For over a month life circumstances have trumped barn time and while it's frustrating I have tried to be Zen about it. Annie won't forget me, she's well taken care of and as soon as things get 'back to normal' I will be out more. But when does anything get 'back to normal'?
Finally I thought, this is the weekend when I will be able to get out on Saturday and Sunday. So what happened? My daughter was knocked down and sustained a mild concussion at her soccer game yesterday. My husband was out of town making me responsible for keeping an eye on her so that nothing worse happened. The likelihood of there being complications was small but no mother would take that risk, right? Annie would have to wait another day.
Am I making excuses to avoid the barn? That has occurred to me. Is it just too much work? Have I lost the sense of joy that going to see Annie, caring for her, riding, always used to give me?
Confession time. I think I was depressed for much of August and September. When a person is depressed one of the first things that happens is they stop doing those things that used to be pleasurable. My depression wasn't a severe 'stay-in-bed-and-cry-all-day' kind of depression. It was more a mild 'walk-around-like-a-zombie-and-just-go-through-the-motions' kind of depression.
It's an awful kind of vicious cycle, dropping those things that give us joy. Psychologists call it 'anhedonia'. It's a creepy symptom of depression where the depression robs us of the very thing that will charge our batteries, give us that spring in our step, that twinkle in our eye.
Ironically, as much as it appears to be the opposite, our society undervalues the importance of activities that are purely for the fun of it. We are so far tilted to left-brain, high production, money making behavior there's hardly room for anything else. Play is not just optional, it's the exception. And I don't count sitting in front of the television, not after a couple of hours, anyway. Arts, music, hell, recess are dropped from school programs. Married couples need to be reminded to go out on dates. Hard working parents forget the importance of leaving the kids with someone else once in a while. What ever happened to hobbies?
Thanks to a regenerative vacation that reminded me of the importance of right-brain activities, i.e. play, the depression is alleviated. I can return to my usual habits with my old enthusiasm, including loving Annie.
Today I saw Annie and she did give me an eye like, "Where the hell have you been?" but not, "Who are you?" My barn friends greeted me and chatted about the usual stuff. After grooming Annie, taking a short walk and tucking her back into her stall, I sat on a picnic table and just soaked up the autumn sun. This is good. Life is good.