Day 139 – journalling, blogging, family gatherings… how to begin

07:40 A diary/journal is definitely different from a blog. I’ve been having a hard time with diary-writing lately because my diary/journal has always been a place where I purge my most negative thoughts.  “So and so did this and so and so did that and I can’t stand it/them.” Or “I did this and I did that and I can’t stand it/myself.”

It’s not pretty. It’s horridly ugly actually; but it’s relieving. And transforming. By admitting my worst thoughts, I can get through them and see the darkness in myself and others, then accept that darkness, thus transforming it, and moving through it.

In the past year, blogging has taken over diary writing. In blogging it’s hard to know what to leave in or out. A balance between truth and privacy (and respect for others’ privacy). It’s hard to switch tracks from purge-mode to public mode.

So many things I want to write about last weekend. For two-three days our already over-crammed house was crammed with 3-10 more people. They have now left and more may be on the way.

This has always been a love-hate part of the summer for me. We live in a place that is en route from the northern countries to the Med. We have a lot of family living in the north. Everyone loves to drop by here. I do love to see them but I get stressed about hosting them. Very few want to make plans as to when they may be coming. I also don’t like to commit to anything myself. The result is a constant trickle of people dropping in, and thus extra responsibilities, during the only two months of the year that I otherwise would theoretically have less duties to perform. 

During the school year life is busy. I act as taxi driver, private counsellor, personal shopper, cleaner, organizer, cook, homework tutor, volunteer in the community, property manager and other things. Though some folks dread having the kids home 24/7 I am mostly relieved when summer holidays start. Finally I don’t need to herd the cats-I-mean-kids to so many places that neither they nor I want to go.

The summer is also the time when we try to further renovations on the house. We live in an old stone farmhouse, and the maintenance/renovation never ends. Summer’s the best period to do it since the weather is dry and warm for long periods of time. In the winter it’s cold, and often wet.

What I would love is to now be “on retreat.” I love the way the monastics at the monastery we visited do it. They open their doors to families for one half of the summer; the second half, they close their doors and they withdraw and refresh themselves (and probably, catch up on work that needs doing). I have dreamed of doing something like this at our place, but have never succeeded so far.

This year I did send out communications to the family threads, starting very early this year, putting out feelers about coordinating a group holiday or meet-up on one weekend. I thought it’s much better (for me) if we have everyone here (or meet them somewhere else, like a campground or something) at once. But no one replied, I didn’t push it and I didn’t build it, so nothing got arranged. 

I know what the answer to all this is, it’s very simple (in theory): “If you build it, they will come.” Ideally I would plan a big family party on one weekend of the year, put out a message saying that is the weekend we’re available, and for the rest of the summer we are “on retreat.”

But I care about what people think (and I care about people). So I think of all the things they will think about me “so selfish! What if we can’t make it then!” Or “On retreat! Who says that! Lol.”

The fact is, yes, I would be selfish to do it that way. And I would also be perfectly within my rights to do it that way. The fact is, they are selfish as well. They (the ones who like to just drop by) prefer not to commit either, just like me. We all are selfish, in one way or another. 

But if we do things in a way that pleases us, while attempting to still keep open arms to all the people, I think we are doing beautifully. No matter what anyone says. I am certainly not there yet, though.

I don’t like to commit to anything, and I don’t want to take on responsibility for (more) things/people, either. The idea of having my entire family for a weekend… well.  Whenever I start out planning this, I think of all the amazing family gatherings that other family members had, after which of course every detail was discussed by the rest of us. “Grass too spiky for tents. Too many wasps near the pool.” (Lol!!!)

But the people willing to be criticized made the events actually happen. They would not have happened without those people! And guess what? It gave us in the peanut gallery something to chew for the next ten years or a lifetime. It’s all we laugh and talk about now when we get together.

It’s like anything else, including writing or blogging or staying free from alcohol (or other toxins one chooses to be free from). You start out not doing it, because the possibility of doing it wrong and failing is overwhelming. So much to organize (family gatherings). So much to write about (blog/journal). So much life to get through (without alcohol/other thing). How to begin.


09:03 Had to go down and have an ACDC intervention. The apes-I-mean-kids are going wild with Alexa and the stereo. Definitely have to get back to waking up earlier.


But about how to begin… guess it’s like this post. I mostly didn’t know how I would do it. I just started doing it. Very, very imperfectly.



Edit 2019-08-15: Title corrected from “Day 138 to “Day 139”

7 thoughts on “Day 139 – journalling, blogging, family gatherings… how to begin

  1. Morning! Maybe put a couple dates out there for family to pick from for a big family get together. Possibly that could lighten the amount of consistent people that keep dropping in? ( Hopefully they would respond.) I host everything here, family gatherings, all holidays, people out of town…it’s overwhelming at times! Good luck because its so very hard to find middle ground!
    Also-AC/DC Thunderstruck is now in my head for the day! 😃
    Have a good day chic-a-Dee! 🌺

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a hard one! We never have here, because no one wants to visit! Lol
    When the once a year two people come, I can handle 2 days!
    🤦🏻‍♀️I’d never make it!

    But I do think that’s a lot to ask of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the vote of solidarity, Wendy — I think I needed this! By day 3 I am usually teetering on the brink of insanity, no matter how much I love the person/people (– which makes me feel terrible about myself and my own “selfishness”)! It’s getting a tiny bit easier now that the children are older though. Also I’m finally, finally learning how to let go a little and let people take care of themselves more, while they are here. (No matter how much people tell you to do this, you don’t do it till your “life has become unmanageable,” lol ;))

      Thanks again Wendy, your words felt like a hug which I sorely needed 🤗💗

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a dilemma knowing how much to write about others isn’t it? I’ve become much less accommodating to others as I’ve gotten better at looking after myself – really recognise your mixed feelings about visitors – it’s hard work how ever much yup like them! I’d definitely keep some time for retreat next year if you can ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love this, another verbal hug… thank you dear dgs. Man it really is hard, knowing how much to say. When I started this post all I wanted to do was complain. I did complain, but not about the people this time. Yet. Lol.

      I had such a “social small talk hangover” on Monday. It was absolutely brutal. And yet I really do love these people. It was particularly wonderful to see their kiddos though. Next time I think I’d try to focus more on kid activities. If I can scrape up the energy.

      I always love hearing from you. Really truly appreciate your comments. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    2. p.s. and yes! retreat time. ❤️Have been thinking a lot about the logistics of it. Maybe offering a two-week open house period. The rest of the time, “unavailable due to work.” (There are all kinds of work. Including internal. But have to speak a person’s language. ;)))

      Liked by 1 person

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