March 2014: The Children Are Tender

Caregiving, teaching little kids to read, and riding in the pickup with Farmer John; I tweet, pin, and blog, from my home in rural Kansas. If you've landed here looking for information about my books, visit my author's page by clicking this link: A. Born. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kansas Beauty: Depression's Cure

 I have cycled through some emotions that are close to depression in the wake of giving up my teaching job two years ago.  I hadn't considered retirement, and it came as a shock that I had enough years of service to do so.  My job description changed in the wake of budget cuts, my mother's needs increased, and it seemed logical for me to retire early.  And so here I am, back home on the farm; writing, caregiving, and being a grammy; all jobs I love.  But some days that depression cloud hovers.  It is usually comprised of fibromyalgia aches, caregiving stress, and a sense that my life is winding down to a journey's end rather than gearing up toward some new goal. The idea that I've been demoted from a position of authority and respect to the roles of housekeeper and caregiver adds to my angst, but I figure this is good for my humility (a reference to family lore; once when I was bemoaning some cosmetic deficiency my then six-year-old daughter said, "Welp, that's good for your humility, Mom..."). 

When one is depressed, the inclination is to pull the shades, turn out the lights, and lay on the nearest soft surface, escapism-book in hand.  I manage to resist these pulls, but as I putter about the house  procrastination attacks, and my sad/bad feelings increase as I accomplish little; the silence pressing in about me.  I'm too tired to seek company, ache too much to volunteer my services as a babysitter, and tend toward short-temperedness with my mother's dementia related behaviors.  What I am able to do, however, is to step outside. 

Fresh air and light are curative. A few nights ago I snapped this phone photo of the setting sun's colors over our little yellow house and found there's no room for depression when one's senses are filled with this kind of beauty.  Again today I'm feeling so grateful for the restorative peace that's always just outside my front door simply because I'm privileged to live in rural Kansas: