Turn and face the strange...
A little over a year ago, I resigned from the Olds College Master Spinner Program' teaching roster and went into a bit of a sabbatical, if you will. It has been an interesting year, to say the least. I intended to spend the year resting and revitalizing, but very quickly discovered that what I was doing was more like a caterpillar's cocoon stage. I isolated myself in a small, cozy spot and transformed.
A year ago, I was driven by my need to please. I rarely, if ever, said no. I revelled in the admiring coos of "Ohhh, you're so busy." I was addicted to my inbox-if I had fewer than 30 emails on any given day, I would wonder what was wrong. I travelled and taught and spun and knit and organized and emailed 7 days a week.
Sure, I was beginning to feel a few aches and pains. I had a little trouble sleeping. I tended to fly off the handle when something went wrong. And that constant, grinding pain in my stomach was a little annoying. But, hey, everybody just sits down at two o'clock in the afternoon and bursts into tears, right?
I told the story of my breaking point, and of the realization that I was addicted to stress on this blog. What I haven't told you is how much I've changed.
Oh, don't get me wrong! I'm still prone to hyper-organization and over-doing things. I'm still busy, juggling travel and teaching and organizing. I've begun writing more, with a series of magazine articles in the pipeline and the outline of a book filling in nicely. I'm still spinning and knitting and dabbling in the weaving world. I still manage to cook fabulous meals and keep the house from total chaos and occasionally get a load of laundry done.
What has changed is my engagement to the outcome. I am no longer doing the things I do for the approval of others. I am doing it for my own approval. I am saying no to things that will cause me more stress and work, though I am still finding that hard to do. I am saying yes to an afternoon of reading, where nothing measurable gets accomplished at all. If I get stalled on something, I will simply walk away and clear my mind, then come back when I am ready. I have learned to set boundaries and limits, and I'm working hard to stay within them.
And as I have been changing, the world around me has been changing, too. My youngest baby has graduated from high school and turned 18, becoming an adult overnight. She will be moving out of our house and into her own home in Edmonton next month in preparation for starting culinary school in January, leaving me with a truly empty nest. We are already finding that we are changing our routines, that the pace of life is changing, too.
Another exodus of friends from Fort McMurray has begun as well. Comfortable, long-term friendships that could be counted on will now become long-distance friendships. This will bring another change in routines, another change in pace.
There are big changes on the work front as well. Not only am I morphing from hands-on teacher to writer/teacher, but the administration of the Master Spinners/Fibre Week at Olds College has changed. I am back on the teaching roster and still volunteering for Fibre Week, but I am learning new systems and new personalities. The administration of the programs is being pulled more tightly into alignment with the policies of the rest of the college, and there are several places where we are not going to be a smooth fit, but it is working out so far. In all of this transition, I have gone from being an insider in the decision-making process to someone who works among the ranks. The new administration team is wonderful, but it is odd to be dealing with, once again, new routines and the change in the pace of doing things.
Yet, oddly, with all of this change swirling around me, I am sleeping better than ever and that grinding pain in my stomach only comes when I have forgotten to each lunch. And I haven't cried at two o'clock in months. There are still aches and pains, but that is a story for another post.
Not all is well. Life is still chaotic and overwhelming, but I'm okay with that. I have simply come to accept that I don't have control of everything and I really don't need to control everything. That acceptance has set me free. Free to spin and write and design and travel and live my life.
And, really, who could ask for anything more.
Time may change me, but I can't trace time.