Last Wednesday, on my morning walk, I noticed that the local creek was nearing the top of its banks. This seemed an apt metaphor for where we are moving into a new year: maybe all will be well and a few days of no rain will mean no issues with flooding in the village; maybe we’ll get more rain, the creek will burst its banks and run across the main road (causing issues for traffic into town and back to the coast) maybe flooding the main road into the village, meaning people who are stupid enough will try to drive through and wreck their cars in the process.
One of the things I will say looking into the new year is I have lost empathy for people who wantonly behave in a stupid manner. You can take from that sentence what you want.
The end of 2021 turned out to be very trying (and worrying) in a number of ways. But by the last few days of the year I was very very cautiously hopeful about life going forward.
A bit over a month ago the dog had emergency surgery. A huge thank you to the local vet who noticed something wasn’t right. I’d taken him in because he had a weird cough and seemed uncomfortable. She checked him and then for some reason checked something else. Then, she picked up her head and said “I’m not happy about this. Can you get into our main location so he can have a sonogram?” Anxiety ratcheted up and off we went. He got seen immediately and had surgery the next day. Two weeks of awfulness. Then, labs came back sort of ok and he started to act more like himself. This week I’ve got a telephone consult with a naturopath vet recommended by a friend so that I can support him via both orthodox medicine and complementary care – just like I do with me: I take drugs but also access acupuncture, osteopathy and myofascial release.
On 28 December, I did my last shift supporting the impossible client. After six years of serious unpleasantness, I felt … confused. Relief, but also something like decompression that is going to take a while to play out. This is a company whose systems never work well and where there was a tendency to blame anyone else for problems. Toxic. Seriously toxic. I am glad to see the back of them.
So, seeing into this new year.
The osteopath gave me a strange exercise which for me is incredibly challenging – to such an extent that I couldn’t even try it in full till last Wednesday morning: I am supposed to balance on one leg and move things around in front of me (ie, pick up bottle, move elsewhere, pick up again, move elsewhere). Doing this is so much a metaphor for my being right now. It appears to be simple but I have a lot of trouble actually doing it.
I would like to be able to comfortably do ‘stuff’ this year – even if still wearing a mask. I’ve been to restaurants which was ok but not really done anything else except ride trains when I’ve had to. Of course, I’ve been shopping but that’s mostly been a quick in and out. 2020 and 2021 were not for lingering. There’s a local food festival in the spring that was cancelled over the past two years. Fingers crossed it will happen this April or May. I will go and wander among the stalls, eat lovely and interesting things, buy whatever I fancy, sit in the sun drinking a hot chocolate or some fancy soda. I will go to exhibits at museums and wander (all still masked).
Post finishing the toxic client it’s going to take a few months to get a sense of what my earnings are like. I have mostly gotten my head round being very careful for the next six months – not so much so I miss out on things I want to do but more understanding to the largest extent possible my new fiscal reality – ie, how do I now balance the wants and needs of life?
So, that’s where I am right at the beginning of this new year, sitting in a gentle cloud of layered Lutens Arabie and Tauer Sundowner. It’s better than Madeleine over Sundowner but the cumin in the Arabie just dominates.
I don’t do resolutions, but I do gather ideas and make tentative plans looking into a new year. I’ve noted a few things above. In addition to those I would like to travel. I want to go to Norfolk in the UK (we went years ago on a flying visit – I want to return for longer to eat great seafood, wander the small villages, walk on Holkam beach out as far as the horizon). I want to go to Paris. I want museums, the architecture, to ride up to the observation deck on the Eiffel Tower, to ride the metro, to wander aimlessly, to eat macaroons sitting on a bench in a park, to do copious window shopping (and maybe a bit of the concrete type too). It’s actually easier to get to Paris from here than Norfolk even thought the latter is in the UK (two trains vs a six hour drive).
Looking into this year, I am very cautiously hopeful.
I wish us all good health (be safe still!); periods of being productive but also quiet times for relaxation and contemplation; the chance to do things – new or those missed during the pandemic; good food and time outdoors; focus and aimlessness; and acts of wanton anarchy to celebrate life – whatever that may mean to you.
(my overachieving amaryllis)