepared for the potential backlash from people in your town giving you shit once they read your piece of mind. So much went on in those neatly folded pages that turned your fingertips black.

Communication was different too. We used things like phones. Real ones. The ones with cords. Loud ringers. Remember how heavy the receivers were? Remember hanging one back on the base? Remember how visceral it was to end a call? The feeling of finality when that piece of plastic dropped completely back into its nest. The waiting for someone to pickup not knowing who you’d have to practice your phone manners with. Then answering machines. The little tapes. The rewinding. The re-playing. Pushing the buttons much like on the VCR. The whirring of thin threads of plastic as they moved over the spindle. So many things. So many different ways of having to be prepared. Make sure you have a dime in your pocket. Then a quarter. Call when you get there. Call the phone tree when school was canceled. Looked up your neighbor down the street in the phone book to call them because their dog got out again. Knock on someone’s door to sell them Girl Scout cookies. Knock on someone’s door knowing that if they were home they would answer. Knock on someone’s door to ask directions. Use a map. Buy from a catalog. Send hand written invitations & thank you cards. Send your friend a post card during summer vacation. Wow analog I really miss you. I could really use some book suggestions by the way.