Have You Seen Me? How to Come Home When You’re Missing from Your Own Life

October 28, 2022

Do you ever feel not quite yourself? Like you’ve gone missing in your own life? Activities you used to enjoy leave you flat. You don’t feel like doing/eating/talking about any of the things you usually enjoy, but you’re not sure what sounds enticing. If anything. You’re not depressed, exactly, but nothing brings you the joy it once did.

You feel like you’re wearing a [your name here] suit, just going through the motions of living your life.

I’ve been feeling this unsettling way for several months now. Few of the simple pleasures and everyday adventures that used to spark joy in me have appealed. Going places was too much effort. I could muster the energy to buy groceries, or go to the barn or the library, but anything beyond that was, well, beyond meI felt like my face should be on a milk carton with the words “Have you seen me?” running over my head.

Why would you go missing?

There are several reasons you might not feel like yourself. You could simply be going through a period of natural growth in your life. You could have recently come through some type of change or transition. You could be burnt out and overwhelmed from coping with life’s circumstances. Probably there are as many causes as there are missing persons. It pays to think about what might be causing you to go missing, since your solution for how to come home to yourself may depend on the reason you’re feeling that way.

For me, it’s a combination of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic (completely withdrawing from the world, then trying to reenter it), the uncertainty of my mother-in-law’s condition, and a bit of burnout related to my writing life. 

A turning point—I hope

Last Friday, my friend Laure Ferlita invited me to meet her at a local flower farm for some photo taking (see photo at the top of this post) and on-location sketching. I happily agreed—the combination of wonderful weather, the chance to see my friend, and even to refill my creative well was irresistible. While my sketching was definitely rusty, I deeply enjoyed the experience of getting out of the house, breathing the fresh air, and talking with my friend. This little outing woke me up from the sleepwalking I’ve been doing. And while I’m still groggy, I feel like I want to wake up all the way.

Coming home to yourself

I’m slowly embracing the process of coming home to myself. Here’s what I’m doing—and anyone else who’s not feeling quite themselves is welcome to join me. Nothing here is revolutionary, but taken together, these things seem to be bringing me back to myself, and I think they’ll help you, too.

Take some quiet time just to listen to your thoughts. Enjoy the literal quiet, or put on some instrumental music you find uplifting. Simplify everything. Reread a favorite book. Eat a favorite food slowly and mindfully. Ask for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Take walks. Journal. Treat yourself kindly, and be curious and kind to the “new” you.

Laure also offered me some good advice when I was lamenting my lack of motivation: “Take a small step every day. What I have found and still find is that it really doesn’t matter what it is you do. It’s about the actions of choosing, doing and finishing. Once I start choosing tasks, and taking steps, the direction usually becomes evident.” I have found this to be true, even when the task is as small as doing a load of laundry or watering my plants.

Most of all, keep trying—don’t give up. 

There are indications that this process is working for me. This week I ordered my planner for 2023 (planners play an outsize role in my happiness 😉), which means I’m thinking about making plans for a new year. I’ve started anticipating the holiday season rather than dreading it (the thought of all the extra to-dos made me want to cry rather than celebrate). It’s a start. And it’s enough for now.

What do you do to come home to yourself?


A Fine and Dangerous Season

October 21, 2022

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

“October is a fine and dangerous season in America. It is dry and cool and the land is wild with red and gold and crimson, and all the lassitudes of August have seeped out of your blood, and you are full of ambition. It is a wonderful time to begin anything at all.”

—Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

Angela Lansbury

Goodbye, Jessica Fletcher

October 14, 2022

You’ve likely heard the news that earlier this week, actress Angela Lansbury passed away at age 96. Though Lansbury’s 70-year (!) career encompassed films, television, and theater, for me she’ll always be Jessica Fletcher, of the TV series Murder, She Wrote. This series is one of my go-tos for comfort TV, and when I’m feeling sick or stressed, I rewatch my favorite episodes, even if they’re on quietly in the background.

