A not terribly fine balance?

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.

Happy 2022.

(my overachieving amaryllis)

  • Musette says:

    Sounds like you’re where so many of us are now: cautiously optimistic, yet aware of the possibility of drama.

    Congratulations on ending your toxic ! It will take a bit of time to sort that – it’s really not much different from a toxic personal relationship. Both take time to parse and come out the other side. Be kind to yourself.

    Give Joe a HUGE kiss from his Evil Auntie Anita. SO glad to know he’s on the mend.


    • cinnamon says:

      The end of the toxic is feeling like more of a big deal as the days go on. But it’s accompanied by this desire to do nothing much which I think relates to the disappearance of that particular constant stress. Gave Joe kiss. He did paw tap back at you.

  • Dina C. says:

    My area is in the midst of a big snowstorm today. It’s beautiful. I’m doing my annual deep cleaning of the household and mulling over goals. I’m longing to go on a beach trip this summer. Haven’t been to our favorite beach for almost 9 years. Want to sniff more scents. Help my young adult kids be their best selves. Hmm. Still tinkering…

    • cinnamon says:

      It’s raining here. A decent snow might actually be interesting … I hope the beach trip can happen. We really need distractions.

  • AnnieA says:

    Many years ago a phrase floated up from murky depths: I have no sympathy with self-induced wounds.

    It was when I was hearing the latest woes of a mutual acquaintance and it all seemed too familiar. It was not bad luck; it was, yet again, piss-poor judgment.

    That was grumpy! Slightly Les so is the wish that we have a year of less suckiness coming up.

    • cinnamon says:

      Yes, that. Interestingly it’s usually low slung BMWs that try to make it through the water. Electrics then fail and locals have to push car to church carpark where it can be picked up for salvage. Just desserts?

  • Portia says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    Yay that your dog is more like itself. Hope everything clears up and is brighter.
    Good luck with the new exercise. Jin and I went back to aquarobics this morning and our bodies are revolting against such outrage. Amusingly, so did my favourite swimmers. They split up the back halfway through and nobody told me till class was over and I was walking to the change rooms with my ass hanging out and the women in hilarious uproar.
    Cautious optimism seems sensible towards the new year. Me too.
    Portia xx

  • March says:

    Okay, in no particular order — SO GLAD the pup had an early intervention and sounds like he is on the road to recovery. Your comment about your awful client really resonated … my job is allegedly ending this Friday (no paperwork yet) and I’m relieved, it was stressful, but also a bit … out of sorts about it and sorting that out. I think decompression is called for here as well. Finally, the balancing thing was fascinating! I do NOT have a good sense of balance, and feel like it’s something I “should” work on, but right this second, things I “should” do beyond absolutes like paying my rent/utilities are not high on my list…

    • cinnamon says:

      I am hoping the holistic vet can give more of an insight into things. Good wishes on the work situation. I do think decompression needs to be given time to play out — ie, we don’t realise quite how stressful difficult work situations really were until we see the back of them.

  • Maggiecat says:

    I’ve been craving a return to Paris lately myself ( A larger undertaking from Dallas to be sure!). We have a river cruise planned for June that will not include France, but will nonetheless be wonderful – hoping its not cancelled again. Good luck with your plans (and congrats on getting rid of the toxic client)

    • cinnamon says:

      It’s been a number of years (thank you, covid) since I’ve had a real, proper, hotel-restaurants-deeply relaxing holiday. It feels very necessary. Indeed, hope your cruise happens.