I can see why I had such a hard time trying to find topics when I was blogging every day — there are no great emotions in my life as when I was dealing with grief, no great adventures as when I was hiking or road tripping, no wonderful new experiences as when I bought my house. There’s just me going about what has become my normal life, which mostly entails spending two or three hours working on my yard and the rest of the time reading or relaxing and trying to recuperate from the labor.
To be honest, I’m not sure this is a fulfilling life, but to be even more honest, I’m not sure I care. It takes a lot of energy to search for ways of being fulfilled and then to follow through, and I have never been a high-energy person. I do have a part-time job looking after an older woman, so that’s something anyone would consider worthwhile. Outside of that job, however, my only responsibility is looking after myself, and that should be at least as worthwhile as looking after someone else, right? I’m not sure why, but we seldom think we are as important as others. When we’re coupled, it’s easy to feel as if we’re leading a worthwhile and fulfilling life because of its “we” centeredness. Being “me” centered is considered selfish, but when “me” is all there is, then by definition, we have to give ourselves as much validity as when we were a “we.”
Now that I think of it, I spend more time looking after my yard than I spend looking after myself. I’m pretty easy to care for — make sure I have plenty of books, fix relatively healthy meals, try to put myself to bed at a reasonable hour. My yard, on the other hand, is rather demanding. Because of the lack of natural moisture in the area (due to a curse put on this land by the survivors of the Sand Creek massacre, I’ve been told, and even a subsequent blessing ceremony by more current members of that tribe couldn’t remove the curse) I have to spend time watering my grass and plants. I gave up weeding my gardens in the summer because it was impossible to keep on top of the growth (the weeds around here thrive even without much moisture), so I am having to do now what I didn’t do then. I’m also extending my garden, bit by bit. (There is still a swath of my backyard that has never been cleared; the weeds and weedy grasses are so dense it takes an hour just to clear a few feet.)
Although such work might not be compelling to others, it is to me, especially this time of year when the cleared gardens stay cleared, and the fall flowers bring intense color to the yard. It’s also fulfilling work in a creative sort of way, with the yard as a canvas I paint with plants. Although the heat-stressed grass hasn’t yet greened up, at least, with the cooler temperatures, I don’t have to worry about additional damage the sun can do, and there’s always hope for the spring.
Actually, hope isn’t just for spring. When there aren’t big emotions, big adventures, big experiences to fill my life, there’s always hope for something — a chance visit with a friend, a few words that make me think, a new flower to plant or to enjoy, a book that keeps me interested. Even without hope of . . . something . . . there’s still today and my gratitude that even though there might not be a lot to bring drama to my life or heighten my emotions (and hence give me blog topics), there’s nothing to torment me, either.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.