April 28, 2011 —
I guess it was bound to happen, but given the fact that my crystal ball is once again in the shop, I didn’t see it coming. For something completely different, Mother Nature gave me some trouble last week, so there were fallen trees, insurance agents and piles of aggravation to occupy me and keep me close to home.
I’ve recently taken on some volunteer work at the Monticello Literacy Center (www.literacysullivan.org ), an organization that is desperately in need of help. These folks are, as a group, (IMHO) simply amazing in their dedication to our community. That being said, it is not a commitment to be taken lightly, and adding another few hours a week to my already overbooked schedule has taken a toll.
I had highlighted over a dozen things on my schedule of events last week, culled from the many resources available (artsalliancesite.org/calendar) and while trying to decide which to attend, fell asleep. For 12 hours. I awoke shocked, disoriented, angry, confused and a little bit concerned. Every so often, I run into someone who feels it necessary to tell me that I have the easiest job on earth. Apparently, they think that I spend an hour or two at my desk, writing about fun things in the Catskills, and then spend the rest of the week playing with the dog and watching TV.
As most of you know, I love what I do—but it is a job. I can’t write about life in the Catskills without going out and living it, which I spend at least 40 hours a week doing. This month alone, I have put over 800 miles on the truck, dragging my sorry butt from one end of the Hudson Valley to the other. Again, having no psychic abilities, it did not occur to me that my first Passover without my beloved mother would put me into a depression and cause an hours-long crying jag that left me sad and feeling a little sorry for myself. I’m not proud of it, but make no apologies.
I made up my mind, then and there, to stop running. I canceled all of my plans. I went on Facebook and announced that I was unavailable for comment. Of course (what else is new?) I had friends coming up for the weekend—but they are adults and I left them to their own devices; and as far as I know, they managed just fine. I did not answer the phone. I did not start my spring cleaning or make plans with friends to go out strictly for personal pleasure.
In fact, for the first time in more than a year, I did not leave the house. I slept during the day. I slept at night. While awake, I fantasized about sleeping for months at a time and wondering if anyone would even notice that I was gone. I thought about the last year and all that has transpired. I silently gave thanks for my wonderful friends and family and the support they provide and then I cried some more.
Upon reflection, I realized that it is possible that I have kept myself so incredibly busy in order to avoid the grieving process that is really necessary for all of us, when faced with a loss of any kind. I love my life here. I love my friends, my work, and my community. Maybe I just needed to stop for a minute, so my body did it for me. Maybe I need a vacation. Maybe I don’t need permission to relax or feel guilty about not getting out to every gallery, every performance, every parade. What I would like to do is thank every single person who reads this column and goes out of their way to approach me and give me their own humble opinion about it.
The amount of feedback is incredible and truly (dare I say it?) humbling. Without you, the reader, I am nothing, and my gratitude is most sincere. Naturally, not everyone is a fan (this is what makes the world go ‘round), but even critical comments are valued and respected. If I can manage to get through the week without calamity, I should be back out on the road shortly. Meanwhile, I am going back to bed.