I am feeling rather sad today. Maybe not sad... I'm not sure what the emotion is, really, nor can I pinpoint the cause.
Camp is happening. I freely admit I don't like camp. I accept that it is part of my job, and that it is useful for the campers, but I truly do not enjoy it. It takes almost all of my mental energy to figure out what to do to entertain and occupy children for 4 hours a day, four days a week, nine to eleven weeks a year. Part of it is that I don't really remember being a child, and what I do remember enjoying was, well, weird. I have, and always have had, odd interests. I didn't understand what makes other people tick then, and I don't understand it now.
Camp is also exhausting socially. I'm a pretty hardcore introvert, and interacting with people (even young people) drains my energy. I find regular school-year programs to be less exhausting, because they're less like a social interaction, and more like a performance. In two hours, they usually can't figure out how to press my buttons, and there's usually a teacher or parent there to keep the misbehavior in check. It is rare that I have a school group that can drain me like campers do.
The fact that I do Pageant doesn't help things, as it's another demand on social energy and time, but I really do love it. I am good at it, I enjoy being involved in a theater atmosphere, and it is something of a creative outlet. It is the one thing in the summer that I look forward to doing. It helps offset my camp dread.
I should never have given up theater. If I could go back in time and smack 17-year-old-me, I would. I loved it. I loved performing, I loved backstage work, I loved all of it, but I was convinced that I needed a sensible job and a sensible major and that theater was just too impractical for further study. Hotel management? HAH. As if there were something I was LESS suited to! I got three years into it before I realized how much I hated it. Parks and Rec management was my desperate attempt to graduate with something....ANYTHING. Ending up in the environmental ed field was equally as accidental. Work has consumed my life, and I still barely make ends meet. Hell, it took me 10 years to get health benefits, and I still coast into payday on fumes.
Today we had a staff meeting. We discussed something that would require a theatrical bent, and I felt such an unexpected whirl of glee. I felt hopeful. I felt excited. And it would have to be done by next Friday. It's a Pageant week, and a camp week. I can't do it. I would have loved to steer this project, but I just don't have the time or energy. Camp eats 90% of my brain and waking hours, and Pageant gets the other 10%. I had to decline. It broke my heart to do so.
Maybe I'm feeling regret. I try not to regret anything, but I think this is regret. It is a deep, pressing sort of feeling, a silent-tear feeling. I had something I loved, a passion, and I abandoned it out of fear. I have been a ghost for almost half a lifetime.
What have I done?