I took a sabbatical starting about 6 months ago (March 2019). I’m wrapping it up now (September 2019). Here’s the why, what for, and whodunit:
If you’ve read along with me for a while you know that I have issues with my family, both living and dead, back home in Indiana.
Resurfaced Memories from an Unexpected Trip
I was more discombobulated by my unexpected trip back to Indiana last fall than I initially thought.
I went back to pick up some family heirlooms that had been abandoned in my brother Roger’s old homestead by his son when the new owner, through a tax sale, contacted me and asked me if I wanted any of the stuff in the house before he bulldozed and burned the house. The new owner sent me pics of things that my Grandpa had crafted with his own hands, of small dishes that were supposed to be passed down to me that were my Grandma’s, things that were my Uncle Carl’s, that I first saw when I would visit him in California even before I too moved west. And there were family photos that dated all the way back into the early days of photography in the 19th Century.
I went back and loaded up the only truck I could get, that was a bigger truck than I wanted and filled it with whatever wasn’t moldy that the dear woman who helped me that week did not want. She, Jan, was more like a sister-in-law to me than my sister-in-laws were. So when I arrived back home with tons, literally of stuff that I wanted and even more stuff to which I was not sentimentally attached, I had to so some some serious analytical reorganization in how I felt and dealt with stuff. I am working on a post for about my shifting mindset related to stuff.
I’ve always had some difficulty with depression and anxiety. That trip brought up a lot of unresolved nuances to situations upon which I thought I had reached closure. There was angst.
My Stack of Layered Stress Fell Over
I make no attempt to hide that I support Progressive political thought. We can only go forward. That is progress.
I am heartsick about what is currently, and has been, happening in our country. I was raised as a patriotic American and I accept Democratic positions for the most part. I spent many years working to thwart the Republican administration in power from 2001 to 2009. The direction we were headed, and our betrayal of long held ethical standards of behavior, forced me to become active.
I was not totally happy with President Obama’s actions, especially related to the use of drones and his reluctance to countermand unconstitutional Republican power grabs in the stonewalling of his judicial appointments.
The traitorous person currently residing in the White House and the continued illegal and immoral manipulation of the legislative process and judicial oversight by his supporters, as well as his support for populist, fascistic groups and actions in our country had my head spinning and stomach churning even before I had to return to the land of my childhood home and deal with material reminders of family dysfunction and betrayal.
A single psyche can only take so much turmoil. So i decided to set my inner turmoil boiling point back to a simmer on a back burner by having a sabbatical from organizing my Tucson Women Bloggers Meetup that I had coordinated for seven years. The group had changed with several long term members moving away from Tucson, and with other members starting groups more specifically crafted to meet their needs, which was a good thing, but which drew energy away from my group. So this all started from a decision to take sabbatical from this group starting in March. This helped but I still felt overwhelmed and distracted.
I kept on keeping on in spite of severe sadness and dysfunction caused by political fear and heartache. I even started my usual participation in Blogging A to Z in April on a series about women and memory. But as I researched and wrote for this topic I found myself experiencing a lot of angst that translated into a lot of rewrites to sections of my memoir which I thought I had previously finished. I abandoned my A to Z project in April when I realized all the things I had to do to complete my memoir. I pretty much stopped blogging. This was my moment of “falling over.”
How the Sabbatical Helped
I have reworked the approach to my memoir and found a more honest and relatable voice, but I have not gotten as far as I need to with the rewrite. But I have a good start, again.
Enough of the stuff I brought back from Indiana has been sold to pay for the truck rental and gas for the 2000 mile trip last Fall.
I dealt with the Hubster’s being home more than usual as he was working on grants and a start-up while he took a semester off from teaching by learning how to schedule myself and taking more responsibility for my procrastination.
This was a good year so far for seeing the kids. Several family visits, by daughter and husband, step-daughter and our grandkids, grandkids on their own. Our anniversary trip/vacation to NYC pleasantly provided more daughter-time than we anticipated. It was great to see my step-daughter, whom I’ve known since she was 10 months old – long long, long before the Hubster and I got together.
I was able to plan out how a complete website (this one and two more) revamp and restructure of over 2000 posts can logically be completed this year.
I designed a workable schedule for ebook and freemium publishing items.
I was able to put living up to my ethical beliefs on Facebook into action.
I helped my Hubster get a pitch deck together for the startup, and figured out other marketing stuff for the company.
And I also helped put up a fence, bought a different, new to us, car… , arranged for kitty health visits (including teeth pulling in my 16 yr. old cat- ouch!), and kept up more-or-less with daily household stuff.
Sometimes You Must Care for Yourself
Overall, these past six months allowed me to be slow down enough to understand where my stress originated and what I really want and need to do when I am off the treadmill long enough to have some perspective rather than just rushing blindly ahead and accomplishing little while being busy all the time.
I know I am very lucky to be able to take a sabbatical. Of course, that “luck” is due to dealing with major depression for most of the last 50 years. I wouldn’t wish the leisure of not being able to work full-time on anyone.