Monday, August 3, 2009

The August Blues (no more)

My entire life I’ve related to the entire month of August with serious mixed emotions. On one hand, it’s my birthday month and as a Leo I’ve always loved my birthday. Like really loved my birthday. BUT, on the other hand, August is also the end of summer. The end of sunshine and swimming. The last month of freedom.

The start of August would cause a sense of anxiety and resignation. A feeling of “there’s not enough time” and “it’s almost over!” A subtle depression would seem to settle in and permeate everything like the humidity in Chicago. Summer is ending and there’s nothing we can do about it! All those things that you planned on doing this summer that you still haven’t done?

Such as...

-Go for a picnic by the lake/ocean
-See a concert at Ravinia/Hollywood Bowl
-Plant a garden
-Get a tan
-Lose 10 pounds
-Learn to speak Italian
-Run a 10K
-Organize a family reunion
-Read 5 new books
-Take a vacation

Yes? Well, you only have a few weeks to get them done. How does that make you feel? Stressed? Pressured? Resigned? Depressed? Perhaps?

This is what I call August Blues. And this August Blues is more noticeable to me now than ever. It's hard to miss it being back in the Midwest as the leaves are already beginning to change! I know. I'm sorry to have to point it out. But the above image is a picture I took yesterday of a tree at my dad & stepmom's house. See? The yellowing of the leaves. Change.

Also, on August 10th I add another number to my age. This is the first time in my entire life that I'm having a bit of an issue with that. Why? I don't know. Maybe because I'm feeling it for the first time. The number. The age. The change... aches in joints. Grey hairs. You know... I'm deeper into my thirties. And I know I should appreciate it. Because I'll never be this young again. Right? Ah... well, it is just a number. But it adds to the August Blues.

And my brother- who is in high school- has a serious case of the August Blues. To him, August not only means the end of summer but also the start of school. The end of freedom, the beginning of structure.

Ah, but does structure really equal no-freedom? Lately, being in this perpetual state of transition, I’ve realized what I need is structure. With structure, I will actually feel free. But that’s another topic.

Since we’ve been here (Barrington,) we’ve definitely been a bit shell-shocked. Okay, a lot shell-shocked. A couple of deer-in-head-lights. And, yes, blue. Depressed-ish. Okay, depressed. At times.

We lost our house. There’s no sugar-coating it. And we stepped off of an 11-month ordeal to this other world. This space of transition. Eleven months of a steady regime of adrenaline and anxiety... pushing air out of lungs. Fighting, running, working, thinking, worrying, struggling, struggling, struggling, creating... constantly.

It’s not that life stops, it changes. Like training for a marathon for months and months... then completing the marathon. The day after it’s like, okay, what now? For us it was like that. We were dangling off a very steep cliff, hanging by our fingernails and we finally let go...

Now what?

Well, to our amazement we discovered a safety net. A future. Two years on an island living rent-free. Amazing. But there’s still the here and now-- the recovery and rebirth. Though we would really love a week on a beach to rest, recuperate and just do nothing, that’s not in the cards. We still have learning to do and a future to build.

Someone recently asked us if the house on the island was a happy ending to our story. Bob’s response was, “It’s not an ending at all. It’s like one chapter closing and a brand new one opening.” There’s no ending. Only beginning. Anything can be looked at that way. August may represent the end of the summer... but first of all, it’s not over yet. There’s still an entire month. It isn’t over until it is. Until September.

And even then, when one thing ends, another begins. September represents the beginning of the fall. And a new school year. A new fiscal quarter. A new look. A new outlook?

On August 1st Bob and I got up and went for a run. (I’ve been running again and it feels great.) In realizing that it was August 1st, I decided rather than let August just happen (the way July did) I would have a say in the way it goes. Each day I will go further than the last. In my daily runs & in my life. Day in and day out. We will put ourselves out there. Going a bit further each day. Building momentum.

Instead of the Blues August will be a rock ‘em sock ‘em, pedal to the metal momentum building month.

My motto for August: HOLD NOTHING BACK!

What’s yours?


Kim Hooper said...

I completely agree with the idea of needing structure to feel free. The thing is that you can create new structure wherever you are. I find that I feel "depressed-ish" until I do. It sounds like you have a good attitude, despite the blues of August.

Jenna said...

You are SO inspiring.

I completely agree about structure. I was once taking an acting class and I'll never forget it. The teacher said, in order to be totally free to really be impulsive you must have structure and practice, practice, practice. This seemed completely wrong to me. I thought, in order to be in the moment and not "think" about what I was doing, I had to practice? It just didn't make sense. Then I was driving home from class with the radio blasting and I was thinking so intently on this word of advice when I realized I was ALSO singing a song. Then it hit me...I didn't have to think about what I was singing, I had trained as a singer my whole life. I practiced singing every day. I was FREE to singing it, all the words ingrained in my brain, all the notes just flowing without thinking about it. I was struck that this was a perfect example of being "in the moment" without thinking about it. It was so interesting how that structure provided for me an opportunity to sing out without any thought.

On another note, I have done the same thing for August. Instead of looking at it as depressing, I am looking at it as a time to create the structure I need so that I can be free to create the new year as I see it! (I've always looked at September as the start of a new year because it's my birthday month and it's when school starts). So, HERE'S TO A NEW YEAR!!!!!

Love in the Time of Foreclosure said...

Thanks for your inspiring comments!

Jenna, your analogy about your singing training is so perfect. I love it.

Structure = Freedom

Now that I'm running again I'm seeing this in a physical sense. The more I train, the more I enjoy my daily runs. And can just be in the moment to enjoy the scenery and the actual accomplishment of running. For me, it's a big accomplishment.

I love this conversation. I hope more people comment. What do you have to say? Thoughts?

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