“April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.”
― T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land
April is my favorite month despite its unpredictable weather and its many obligations. In fact, it’s my favorite month because of its unpredictability and its obligations. There may still be blizzards and dreary days but April brings sunshine, warmth, and the first thunderstorms of the year too and the obligations are all self-imposed. April is my birthday month and I insist on making the most of it, even if I’m the one who has to make all the plans.
This year I spent my big day at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science perusing the new Leonardo da Vinci exhibit with my fiance and that night we steamed crab legs and grilled artichokes for dinner. Other memorable moments included a night out eating Hawaiian barbeque and book shopping with my youngest sister and an Easter/birthday brunch with my mom, my sister, my brother and his family. I had a wonderful dinner with my dad and his wife too and there is still a big bash planned with friends in the coming weeks.
April is more than just a birthday month to me though. It is also a month of hope. It is the true month of love, of fresh starts, of new beginnings, for me anyway, usually, and at first, this month was all of that, but things changed very quickly. Mid-month I lost my motivation and fell back into old ways. I fell back into a kind of winter where gray skies loomed and the cold froze my bones where I lay.
Perhaps that is the nature of the season, though, particularly in this part of the world, where spring isn’t all sunshine and gentle rain showers. Here, spring is just a time when winter and summer agree to alternate days. Here, in April, there were days I could love, days I could come alive and begin, and days when I was lulled back into hibernation.
And now May has come, the month when the year has become what it is going to be and there is nothing left to do but wait for its end. There are more surprises to come, sure, but the time for radical change has ended. In May we begin to grow from where we have fallen.
But before I do, here is what I am currently…
Writing notes. I’m so focused on simply learning right now that there hasn’t been time to gather my thoughts into something organized, coherent, and wholly my own, yet. I have drafts of essays, posts, and larger poems too but I work on them in starts and stops in piecemeal and without clear direction. I feel I can’t move forward without knowing more so I’m pursuing facts, perspectives, noting the ways they resonate, connect, and inspire me and make that the basis of my new work. I’m still keeping a journal, though even that needs to be done better.
Making up for lost time. This month’s productivity was marred by more than a week of depression-like symptoms. I was fatigued, irritable, and unmotivated. I stopped enjoying the things I normally love to do and my sense of self-worth plummeted. As a result, nearly nothing was accomplished. I’m trying not to feel too down about it or be too hard on myself and instead focus on what I can do now to make it up and make it right.
Planning my wedding and not much else. There isn’t room for anything else! With the big day less than three months away we are really panicking now. We’re terrified and excited. We’re worried that nothing will be done in time and that the result won’t be what we hoped. The goals for this month are to complete rentals, attire, and plan for our out-of-town guests. We met with a planner too with the hopes that she can take some of the weight off of our minds and point us in the right direction when we get lost.
Anticipating summer vacation. We have less than a month until school is out and even though I still have to work and I still have to plan a wedding to plan the work will get easier and the wedding will get closer and closer to done. Plus, since the kids will be off I’ll get to spend my days doing new and different kinds of work and staving off boredom and burnout. I’ll get to meet the kids again come August with renewed enthusiasm and energy.
Reading Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This book has been a real pain to get through and has set me back pretty far from where I hoped to be in my 2019 reading goal by now. It isn’t that I don’t like the book. It’s just not a fun read. It’s tiresome and monotonous. There aren’t any stunning setting descriptions or compelling bits of dialog, but there are some important ideas I want to understand. So I’m not giving up and hopefully by this time next month I’ll have finished and moved well on.
Watching a lot of shows, unfortunately. April was a month of big T.V. premieres which means too much time spent on the couch watching: Season 2 of The OA on Netflix, a science fiction/supernatural story about a blind girl who returns to her hometown years after being kidnapped with her sight restored to embark on a strange mission with 5 new friends, Killing Eve, a British drama about a budding obsession between an MI5 agent and the psychotic assassin she’s tasked with bringing to justice, oh, and Game of Thrones on HBO, of course, a sprawling fantasy about the fictional world of Westeros and the fight to sit on the iron throne and rule the seven kingdoms, and Veep, also on HBO, a comedy that follows Vice President Selina Meyer and her incompetent staff as they campaign and scheme to win the Presidency.
Learning about Modern and Contemporary Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights a harder course with actual assignments that I am already falling behind on. I only have one short essay to write on which of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are most impacted by the education of young girls. It’s not hard really but I am over thinking it and avoiding it because I’m afraid to fail. It’s as simple and as hard as that.
