It’s been almost two years since my last post and why? 1. A large amount of busyness, and 2. I have at times become so scared by words, the self-defeating belief the story isn’t going anywhere – why bother? – that I’ve barely written a thing; only some occasional editing when I’ve managed to muster ever-decreasing enthusiasm. But could it be that I’ve simply hit the lowest rung on the heroine’s journey? That it’s do or die but I don’t think I can concede just yet. Then today, as I write, I’ve come to the realisation that I need this space more than ever now the teenager hides herself away with her ‘mum, you haven’t got a clue about this’ gadgetry and all I have to talk at is a 7 month old curtain-climbing floof.
So what happened after my last post in February 2021? I took up languid jogging again. I discovered the joys of bullet journaling. The home improvements continued with the installation of a new drive way and kitchen. I had a thankfully negative biopsy; I can’t recommend an injection and stitches in the side of the tongue. Some editing (not writing) did get done, even at 5am, but the intent faded over the course of the year owing to life, stuff, paying the bills and (see above) dwindling belief. Summer was very wet. Autumn was rather warm. She started secondary school. After several cancellations we finally made it to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a very belated 50th treat, and the best home made Gnocci, the softest potato dumplings, I have ever tasted at the Italian restaurant beforehand. Then, as the year drew to a close, our gorgeous ginger tom became suddenly and acutely sick…..
And so the beginning of 2022 we bade farewell to our lovely Biscuit. It was a tumour in the upper intestinal tract. At the end there was barely anything left of him; I could feel every ridge along his spine. He was put to sleep at home, in my arms, my daughter sat next to us stoking his fur. Afterwards she held him in a blanket and said goodbye. The first time I’ve made the (right) decision to end a sentient life and honestly, one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. He was our friend and companion. He was family. The saddest part; he was only five years old. But he was also at peace, in a long, beautiful sleep, no longer suffering, and when I imagine him now, I see him in his fullest, adventurous glory; the infamous mouse murderer and bird butcher of Croxley.
A few weeks after losing Biscuit, I ran my first and hilliest of half marathons with a group of running buddies. This is another tale of loss. The run was to raise money for the local hospice when a mutual friend and much loved figure in the local community died very suddenly from cancer the previous autumn. The languid jogging became a focused run, and we managed to raise about 10K. Loss reshapes you and for the most part, I haven’t stopped running since…..
In March I tried on Covid; I guess that was inevitable. Omicron was capricious with ever changing symptoms; chills, aches, fatigue, depression, gnarly thoughts and four unpleasant nights of pyjama soaking night sweats. And it didn’t go away. The fatigue, tight chest and mood swings hung around for weeks afterwards. I didn’t feel myself until mid May. I initially thought it might be the Long Variety but after some research I realised Covid had made my menopausal symptoms much worse and something I was thankfully able to rectify. But goodness, did the whole episode bite chunks out of my time and focus. How I feel for anyone struggling with this indefinitely, in awe of anyone coping with chronic ME.
And the rest of the 2022? After two years of piecemeal effort, the home transformation came to its conclusion; the lounge, hallway and bedrooms were repainted in various shades of greys, blues and greens, old furniture sold or given away and new bed frames, chest of drawers and wardrobes built. She finally had a teenager’s bedroom she could be proud of, her teddies of old piled into what she describes as The Avalanche. Then came a new kitten, a demolition enthusiast; and kitten decided that all the new sofas, curtains (fingers of light now shine through the holes in the black out lining), any fraying wall paper, were fair game. I ran a 10K race in central London; the novelty of running through Piccadilly and over Parliament Bridge while crowds cheered, music blasted from systems and live drummers drummed latin rhythms. Four beautiful woodland evening walks over the Summer Solstice. The exhilaration of outdoor swimming at the local lake. That heat wave. The Queen died. Another warm Autumn. And then I stopped….
Perhaps it’s age, perhaps it’s that stage of life but I couldn’t continue the relentless doing. I had to drop the full load and rest; all the goals, achieving, continuing professional development… dizzying, dizzying, overwhelming. It’s a wonderful thing to have vision, to have aspiration but it’s equally wise to lean into limitation and know when enough is enough. I had to turn down opportunities, shut doors in the name of radical self care. I know I am doing the right thing…
So 2023… well I guess it’s about a reset, the big rest after three very demanding years for all of us. Space, silence, intuition. Listening to the wind. Keeping the heating on low.
Or in the wise words of my daughter, chillax mother.