Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Long Boring Post - Musings

I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what happened to my muse during the last year and I have come up with some answers.  For one thing, I have become overwhelmed with everything on my plate. I joined the Board of Directors of the Embroidery Association of Canada, which I love being a part of, but it seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back.  The added workload meant something else had to go and I wasn't willing to let it go - so I found myself overwhelmed.

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!


Annie said...

We all go through these kinds of life changes as time marches on. So you are not alone in having to deal with all of these adjustments! Spring has sprung in my neck of the woods, so I'm hoping it improves my spirits too. Hey.. I work, live and craft in a small one br condo --- imagine my stash issues!

shawkl said...

Oh honey, I feel your pain! And, you are not alone...we all get over whelmed. Take care of yourself first. Hoping for a nice long sunny summer for you!

Suztats said...

Good for you, Kerry, stepping back from all that you do to make yourself the priority. So many times we push ourselves beyond our comfort zones. We have to put ourselves first more often. As my DH says, "the only person you can't live without is you!"
So make sure you take care of you, okay?

Barb said...

Learning to say no is the hardest...knowing our limitations and saying no when it is above what we can do is hard but a well learned lesson, especially for me.

Hope you are doing better and get your sewing mojo back.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I've been there..heck...I'm still there..but writing about it and listing the solutions may help to focus on the remedies. It seems to be helping already. I suffer from SAD also, and this year has hit pretty hard. I used to have a light on my desk at work, but since we moved to a new building, we are not allowed to personalize our work spaces...I'll be retiring at the end of the year if I can hold out that long.

Best and warm wishes that you will continue to focus on yourself more.
xx, Carol

Mosaic Magpie said...

Oh Sister...I can relate!

Anonymous said...

Keep in your heart all of the positive comments and know that you are not alone. This weekend I said no to watching my grandbabies and spent the weekend alone with no noise (no TV, radio etc...) Got so many ideas settled and ready to work on.

Sandy in HS AR
the joy is in the stitching.

Thearica said...

Kerry, I had been wondering about you. I went through a similar situation too. We do have to step back occasionally and just let everything else ride the waves a while. When we are ready to come back to it, we will know. Burn-out is a real thing and as much as we love the things we do, we need a break from them every now and then. And when we come back to it later, it is almost as if we have a bundle of new energy to unleash towards it.

Hoping that the spring brings you much needed new-found energies. I wish that the birds will sing a little louder just for you. :)

My Brave True Hero said...

Nice work and I really love it, but what I like most is the heart with different colors.