Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cut the cord

So for all my bitching about how I hate yardwork and don't want to do it, I finally relented and between last night and early this afternoon, I got the yard completely mowed. Although I was sweating from every pore when I was done, it is done and now I can get off my case about it. Because here's the thing. I had a real "come to Jesus" moment today when it comes to the yard.

My name is Dan. My backyard looks like holy hell. AND I DON'T CARE.

There, I said it. I remember how owning the story of eating alone in college really helped me feel better about it, like I was finally able to get rid of the shame that was dogging me about it even twenty years later. I thought that perhaps, if I write a little bit here about my relationship with yardwork, something similar might happen.

I say I don't care about how the yard looks, and that's only half true. I do care, but I also don't. I fight a losing battle with it every summer, so much so that I'm sure people are sick of me complaining about it. Yardwork seldom gets done because I am constantly tired or working weird shifts or *insert excuse here*. I have this imaginary, mildly paranoid scenario that plays in my head that involves everyone in the neighborhood saying "dear God, WHEN is he going to mow?" When I do pick a day to do it, invariably, the weather sucks or I feel like crap because I'm in my day-off funk and then it doesn't get done. Again. I'm embarrassed by the overgrowth and don't want to have people over or anything because I hate how the backyard looks and what it says about me (BAD HOMEOWNER). So then I proceed to beat myself up over it and feel bad about it, which only causes me to be in even more of a funk that then makes me less likely to have the energy to go out and do it. It's not unlike the vicious cycle that seems to crop up in a lot of areas of my life over the last nearly 4 decades.

Well, I want to be done with that shit. Yes, the backyard was starting to look like the forest moon of Endor, but there is only so much I can do. In the grand scheme of things, it's much more important that I take care of myself than the yard. When it comes to a choice between those two things, I'm going to stop sacrificing my own mental and physical health for th
e sake of something I honestly don't even care that much about. I think a lot of this has to do with being male. Men are supposed to care about how their yards look. For Christ's sake, I should be out there making diagonal rows and spraying pesticide all over it so that it looks like Teletubby land with nary a weed in sight. A guy that doesn't go out and mow every weekend is someone that maybe you shouldn't trust. Or at least that's what my brain tells me.

I think part of the reason I have so spectacularly burned out this summer is because I haven't been taking very good care of myself, either physically or mentally. Oh sure, I've been going to the gym and that's going pretty well. I've fallen off the wagon
a time or two, but sometimes I swear the point of the wagon is to be there to fall off of. My weight is holding its own and I feel like cardiovascular-wise, I'm in much better shape than I was a few months ago. But I'm not sleeping well. And I'm doubling back at work and working long stretches. All this would be fine if I were taking care of myself, but I'm not. Mentally, I haven't been giving myself the time that I really need to recharge. This is what happens when I don't do that. I end up obsessing about something (the yard) that I really don't give one iota of shit about. I have plans to get to the bottom of this constant fatigue crap, but that's another post altogether.

In the end, I am happy that I got some of the yardwork done today. It does have to be done, but it doesn't have to rule my life. I managed to cut down most of the forest moon of Endor this afternoon (no Ewoks though) and this is what I was left with.

No, it still doesn't look great. The pavement cracks are teeming with life and I missed a few spots in the yard. I would have done more, but as per usual, I managed to slice through my extension cord with the hedge clippers.

The lack of an extension cord meant I couldn't get the weed whip out so nothing else got done. But hey, it's more than I thought I'd get done and now that I've helped (with the help of someone with the initials H and C) free myself from the guilt and shame of the yard, I'm not even that upset that I wasn't able to finish.

(Dad, can you fix my extension cord when you get back from Arizona??)

1 comment:

mary35 said...

I seriously never notice anyone's yard, whether it looks bad or good. I'm sure I would take care of a yard about as well as I maintain the cleanliness of the inside and outside of my car, which is not at all. Glad you're coming to terms with it.