My daughter left for university this last year and having the last bird out of the nest had a much bigger impact on my state of mind than I expected. Empty Nest Syndrome? Me?!
On top of everything else, I had an especially bad bout of seasonal depression this year and it lasted much longer than usual. Among other symptoms, it left me feeling unable to "do" anything. Instead, I thought about how much I had to do and sat and worried about it. Not very productive!
There is added stress in my life lately with trying to help my daughter make ends meet at school, helping where I can with my son's family as he struggles to find another job, dealing with the loss of my job as a caregiver, which I loved, and other struggles. Retirement is looming in a few years and I still have a mortgage and bills to get rid of before that happens. Much as I love my seasonal work running a campground each summer, "living away" for four months of the year takes it's toll and I am trying to find work closer to home - hopefully with less physical work involved in the position. I am feeling too old and tired to continue "working like a man".
Dealing specifically with my stitching, I have been totally obsessed with crazy quilting now for between 5 and 10 years, to the exclusion of all other stitching... For much of that time, I have been moderator of a large group online, Crazy Quilting International, which ate up the hours each day on the computer. I have been teaching crazy quilting, blogging about crazy quilting, co-running a crazy quilting group and spending time every day crazy quilting. I think burn-out was inevitable.
At the same time, my stash has become overwhelming. Anyone seen Hoarders? I expect them to turn up at my sewing room door with a camera any day now! lol Besides crazy quilting supplies, I have continued to collect things for all my other interests - all forms of embroidery, many crafts, and an eclectic selection of books... My house overfloweth!
So, here is what I am doing about it:
- waiting for spring when the summer sun and longer days will help with the seasonal depression;
- learning to say "no" to people who want my help, my children being the most difficult to say no to;
- working on other stitching and crafts from the stash other than crazy quilting. In the past the act of knitting a few dishcloths has been enough to give my mind a rest and revive my muse but this time it has taken more than a bit of knitting;
- stepping back from the online group. No one is indispensable, including myself, so I needed a bit of distance from that particular obsession.
- realizing that I need to diversify my stitching interests. I am knitting, embroidering, taking some classes in new techniques, and giving myself permission to take it easy and not push the envelope every waking hour. Embroidering a pillowcase is just as worthwhile as figuring out a new technique I can use on a crazy quilt block.
- working on lessening the weight of the stash. More on that in a later post!
So, that is where I am at! I have been negligent in my blogging, missing from action in CQI and spending a considerable amount of time feeling sorry for myself. Spring is coming, plans are in action, and my muse is tickling the back of my mind again at last (I hope). I actually walked by a cq block in progress the other day and had to add it to my bag to carry around with me - ideas started to peculate by themselves and I felt the need to have it handy when I had a few minutes to work on it. Progress!
Wish me luck!