Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Let's Hear It for Cheese!

So, after a summer that defies description - and not in a good way, I find myself feeling somewhat cheesed off at the unfairness of life. But then I started thinking about the nature of a good "miff" and tried to remind myself that it can actually be a blessing in disguise. I mean, think of how much gets accomplished in a fit of angst. I suspect the sheer disgust kept me motivated through almost an entire month of disastrous family hijinks. But eventually the price must be exacted, and now I find myself thoroughly worn out and wishing for that elusive vacation.

I tried to rationalize that I was simply paying for the glorious escape to Australia at the end of March and that it was only fair that I go through a rough patch. Didn't work. I tried to escape into as many books as possible (which was most enjoyable but heartily inefficient for getting anything done or feeling better about my lot in life), only to get tired of reading.

So what's the real issue? I haven't allowed myself just to feel cheated. It was summer time and I never went to the pool, never paddled in a lake, tubed on a river, hiked in the mountains, camped with my husband (there is no way I'm counting the backyard stint at the in-laws'), or just enjoyed doing nothing with no demands looming over me. Instead I ended up with a hideously scrappy garden, a horrid farmer's tan, and a monstrously bad mood. And now that summer's over and school has started along with the myriad responsibilities that take a break for the summer, I'm feeling more cheesed off than ever.  And because I don't like feeling that way, I morph the sensation into generalized guilt for not being able to just suck it up and get on with life. I didn't even mess around with my clay for well over a month because of it all. And that's never good. For anyone.

How do I break the cycle? Not entirely sure. I'm attempting to push myself back into activities that occasionally foster joy, but I've got to convince myself they're not just more items for the dreaded list. Perhaps I just need to figure out how to turn my "cheese" into cheese, which I happen to love passionately. Especially a good old cheddar with a rich bite to it. The kind that says, "robust," with a roll on the 'r.'

And that makes me remember that I encountered such a cheddar this very summer. My husband brought some home from a work trip to the back of beyond where they had to venture into Montana to buy groceries. And that cheese was so good that I had to buy some more when we were in Montana again more than a month later. Perhaps it's as simple as taking a look at my pseudo summer again and looking for the tiny moments of perfection that have got to be there.  Because if I can keep finding good cheese, I must be able to keep finding other recurring instances of delight as well. Like the perfect photo shot after a cluster of bad ones. Or several handfuls of perfectly ripened cherries that made me want to hum while chewing. Or a book so good it made you want to run out and hug the author and beg them to write another - immediately. And I have to admit that I had those. So perhaps I got my cheese after all.

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