I’m unfortunately crawling along down deep in the dumps these days, but I am doing everything I can to climb back up. One of those things is to get outside and move – I think what kicked this depression off was not being able to run after Sun Mountain due to a little injury – I really need to get back into it, because it’s what makes up the difference between Ingunn as a useless lump and Ingunn as a fully functional, content human. Another thing is to be mindful, and to take notice of life around me (versus just counting down the hours until I can go to bed).
The new Story Kit, Learn, prompted me to combine these two things. We were going on a family hike – nothing big, just wandering as far as we felt like on the PCT south from Snoqualmie Pass (we turned around at Beaver Lake instead of hiking all the way to Mexico), and I decided to actively seek out life lessons from the day.
Nora came prepared with her very own map, and she would stop at regular intervals to check said map and make sure we were in the right place. I love this kid.
She is just wonderful in general. See, it’s so frustrating to go through depression as a parent – not only is it difficult because I can’t just take a mental health day off, but there’s also this guilt that comes along with objectively seeing how amazing my life is and how lucky I am, yet here I am not wanting to get out of bed in the morning.
Luckily, depression doesn’t mean that I can’t feel happiness – this day was so good. These ups keep me going through the downs.
Oh, and here’s a bonus life lesson that didn’t make it onto my scrapbook page: all this rain comes with a silver lining – mushrooms! Nora found her first king bolete! She was so proud.
And just like rain brings with it delicious mushrooms, these gloomy times of mine have silver linings as well – mindfulness, intense empathy, and deep appreciation of the good, little things in life.
I scrapbooked this using the Learn Story Kit, of course, since that was the prompt of this little experiment. I love, love, love the photo of me and Nora, so I enlarged it and added one of the digital stamps from the kit as my title.
I kept all my journaling on page two, divided into the different life lessons:
Everything is a phase // I’ve always tended toward all-or-nothing thinking, so when things change for the worse, I immediately assume that OHMIGOD LIFE WILL BE LIKE THIS FOREVER. But parenthood has taught me that life is full of transitory stages that feel endless when you’re in them (morning sickness, inconsolable newborns, tantruming toddlers), and that they do in fact end and life goes back to being pretty damn awesome. The tantrumorama of this morning did not, as I immediately feared, ruin the day. This too shall pass, and that includes this current phase of life where depression is doing its damnedest to take hold again.
Just get outside // Hiking is my number one antidepressant, but it’s hard to take your meds when you’re in the thick of things. But it’s pretty clear that everyone, young and old, feels better outside. Troubles melt away and bodies relax. Wifi is replaced with mountain views and fall colors and family songs. Muscles warm up and lungs fill with fresh air and endorphins course through our bloodstreams, leaving us high on life and blissfully tired.
Skills are built, not born // Nora has been working on finding her trail legs since she first hit Tiger Mountain at ten days old. There have been a lot of stumbles and missteps, but she gets back up and keeps on going. (At one point today, she stopped and said “last time I fell off a rock here and started crying and threw my sunglasses!” – that was a year ago! How does she even remember that?) You can’t keep harping on your kids to keep practicing yet tell yourself that you are useless and untalented and uncreative because you lack certain skills. You just need the courage to work on those skills.
Be true to yourself // Nora’s hiking fashion picks of today included unicorn pants, a rainbow tutu, and a badge from a tech conference in 2016, and she wore it all with pride. Don’t worry that you are not fitting into someone else’s narrow view of what life should look like. Do what works for you and your family.
The journey matters more than the destination // Today we didn’t even have a destination! We just set off south-bound on the PCT and moseyed along, picking mushrooms and berries and enjoying each other’s company. Nora found her first porcini and she was so proud. Be present. Be mindful. Don’t let life pass you by while you struggle to find the summit.
I used embossed number stamps along the side, then gelatos to create little watercolor blobs around them. (I used too much water around number one and kind of messed it up, but whatevs.)
I added a 6×12 photo pocket in the middle with four extra photos. In the center pocket I attached that great wood veneer “life lessons” piece to some vellum, and on the back I put some lyrics from a song that was stuck in my head during the hike: Springa by Ane Brun. (It’s from a new movie about Astrid Lindgren that I am just dying to see!)
I didn’t include the photo of Nora with the bolete, because it occurred to me that I’ve never scrapbooked about the fact that we love to forage for mushrooms! So I’m saving that photo for a future page full of…fungal fun. I can sneak my silver-lining-of-rain life lesson onto that page instead.