Why I love Jessica

Aside from the fact that Jessica (or J.B.) became a best-selling mystery author in her 50s (we’re never explicitly told J.B. Fletcher’s age, but Lansbury was 58 when she was cast as the character), she was unfailingly kind, tactful, and did not hesitate to do what she felt was right. She was active—you see her running and biking in the opening credits alone. She also fishes and gardens, lives on her own in her hometown of Cabot Cove, Maine and later in an apartment in New York. She travels the world, visiting her large circle of extended family and friends. She’ll drop everything to help her loved ones when they’re in trouble (it goes without saying that they are often on the hook for murder…). She’s always perfectly groomed and wears great, casually elegant clothes. She always seems sensible, capable and equal to the task, whether it’s learning to use a computer or catching a murderer.

She lives an active, full, and vibrant life into her 60s and 70s—altogether a pretty positive role model!

Mendocino/Cabot Cove

Murder, She Wrote

Murder, She Wrote isn’t highbrow TV, but many people besides me refer to it as comfort TV. Even if bad things happen (and as I type this, someone is being chased by a murderous remote-controlled van), perpetrators of bad things will be caught and face the consequences of their actions. One writer described it this way: “It’s Sherlock Holmes with less cocaine, more chowder and Coastal Grandmother Sweater Looks.” Murder, She Wrote ran for 12 years, from 1984 to 1996, and you can still watch it on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and streaming on Peacock, Freevee (Amazon), and The Roku Channel. 

During its initial run, my mom and I watched Murder, She Wrote together when we could (I was already away at college)—and we still watch those reruns when we’re together. This only adds to the “comfort” vibe.

My favorite episodes—they’re the coziest—are those set in Jessica’s hometown, Cabot Cove (which must be in line for murder capital of the world). In exterior shots, Mendocino, CA, doubles for Maine. (My friend Kerri and visited there on a road trip in 2018—see the pictures in this post.) 

Beyond Jessica

Of course, Angela Lansbury does not equal Jessica Fletcher, but it seems from all I’ve been reading that she was a lovely person. She was certainly a talented and versatile performer, nominated for and winning many professional awards. She was nominated for Tony, Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy awards during her long career, including 12 Emmy nominations for Murder, She Wrote (she never won). 

She did win five Tony awards for roles that included Auntie Mame and Nellie Lovett, the pie maker with the gruesome fillings in Sweeney Todd. A Lifetime Achievement Award brought her total of Tonys to six, tied with Audra McDonald and Julie Harris for the most awards given to one actor. On Oct. 15 at 7:45 p.m., Broadway will dim its marquee lights for one minute in her memory. 

Angela Lansbury’s work has brought me a lot of simple pleasure through the years, and I’m grateful. Rest in peace, Ms. Lansbury. 

For an in-depth story about Angela Lansbury’s life, click here.  

Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel  Maryland, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Link love

Link Love, the Cleanup Edition

October 07, 2022

Our walking trail buried under debris last week.

We’re still cleaning up after Hurricane Ian: raking, bagging, putting away emergency supplies, etc., but we’re still so grateful to be spared. Not so our neighbors to the south in Ft. Myers, Sanibel, and surrounding communities. Cleanup will go on there for a long, long time. We have been enjoying some cooler, drier weather as a result of the storm, which makes things so much easier, too.

Since this week has been about cleaning up and catching up, today instead of a post I’ll share some links I’ve enjoyed over the past month or so that I hope you enjoy, too.

Speaking of cleanup, cleaning is starting on Notre Dame’s smoke-blackened stained glass windows.

I’m still loving my Merlin app, and found this Bird Migration Explorer, from Audubon, of interest. 

How tired are you? And how are you tired? Take this quiz to find out, and read more about the different kinds of rest in “The Seven Types of Rest: I spent a week trying them all. Could they help end my exhaustion?” I wasn’t surprised to find my most pressing need was Creative rest.

Speaking of Hurricane Ian, this list of ways to help is updated regularly.

These rice fields blew my mind! 

Iceland is already on my travel wish list, and this cracked me up

If you ever wonder what difference one person can make, check out this video of a man who planted a forest.

Happy Friday, everyone!