Ok, raise your hands – who else is in a winter funk right now? I mean, BLAH, right? (Oh be quiet Australia, we know all about your lovely sunshine, damn you)… I am not depressed, I am not sick, I’m not exhausted, I am just like, a motionless frozen zombie. It is so hard to muster up enthusiasm to slog through the day.
Every time I go outside I must geriatric shuffle through the ice with my head down and my elbows clenched. I wonder if I shall ever Maria Von Trapp down flower-filled green hills again (Yes, Maria Von Trapp is a verb). Actually, today it was a balmy 31 degrees and rainy, and my vitamin D deprived mind was like, Oh Rapture! I took the dogs for a walk wearing only a t-shirt. Sigh… how much longer til it is sunny again?
I wish I was better at being still and finding value in that stillness. When you think about it, through 99.9% of human history, winter was a legitimate time to shut down, curl up, and hibernate. We are hardwired deep in our anatomy to slow down when the days get short. But now, thanks to our old friend the light bulb (and his sinister cohorts) we are expected to keep clipping along at a graceful canter all winter. And I buy right into that. I have a masochistic work ethic that shoots laser beams at me if I try to rest.
Last month was the best month ever for my business (Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!! Times a million!!!), Mason and I worked ourselves into an unsustainable delirium to pull it off, and we were rewarded for our efforts. I wish I were the sort of person who could then sit back and appreciate the fruit of my hard work. But somehow that success perverts itself in my brain and instead of feeling proud, I feel disappointed in my future self for not matching that level of output. I know this self-flagellating is one of the reasons my business does so well, but, gah, it is so uncool.
Anyhow, old man winter has decided that we need a little assistance to help us rest, and thus covered us in a dark, icy cloak that makes it futile to persist. A whole bunch of my friends said, fuck this, and ran off to other corners of the globe where the sun still shines. This has left me marvelously and terrifyingly alone. Even Mason is gone. It is just me and the dogs at home. The usual parade of characters who endlessly flow through our doors like an 80’s sit com are currently elsewhere.
At first I was like, This is gonna be amazing! I’m gonna go to the gym everyday. I’m gonna work on all these new sweater designs that have been percolating in my head. I am gonna be so calm and centered that I can finally finish that book I started writing. And in my spare time I might do a little painting. I am gonna be super productive!!!
Well, I am on day five of my solitary retreat, and so far all I can report is that I have watched the entire 6th season of Mad Men and eaten an alarming amount of breakfast cereal. I am prone 16 hours a day. It’s not my fault; I blame the dogs. Every time I start to lie down, they jump on top of me and oppress me. Do your dogs do that too? How can I be expected to fend myself from a 4-pound Yorkie and his Chihuahua sidekick?
I am leaning in! (I haven’t read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, but I am pretty sure that is what she meant when she rallied us to “Lean in” right? Right? Okay, maybe not).
Actually, I have managed to go to the gym every day, which is my only accomplishment (which I then proceed to negate with large bowls of Reese’s Puffs cereal that I perch on my chest as I search Netflix for my next distraction). Yesterday in yoga class I had a mini revelation.
God, I am so bad at yoga. I have been practicing for 10 years and I can still just barely touch my toes. My brain is far too jumbled to extract the deep benefits of yoga, but I keep at it, because it is my Everest. If you had taken as many yoga classes as I have, you would be a double-jointed pretzel right now. I can’t even get my heels on the floor during downward dog. Sigh…
Whilst going through the asanas yesterday, the teacher said what every teacher says, that we are free to rest in child’s pose if we need to. And as she said that, it occurred to me that I NEVER take that option. When I hear a teacher give us an elective to sit back and recover, my brain hears that as a challenge, wherein child’s pose equals failure. (See? I told you I am terrible at yoga). I never let myself sit back and breathe, because I was raised to just keep pushing myself through discomfort. Resting is an admission of weakness.
Yesterday, in honor of my “lean in” week, I was like, Fuck it, these Cheerios are weighing me down, and I got nothing to prove, I’m resting in child’s pose. And it was an epiphany. I was like, Ohhh, wait, this isn’t a cop out, this is actually super nourishing. It will make everything else I do after it stronger. Um, duh. Everyone else figures that out in earlier their yoga journey than I did. But yeah, child’s pose! Who knew?
With that in mind, I am just gonna metaphorically lean back on my knees and listen to myself breath for a little while. I will still make a bunch of sweaters this month, because that is what I do, but I am gonna try not to feel like a stupendous failure if I only make 50 sweaters instead of 70. Because I know you guys will understand.
But wait, there is more news to tell! In the midst of my sloth-a-thon I got into that, “Let me search random airfares just for fun” mode. (Who else does this? It’s fun, right?) I found a cheap ticket to Oman. Oman! I have literally never thought about Oman before. I googled it and found this video:
And that pretty much sealed the deal. I love randomness!
Mason loves the Middle East (he used to live there, and he can make me swoon when he reads Arabic). It didn’t take much to convince him to hitchhike across the land of Frankincense with me. Plus, I had all these points on my credit card because of all the sweaters I buy, so I got my ticket for free.
Oh man, Oman! Something tells me that probably most of you know as little about it as I do, but I just thought I’d throw it out there – Has anyone been? What is not to be missed? We will be headed there in early February….
Oh, and please don’t tell me to be careful about traveling in “that” part of the world. I think Oman is pretty safe on the terrorism spectrum. Plus, any time I have an opportunity I always feel it my duty to tell anyone that will listen that traveling in Muslim countries is THE BEST. The level of hospitality and integrity and warmth is unsurpassed. I always feel safe and honored. When I hear all these wretched generalizations on the news about Islam and the Middle East, I just wish people could see for themselves how distorted that is. As my fellow hitchhiker Rebekah says, “The greatest danger of traveling in the Islamic world is too many lunch invitations before noon”.
So yeah, Oman! Child’s pose! We all have got to get through the winter somehow. What is your strategy?
PS… Follow up – People keep asking me if I bought the cute red stove from Craigslist that I mentioned in my last post. I went to look at it and thought it was adorable, it was a bit too much of a project for me to undertake. However, as I was leaving, the guy said, “I have a sofa. $50. It’s Danish. You want it?”
I looked at the sofa and it was super funky and retro and gondola shaped, so I was like, “Yeah, I’ll take that”….
So we loaded it up in the El Camino and when I got home I started wondering if there was more to this $50 sofa than we knew. I could tell it was mid century modern, and it seemed schmancy, so I did a little googling, and lo and behold… It’s made by a famous designer (Adrian Pearsall – not Danish) and even in crappy condition it sells for, gulp… more than I would ever pay for a sofa.
Now it is the cornerstone of me new collection of mid century modern designer furniture. Okay, fine, it is my ENTIRE collection – that stuff is expensive! But hey, life is long, maybe I will get lucky again. And in the meantime it is sitting on my front porch, and my dog Charlie likes to wriggle all over it and make love to it with his face. If anyone has any mid century furniture they wanna unload, hit me up!
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Tags: adrian pearsall, katwise, lean in, oman, yoga