itching for change

Does anyone else feel like this right now? I feel so itchy. I want a change of some sort. I’m at the start of a new term, and classwork isn’t heavy yet. It’s spring—a weird in-between that currently is bringing greenery but not enough sun and warmth. It’s raining and grey, and I want to be outside. Work is busy, of course, but not hectic. Is it weird that I kind of like hectic? I love a long to-do list, even when I can’t tick everything off. Maybe especially when I can’t tick everything off.

I’m trying to be more mindful of money and stuff, what I do and don’t do with those things, how I respond to stressors by using those things. Wanting change makes me want to buy something to make it all feel better. “I need a new set of paints!” I tell myself, when the paints I have are sitting on my non-work desk, waiting for me to use them. “That handmade paper will make my painting so much better!” my brain shouts, when I’ve got a box of paper waiting to be used. “I need a new book!” when I’ve already got multiple books in progress. Oh, and I start perusing the internet for cameras that I don’t need (I’m barely using the ones I have). Art supplies. Online classes. A new hobby. Clothes. A haircut.

I don’t love that I look to outside sources to fill these holes, but I do, and I don’t think I’m alone. I think it stems from my youth, when money was so tight and those little extras were rare (but always celebrated and appreciated). I sometimes feel like I deserve them now, these little treats. But amassing more stuff while not using what I have? That’s not what I want. I used to marvel at people who said they felt bored. But, here I am, bored with my very existence and wanting change.

Last summer, in a small burst of creativity, I used a bunch of Cokin filters with a roll of color film, mostly taking photos on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Bold color filters and a super-speed filter (a chunky prism-looking thing that distorts half the frame, evoking movement). I love the muted colors in this image and the bright line created by the sun.

What I can do, I think, to appease this itch and make use of this weird energy:

  • Read the books I have
  • Make art with the supplies I have (I do not need more!)
  • Unsubscribe from emails to retailers that keep offering discounts on things I don’t need (I can always resubscribe later)
  • Use the cameras and film I have (and experiment more with the filters I have, because… fun)
  • Write a list every day and put the little, non-work things on it (make one postcard, read one poem or chapter, do this one self-care thing, etc.)
  • Declutter and offer things I’m not using to others who want or need them
  • Explore this feeling in writing (hello, ignored blog)
  • Cook more (and no, I don’t need any new pans or baking dishes or serving bowls thankyouverymuch)

These things sound fair, and doable, and smart if I do say so myself. And, since I drafted this post early yesterday, I even took a lunchtime paint break and made myself bookmarks for my class reading. I also used my favorite dutch oven, a pretty green Staub, to cook dinner—a one-pot cheesy lemon-ricotta pasta dish my daughter turned me on to.

So, do you feel like this right now, too? Are you exploring or ignoring that feeling? What are you doing to work with it?

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