Thursday, June 25, 2015

Finding happiness on the river

I don't know how I ever made it through March.

It was shortly after our loss, the winter weather was wearing on me, and my husband was stuck working every day.  I often woke up on Saturday and Sunday without him there, wondering why in the world I should even get out of bed.

But out of bed I went, and now that I look back and can clearly see the shit storm of depression I was in, I'm kind of proud of that.

I tried to find reasons to get out of bed.  One of these reasons was to get to a local Amish market by us.  I always knew it was there, but it was just habit and ease that always led me to the supermarket instead.  The first time I went to the market, I remember grinning as I walked around buying baked goods and roasted chickens.  I was surrounded by people, wonderful smells, and all kinds of fresh delicious food.

To this day, going to that market makes me happy.

Shortly after surviving that awful month, I sat down and made a list of things to do in the summer.  The idea was to look ahead - to make sure we actually do stuff this summer, rather than just working on the house, or looking at one another on a nice Saturday wondering what the heck we could do.   The last thing I wanted was more time alone to wallow.  It has since been my mission to have something fun planned every and any weekend we possibly can, and so far, I am succeeding.

It has helped immensely.  I feel like I have purpose.  I have fun things to look forward to, and consequently, interesting things to actually talk to people about.  I had previously found myself having difficulty in social situations, because the only thing on my mind was loss.  I was at a serious loss for anything else to talk about.  I started not wanting to go anywhere, or to see anyone but my mom and my 2 closest friends.  I was withdrawing.  As you can imagine, this wasn't helping my situation.

So as part of our summer of doing stuff, we recently found ourselves with some good friends on a cocktail cruise.  At about 9pm, after a few drinks, my friend asked me if I wanted to row with her in the morning.  I've been meaning to give it a try for years, but never found the time or inclination.  This time, between my mission to try new things and the alcohol, the answer was a clear yes.

And so there I was, 12 hours later, in a boat, trying to keep up with 3 experienced rowers.  It was not pretty, but I loved it.  I mean, really, really loved it.  I drove home with the music blasting, and as I sang at the top of my lungs, I had a very sudden and undeniable thought:

I am happy. 

My next thought was that I hadn't felt happy in five months.  I had some laughs, some good times with friends, but this was the first time I felt joy.  And so back to the river the next day I went.  I joined a learn to row class.  I have plans to join the club, to take more lessons, and maybe even join a competition.  I'll probably come in last place, which would normally drive my super competitive self insane (OK, it probably still will a bit), but I know I'll drive home feeling accomplished, and with a new goal to do better next time.  

My arms and legs are sore.  I'm pretty sure I pulled my neck at one of the classes.  I have a permanent bruise in one spot on my leg (and I am honestly not sure why), and my hands are so blistered it's hard to hold the steering wheel.  

Yet here I am, looking at my schedule so I can figure out when I can row that beautiful river next.  

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