October 15, 2018

Last week I was overwhelmed, over committed, and crabby. Its been a crazy busy summer. We’ve traveled a lot, bought a property, tore down a house, and hosted a wedding, among other things I can’t even remember. And of course, all the disagreements that come along with.

So about a month ago I decided to put some fun into my life, and I picked out some things and enthusiastically signed myself up for them. And now I am way over committed! Me, a person who needs a lot of alone, quiet, reflective time!

I signed up for the Master Gardner class through Purdue. A friend had a blast when she did it and I wanted to have a blast too, so I signed up. But my class is different from hers and I have tons of studying and a huge, humongous textbook about 8 inches thick. The class lasts till the middle of December and then we take a test. A test! To be a Master Gardner and do all their fun stuff, I have to pass a test! On all this 8 inches tall stack of technical stuff. Not my fun thing. I started freaking out about the test. A few ladies in my class said, “Me, I’m not taking the test. I’m just here to learn about my own gardens.” “Wow,” I thought, “that’s good”. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the test! I HAVE to pass that test!

I also had agreed to teach a class at a half-way house, a class about anger. I’ve taught that a hundred times, to a hundred different kinds of people, but like to tweak it for each group. I found myself now taking two days each week just to get prepped. It had to be stellar! Just what they needed! Perfect!

Then there are the other things that already filled my week. Things I love doing. There was nothing to give up. I want to do it all!

I want to take naps and cut flowers from my garden and read books and play games with my grandchildren, have lunch with my daughters-in-law. Visit my mom in her nursing home, cook yummy stuff and have long walks with my husband.

But – I must do all my homework each week and have a perfect-score Master Gardner test in December!

But – I must be an amazingly gifted teacher each week for the half-way house!

But – I must wow all of you with my Monday articles on my web page!

All last week I was crabby. Tried to be happy in the midst of this chaos, just couldn’t.

And, come Friday morning I was going out of town with a girlfriend for 2 days and I knew I couldn’t afford the time. And…I had to pack!

So I didn’t pack, I threw my jammies in my ever-ready overnight bag and decided to just wear the same clothes both days. Too tired to care. Woke up at 4:30am stressed about what studying I wouldn’t get done.

Met my friend at her house. She drove her big comfy SUV, so I just sat back to be a passenger and not be in charge of anything. And spilled out my crabbies and frustrations for an hour. Promised I wouldn’t do it all day. One hour only. And then I stopped.

I could stop because she was my wonderful old long term friend who knew me well. She got off the main highways and drove the country roads on our way to Saugatuck, Michigan. I love country roads. One can’t be crabby while looking at trees and farms and passing through towns with lovely old houses. One just can’t.

We stopped for lunch at Firehouse in Douglas. Oh! It was so my kind of place! Yummiest homemade soup. With tasting samples. A chili made with shreds of roast beef instead of ground beef. A butternut squash soup perfectly seasoned. And the sandwiches were so amazing I actually ate my entire one.

We spent hours browsing the shops in Saugatuck, wandering through things we’d never seen, stuff we’d never buy but loved the creativity of it. We laughed and teased each other and remembered all the other trips we’d taken together. We found a restaurant overlooking the lake and ate expensive fish dinners.

We stayed overnight in a Best Western motel with a beautiful room. Curled up in our jammies, each in our own bed. We stretched out, watched Law and Order and crocheted blankets we were each working on.

And I became heavy with sleep, listening to this friend talk about her family and her job and just her ordinary stuff. My body relaxed, my brain stopped fixating on stuff. My friend of twenty years.

My friend to be comfortable with and not be perfect for. A friend who will let me wear my jammies to the breakfast buffet. A friend who will wear hers too.

My friend who’s part of my history. We’ve seen each other through deaths and illnesses and betrayals.

But we also have a history of travel and playing together. We hadn’t done that in a long time.

This weekend I discovered a new truth. When one is stressed with one’s life, when one is over committed, take a break. Not a little break. A long break. A break away with a long time trusted friend who expects nothing from you but your presence.

These days it is easy to keep up friendships through social media and I do love that a lot.

But there’s nothing like spending some good time with an old friend to refresh and nourish a tattered soul.

Today I was able to think clearly about my priorities and decide that I don’t have to pass the Master Gardner test. I want to be like those ladies who are having fun and just want to learn about their own gardens, and so I shall.

I’m going to enjoy the girls in my half-way class because, after all, the greatest gift I can give them is my joy overflowing. That drug addicts do recover long term, that my 50 years of being clean and happy can give them hope.

Today I wore a pretty dress and picked flowers from my garden, and drank blueberry tea. And I am not crabby anymore!

PS: I bought these little giraffe people in a shop that sells stuff made by villagers in Africa.

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