Feeling anxious, all the time but I’m not sure there is anything I can do about it. Perhaps there is nothing I want to about it. I’m breathing. I’m sleeping. I’m taking care of myself. I’m using lists to keep track of what I need to do and reminding myself that the worst case scenario is never that bad. I’m asking for help when I need it and letting people know how I am. I’m doing my best but no matter what I do I can’t change who I am and who I am is just an anxious person. I’m someone who freaks out, who worries. I’m someone who only knows how to live this way and I’m not sure I’d like a version of me that wasn’t like this.
Reflecting on my 2019 failures thus far of which there have been plenty. I haven’t started exercising. I haven’t written anything of interest. I haven’t made any progress on my book project. I haven’t started a daily drawing habit. I haven’t done over half of the things I set out to do and I’d like to work out why. I’d like to figure out if I’m setting myself up for failure by trying to do too much or if there is some fundamental problem with my day-to-day routine that I am not seeing. I have a feeling it is a bit of both but rather than guessing I would really like to document and then examine every hour, every minute, of how I am spending my life.
Fearing what my life will be like after the wedding. Married life will be a breeze I am sure considering that we’ve already been together almost 17 years and living together for over 15 of those. No, what I am afraid of is simply what comes next. What will we do with our days if we aren’t stressing anymore over this event? We’ve been engaged for so long I’m afraid of the boredom, the contentment, the void that will come after. I’m afraid both of what big life changes we’ll turn our attention to next, and of having no big life changes to make. I’m sure though that there is plenty we could come up with: career changes, college, a new house, kids?
Hating work. I don’t mean that I hate my job. As far as jobs go mine is a good one, not to stressful, not too physically demanding, and highly rewarding compared to others. I like my job but having to have any job at all is kind of a drag, you know? I don’t mind work when I am in the mood for work but work doesn’t work that way. Work wants you there every day on their terms. I wish I had more flexibility. I wish I had more say. I wish I had more days for me, you know? And when I look around at my coworkers, and think about all the people in the world who are probably working worse job and longer hours with more pressure and discomfort I feel enraged by the hours of life we all have to give away before we can afford a basic level of happiness, comfort, and dignity.
Loving myself. I’ll always be a little depressed, a little anxious, and I’ll always have a hard time with myself, but this life, this body, this history, this future, this potential, and yes, even all this pain is all I have. I have to love it. I have to be grateful for it, and I truly, truly am. This April marked 34 years around the sun and like every April I’ve spent on this Earth I celebrated that victory with my whole heart. I let myself be joyous and I let myself be loved. I demanded it! I deserved it. Life is hard and I earn every year I get and I show myself some appreciation for all that effort.
Needing my friends. The over 30 life means having finally established real and deep friendships with people who are open, generous, and kind but who have busy schedules, family obligations, and workplace burn out and fatigue, the same as you. They have lives to live, things to do, and sleep to catch up on and it never fails that once they are able to make the time you are in the midst of your own obligations, errands, events, and crises and when you are ready, they are back in the shit again. Around and around you go and no matter how much you try or how much you all miss one another there never seems to be more than one or two open evenings to get together a year.
Hoping that I can just keep on going. I read Austin Kleon’s newest book Keep Going and like all self-help and advice type books; it told me what I already knew and gave me permission to do what I already longed to and now I hope I can just do it every single day. I’m hoping that doing the work daily—even when I’m aren’t sure what the work is or what I’m working toward—will lead me to the place I need to be. I get bogged down worrying about marketing, monetization, followers, and content and I can’t ever move forward because deep down I know that is not what I care about. I hope I can follow my passion first, day in and day out, and all the rest will come after when I’m ready.
So, yeah, all in all, April was a wonderful month, I knew it would be because it always is. No matter what goes wrong April reminds be to be grateful I’m alive. I’m honestly sad to move on to May, a month, like March, that falls in-between. A month of boredom and anxiety as I move on from celebrating the self and wait for the summer months when I truly come alive.
But what about you? How did April treat you? Are the cherry blossoms and the tulips blooming where you are? What are you looking forward to in May? What are you looking forward to after? How are you coping with the passing of time and the middle of the year approaching so quickly?
Let me know in the comments.
“April is over, April is over. There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice.”
―F. Scott Fitzgerald
The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love
Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash