I'm in a funk. I think every January is hard, because it's boring. With a capital B! BORING!!!
September is all about the start of school and Autumn starting to crackle in the air. October is about harvest, Halloween and anticipation! November is all about the holidays settling in, the windows locked tight, and an obnoxious parade and turkey! December is the crowning jewel to the build-up with cookies, lights, decorations, parties, traditions, holidays, and the ringing in of a new year!
But January? January is that downer party-goer. January is the one who, just when everyone was having a great time, says "Gee guys. It's getting kinda late. I wanna go home and do laundry." Who invited January anyway!?!
So, I'm in a January-funk. It probably has something to do with having no daylight too, vitamin D levels, serotonin blah-blah, whatever. January stinks.
Add to that some changing dynamics here, and you get uber-January-funk. I think big changes are afoot, and that has the potential to throw everything out of whack too. We're considering the possibility that we don't want to live in Vermont any longer. That's a big thing for us, because we've been here for 15 years.
The truth is, however, that Vermont has never been a nice place to live from a people-perspective. As far as scenery goes, Vermont is one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived. Open spaces, mountains, rolling green hills, butterflies. It's like living in a post card. No, the real problem with Vermont isn't the land, climate, or nature; it's the people.
I have never adjusted to the Northeast attitude (or is it considered the Northeast New England Attitude? Because when I visit New York City, people are wonderful, it's just Upper NY/NJ/Vermont/New Hampshire/Maine/Connecticut - so far - that I have seen this.) When we moved in and introduced ourselves to our only neighbor, they said immediately that since they have lived here their whole lives that they had plenty of friends and family and didn't need to make any more friends, but hi. Not kidding. It was the perfect example of the stereotypical welcome up here "Hi, welcome to New England! Now go home! SCAT!" It was shocking, but I went home thinking maybe it was an isolated thing. It's not.
I, being a rather shy and introverted person, do pretty well on my own. So, I withdrew. I tried playgroups for my kids, but since I wasn't born and raised here the other moms had no interest in even learning my name. I tried for a while, but eventually I just went and sat in the corner and watched my daughter play for an hour and then took her home. There were days that not a single person spoke one word to me, even when I greeted them with a "Good morning!" whether at a social function like that, or simply at the check-out in the grocery store. I'm not exaggerating, and I'm not an unusual case (learning this part was essential, because a person can take being snubbed like that incredibly personally. It was a small relief to learn that they did it to every "outsider" who moves here.)
Once the kids were in school, I met a few more parents, but it was simply more of the same. It didn't matter how much I helped or didn't with projects and functions - I'm not from here, and they make sure to let you know it at every opportunity. I met a couple nice families, but it turned out they weren't from here either and eventually they sold their homes and left because of the "inhospitable nature" of people here. I'm actually watching it happen again to another newer family that's only been here a year. I've reached out to them, but we're a different sort than they need. So I'm friendly to them, and greet them, but some people are just not meant to be fast friends. I feel bad, because they need some of their types of friends, or they're gone. They're already talking about putting their house on the market and getting out of this "horrible state and its people."
Anyway, eventually I gave up. I don't try anymore. I tend to still try to smile at people who I meet eyes with, I still greet the person at the check-out counters and make polite conversation during the rare moments the person says anything back, but beyond that I've flat out given up.
Now that my children are older, I'm starting to see more of how this Vermonter attitude is detrimental to them. My daughter is a bright optimistic light and that seems to baffle a large chunk of them. My son is more introverted like me and takes things personally. In both cases, this "Vermont attitude" is harmful to them. More, the small town politics and nonsense where people feel they don't have to follow the rules that were set because they're related to so-n-so, or whatnot, is grating beyond belief. I floated the idea that this is everywhere, but my father pointed out that in a larger population less of that actually is successful because there are more people to push back and say "Hey, rules! Hellooooo?!"
Seeing the effects on my children has made me realize that I never acclimated to here, I gave up. I can do that, because my business is mostly online, and I paint in my studio at home. I don't HAVE to interact with people. But I'm not thriving here. The land is so beautiful, and I love the four seasons, but it's like a garden encased in glass and you can't get any fresh air. I can't breath here, and I haven't been breathing for a long time. Even introverted and shy people get lonely, and if there is one thing Vermonters excel at it's making sure you know you are on the outside and will never be let in. Giving up and accepting this doesn't mean you thrive and are happy.
I don't want my children to give up. I don't want them to think that this is the way people are.
I'm a bit ticked off at myself that I didn't catch on to this problem with the children earlier. We should have looked at changing our situation earlier, and I just sat here with my head in the sand, having given up and oblivious.
So. Big changes are afoot. Possibly. It may not be an option to move for a while, given the economy and job market. Logistics are a big thing too, this is one big complicated issue. But now, we are finally waking up to the fact that things are not good here. This has been a year long process, I think, and part of the reason that last year was just a bad year for us. I think it was this sick underlying current that tainted everything else, so that when a little something went wrong it felt far worse than it actually was.
This taint and these things starting to swirl in my world are creating the biggest of January funks.
OK. That's out. Sunshine and daisies on order for tomorrow. I promise!