I used to play this "game" with myself: "A week ago today I was _____ or two weeks from today I will be ______." For some reason I had a hard time living in the present. I was always busy mourning the end of some fun event that had already occurred or looking forward to the next big thing looming on the horizon. I would come home from camping or vacation or visiting relatives and mope around the house, wishing I was still there. The day before we were to head home, I started getting the blues. The day of was even worse; I usually ended up in tears at some point during the day. I've noticed recently, though, that the "game" has no appeal for me anymore.
This weekend was usually one of the more momentous events that stirred up all of these emotions. My grandmother lives in AR, and every October they have a big arts and crafts weekend. There are festivals all over the place near where she lives. Every year my family congregates at her house for the festivals, food and lots of family time. I look forward to this weekend every year.
Normally I start feeling "down" on Saturday, knowing that Sunday is the day we have to head home. I have a hard time enjoying myself the later in the day it gets. Instead of getting every drop of fun out of the day, I end up wasting it on wishing it could last longer. On Sunday I try to wait until the very last moment to leave. That last moment is the fraction of a second before The Hubster loses his patience with my foot-dragging. I spend the first part of the drive staring out the car window, trying to drink in every sight and commit it to memory like I will never be there again. I usually shed a few tears in the process and then fall asleep for the rest of the drive home.
As soon as I walk in the door, I start calling friends and the family that I've just left. I just can't stand for the weekend of companionship to be over. I try to drag it out as long as possible. Then I spend the next couple of days saying, "This time yesterday I was playing Skip-Bo with everybody" or "Two days ago I was taking a nap and then getting ready to go to the festival." It usually takes until Wednesday before I kick the gloom for good.
I've noticed this past year, though, that the "game" doesn't hold the same allure. I still look forward to every fun event, anticipating all of the great things I'll be doing. I have a great time whenever I'm there. The thing that has changed, though, is that I don't dread going home. I don't obsess over what I was doing 17 hours ago or what thing I have to look forward to next just so I won't be depressed that the current fun is over. In fact, if it even comes to mind, I find myself thinking, "It was fun but I'm just as happy here folding clothes/checking homework/changing diapers as I was when I was at the amusement park/my grandma's house/vacation. When the fun's over, I'm happy to be heading home. I think this change in attitude has helped me enjoy myself even more since I don't waste an entire day dreading leaving the following day.
I don't know what caused the change in me because it certainly wasn't anything I consciously chose to do. Maybe I'm finally growing up. Maybe it's because I'm not battling depression on a daily basis anymore. Maybe I've just learned to be content. Whatever the case, "there's no place like home." It's about time.
3:12 PM ~