This was circulating on Facebook and I saved it last week because I thought it was appropriate. Terrible irony that it mentions suicide, but I'm still putting it here because it's still applicable.
This past week was a sad reminder of how important a hobby is. Something happened in my line of work that should have never happened and now someone no longer has their life. I wish I could provide more details and tell the full story but I can't for various reasons. I found it ironic that in the Chronicle of the Horse article I mentioned how much horses help me when it comes to my job and what it involves. I am by no means complaining, I love my job, but it's not easy and not everyone lasts in it. I don't know how people deal with it if they don't have a hobby.
I have written about this before, because I regularly have to attend training outside of work to remind me that I'm going to have vicarious trauma through my career whether I want to admit that or not. I just had this training in March, before that it was last September. Here is the post from last September about why hobbies are important. In those times it is also mentioned how important it is to have a hobby or something that takes you away from the thought of the job and the things it contains. For me, it's obviously horses.
Here is where these two things collide. Last Monday afternoon I was getting ready to tack B up when I got a phone call that started off with "What are you doing right now? You're not driving are you? Are you sitting down?" My heart jumped into my throat, I stopped what I was doing, I sat down, and braced myself. I'll never forget the next sentence, it was the notification of a suicide of someone I worked very, VERY closely with and knew very well. I'm not going to get into the details, because again, I can't for various reasons, but you have to know this part to understand the impact of the phone call and the point of this post. I know why it happened, and it is directly related to my line of work, my line of work caused it in a way. Honestly, I'm not sure what is worse, not knowing why, or knowing exactly why.
After I was done with that phone call, my mind reeling, not sure if I wanted to cry or throw up I thought, "do I get on this horse right now? Is this going to be fair to her? Am I in the right state of mind?" I decided that the best thing for me to do would be to get on the horse. I finished tacking B up, I put Apple Music on with a song I have been thinking about for a dressage musical freestyle, and I let all my goals and expectations for the ride go right out the window because it wasn't about that. It was about escaping.
For the time that I was riding I completely forgot about the devastating news I just received just 15 minutes prior. B and I had a great ride. This is what my hobby does for me. Even typing this and thinking about the phone call makes me feel physically ill. But B took all of that away in minutes just by being her. If I had been tacking Klein up it would have been the same result, there have been other situations along these lines that Klein has taken me far away from.
After I left the barn, I was in such a spaced out state I stopped at a four way stop for a few minutes because my mind was running through all of these thoughts associated with the person the news was about. All of a sudden I snapped out of it realizing I was at a four way stop and everyone was waiting on me. That's a first.
Can riding take these feelings away or make me forget about any of the details of this entire situation? Of course not, but a temporary escape is a massive help when it comes to dealing with it. So again, even if it's not riding, say it's hiking or video games, I don't care what it is, knitting, photography, coloring books, it doesn't matter, make sure you make time for it, always.