|alligator lawn ornament, Gladstone|
What do you do when you realize your hundreds of blog readers are mostly bots? Why spend all this time writing and curating photos for robots, unless it's really just for yourself—myself—a quiet, insignificant little hobby? Even so, I haven't seen the point the last few months. Plus, the natural light's been too dim for decent indoor photos (though that hasn't stopped me before). But this winter in Portland was extra long and extra cold on top of the usual wet and gray. It's long past time to move on from my teaching job and crazy-long commute, after which most evenings I feel numb and exhausted. Over half the year here (which seems a bit much?), I daydream of moving south where the sun is—if only I had the money and a car, if only I knew where to go, where home is.
All this dissatisfaction can't be good for my immune system, the body's defensive line against cancer recurrence (since it's the immune system's job to take out rogue, mutated cells—or not). So for Christmas I asked my boss for Fridays off for health reasons, gifting myself recurring three-day weekends for less pay, which helps. I still go swimming a couple times a week, the most joyful three hours of my week. I've been trying to meditate. I've been reading life-coaching self-help. I've been letting my hair grow. Through no effort on my part, I've happily become an aunt, though my nephew lives six hours away via the car I don't have. I've been eating lots of kale. I've been trying to find the point . . . or at least a personal road sign marking a different road less traveled, one smoother yet full of unexpected turns leading to long pauses for scenic vistas and adventures off-trail—because the one I'm on has been an unpaved dirt road full of rocks.
|tree blooms, Gladstone|
|carved-wood yard statue of half-buried man, Gladstone|
Fortunately, finally, my job ends in June. But I don't have a plan for after. I know I want to wake up slowly at a reasonable hour, smiling and stretching, ready for the day to begin, instead of groaning "Fuck!" to my phone alarm at 5 AM. I want to spend more time with friends and with my cat. I want more time to putter around at home and in the garden, moving around instead of sitting all day, tinkering with projects, being creative. There is eBay and Craigslist to keep playing with (aka selling on). I do know I'm happiest in summer and when I don't have a formal job. I'm not sure what to do with that information. But it's the truth. Will the truth set me free?