This morning I was reading an article in Gardens Illustrated which revolved around the use of garden notebooks. There was a lovely quote from Joan Didion ‘On Keeping a Notebook’ (I must seek this essay out) which said that notebooks were “about the bits of the mind’s string too short to use”. I loved this quote as it described the way my mind works – but then I thought it is more how my mind worked until recently and that is the real problem. My bird like brain has entered a sort of torpor. The endless shifting sands that has been my working life for the last year and don’t appear to be forming any sort of firm foundation in the next six months seem to have smothered my normal chirpy self and it is making me sad.
Hindsight and reflection are wonderful at illuminating what can seem at the time quite normal. I realise now that I was incredibly bored in my job and had been for years. I love working where I do and my role meant that no two days were the same but I could do it with my eyes shut and there was no mental stimulation and so I blogged…alot. My mind sought knowledge and the garden and plants in particular became the focus. I joined groups and societies, followed blogs, Pinterest boards, facebook groups, went to events, visited gardens so much that when I did a review of the year back at the end of December people commented on how much I did. I was surprised at this response. “Really? ” I thought “and there was me wishing I had been to this or that”. And then its like someone placed a full stop firmly down and every horticultural inclination in my being vanished almost overnight.
Now yes you can say “well its been a miserable winter with endless rain and now low temperatures and its that time of year and all gardeners feel like that etc etc” and I would agree wholeheartedly. But this has never affected me so strongly before and I feel incredibly unsettled by it. I have my seed box out and I can’t be bothered to open it to see what I have, I have seed catalogues which I have flicked through and even scribbled on but I can’t be bothered to order anything. I walked round the garden yesterday and took some photos of what was flowering for a late Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post but I couldn’t be bothered to write it. Some people will say, and I have myself, that this is fine as I was doing too much and things are more balanced and this might be true. But, and its a big but, I worry that it is more significant and that the black dog that shadows me is sniffing around and I can’t throw him off.
I suffer with indecision and I am incredibly easily influenced by what others say which really makes me cross with myself but I have yet to find a source of imperviousness. This means that time and again I push people away and avoid situations where vocal or opinionated people exist as I know that my fragile confidence will evaporate at the first challenge. I take too much to heart and things dog me for years. This isn’t good and means I find myself, now my sons are grown and independent, feeling at times quite alone. This has become worse since my blogging block has occurred. Blogging is wonderful if you feel isolated or are looking for people to share whatever your obsessions in life are but it is all too easy to become reliant on it and for it to become the answer to everything.
Normally around now I am planning my holidays, pouring over websites and brochures. This year it would be fair to say that my plans are already made and were made before Christmas, although I am still looking for other things to do for some reason that I can’t explain. I hope to go on a trip to Greece in October to see crocus etc growing in the wild and this is with my friends, yes there you go I do have some, from the Alpine Garden Society. I am also going on a trip with people from the local Hardy Plant Society in June to east of the UK to visit a number of gardens including Beth Chattos – which I am really looking forward to. This trip is with people who I think I can call friends although I only tend to see them once a month. Oh and I have promised my mother a trip to the South Coast as she really wants to visit Monkey World which is conveniently near Abbotsbury Gardens which I have wanted to visit for a while. Lots to look forward to and already planned (wagging finger at myself). But still I wonder should I go to the US in July to catch up with blogging friends, should I go and immerse myself in the horticultural odyssey that is Great Dixter to recharge my batteries, or should I be sensible and spend the money on new living room furniture that I need and really do I need to make any of these decisions right now – probably not!
So now I need to find a way to re-engage with the old me, the me that got enthusiastic about things, plants or otherwise. I suspect that my current work where I am in an acting up role and working at a level that is several higher than previously is really the cause of all my angst. Everything I am doing at work seems to be new and I sit there wondering how do I write this policy, how do I tell this person that whatever isn’t happening, how do I find the courage to speak out at a meeting – my safety net has well and truly been removed and my lack of confidence has blossomed. I get excited when I have a task from my old role to do as its like a familiar friend! But everyone it seems has faith that I can step up to these challenges and if I want to progress in my job and avoid going back to the place were I was bored senseless and spent all my time on social media then I need to embrace those challenges. I just need to find a way to leave the unsettling world of work at work and to come home to a my old self instead of letting the self-doubt of my working world seep into my home life and cripple me further.
So I am I think I will dig out my notebooks from last year and re-read my ‘bits of the mind’s string’ and see if they don’t pull me back to my old self.
The photos on this post are the ones that should have gone on the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Post!