Getting Lost and Trying to Get Home

Sunday, February 27, 2022

 Here we are, February 2022 (and believe it or not, tomorrow it'll be March!). It's been a long time friends. This post may not be as inspirational as my usual banter - it may even be a bit sad. I'll try to make the sad part quick so we can get to the happy ending. Everyone loves a happy ending, right?

I haven't put pen to paper this year. Until now...

I have been so incredibly lost and I'm trying to get home. You know that feeling when you're driving and realize you've somehow managed to get off course? Your heart rate increases. Your palms get sweaty as you grip the wheel tighter. You turn off the radio in hopes concentration alone will help the situation. That's how I felt in 2020. I felt like the entire year is nothing but a blur. We were in survival mode on so many levels. Cash flow was non-existent, the children were falling behind academically, and we didn't smile because no one could see our faces anyway. Life was full of uncertainty, turmoil, disgust, and fear. No matter where we went or who we spoke to, the unhappiness and heaviness seemed to surround us. Home became our sanctuary.

2021 was the opportunity for a new start - or so we hoped! Didn't we all hope for that? Things improved, but "normal" seemed so far away. Our youngest children didn't even remember a time when we would eat at restaurants or leisurely walk through stores in search of good deals. What they were familiar with was conversations and controversy surrounding mask wearing, vaccination status, politics, and they knew the adults around them weren't in agreement on oh so many things. Sometime during 2021 I got lost. I stopped talking to people. I stopped sharing ideas. I stopped inviting friends to do things for fear of making them uncomfortable. I started doing grocery pick up or Amazon delivery for absolutely everything. I didn't want to go out, talk to people, or engage in any activities I didn't "have to" for the sake of my family.

During 2021 I became so comfortable with my ever shrinking village that I considered hanging up any type of writing at all. After all, I couldn't possibly have anything worth sharing. I missed deadlines. Lots and lots of deadlines. Then it happened - I got a Christmas card saying the following:

Dear Crystal,

You are such an inspiration! 

I know it's been another rough year, 

but your posts are always so uplifting. 

Thank you for all your hard work. 

I am so grateful to have you as a friend and coworker...

I sat back and tears flooded my eyes and ran down my face. How could I possibly uplift others when just going to the grocery store or putting on pants was something I avoided? I was a fraud. Couldn't she see I was a fraud? Why would one of the smartest and most talented people I know think I was anything but a depressed hermit? 

It took a few days, but I went back and read many of my old posts. She was right - the stuff I had written wasn't half bad (I could definitely be better about editing, but that's not really my bag, but I digress). I made a vow to myself to get back to the person who wrote about positive self-talk. The person who encouraged herself and others. I vowed to get home. I promised myself I wasn't going to just throw in the towel. I wasn't going to be some washed up 'has been' sitting on my couch waiting to die surrounded by Amazon packages filled with books about people who were actually living. 

So - here I am... my compass is working and I'm on my way home! Please be patient - I didn't get lost quickly; it was a slow process and I expect the road home will take even longer. And now for the uplifting part - here's the takeaway: Had I not gotten that note, I really was ready to quit writing and sharing. The quick note of appreciation and encouragement from a friend was all I needed to get back on track. Just like someone driving in a strange city - some quick directions written on the back of a napkin can get them back to the freeway so they can continue journeying to their destination. I may still be lost, but I am going to be more mindful about sharing encouragement with others. It just takes a few moments to tell an author now touching their stories are. An email or a phone call can be life changing - we can all help someone get home!

As our time together comes to an end, let me ask you:

Do you have a funny story about getting lost on a road trip? Share it as a comment on this post!

Can you recall a time when someone's encouragement helped you? Share it as a comment on this post!

How are you weathering life? Tell us a little bit about your journey and where you are at? What's going on with you friend? Share it as a comment on this post!



About Today's Author:

Crystal is a foodie, farmer, and friend! She has 6 children and lots of special young people who call her "mom" even if she isn't 'their' mom! She starts each day sipping coffee and milking cows with the love of her life and occasionally ends the day with a glass of wine.  Crystal is raising kids and cattle while juggling cleaning jobs, bartending shifts, music gigs, her job as office manger and she escapes reality a few hours each week riding horses and reading books (not simultaneously)! And who knows, she may start blogging again sometime soon:

In the meantime, you can find her posting pics of food, cattle, and more on Instagram and Facebook


Renee Roberson said...

Crystal--I feel you. The past two years have impacted us all in a lot of different ways. For me, I buried myself into work so much that I'm rapidly approaching burnout with my current job, and I've been having a hard time writing new episodes for my podcast because I'm so anxious. I also became more of a hermit. I'll have days where I don't leave the house, other than walking around my neighborhood, and I really should, even if just to get out and go buy myself a coffee or stop by a bookstore. I'm trying to be more intentional now and set up in-person meetings for work and lunch or coffee with friends, but I feel it will take time for all of us to get back to a place of comfort. Hugs to you as you recognize how hard it's been and find your inspiration to write and connect with others once more.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I'm so happy the note from your friend was what you needed to hear. I'm so glad to see your post!

I laughed when you asked if we had funny stories about getting lost. A group of friends and I were 3 hours late getting home because we took a wrong turn. I knew which way we needed to go but no one would listen to me because of my horrible sense of direction. So we drove around and around Missouri back roads in the pitch dark.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Oh Crystal, I also feel you! The past two years have been rough, and last April after two dear family members I lived with passed away within an hour of each other (yes, I'm writing about it!), I knew I needed change. I'd been so afraid to get them sick because of their compromised immune systems, but after they passed away, I moved from the city to the mountains where people are super friendly and relaxed. They call it being on "mountain time," and it's been a refreshing change. If I didn't have writing to get through it all, I don't know what I'd do. We all have imposter syndrome from time to time, and most people don't comment on a post because they're busy, even when the post touches their heart; but I hope you know that your friend was right. :) Your posts have always been inspiring, and continue to inspire me. Cheers to a brighter year, my friend! xo Ang

Crystal Otto said...

Thanks Ang! Mountain Time sounds like a beautiful thing; I’m so sorry for your losses. Keep on writing!

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo said...

Just now seeing this. I'm so glad you found your way home and that you're blogging again, Crystal. Your posts always make me smile. :)

Michael R. French said...

Hi Crystal. I'm glad I was able to read this blog for the first time and learn more about your life. Thanks for sharing what sounds to me like the perfect journey for a writer--the beauty and value of adversity is never fully understood until after you get through it. I mean, then you get to write about it--another journey of courage--and reap even more insights to pass on to others.

Thank you again for having me on your WOW tour.

Michael French

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