At the beginning of 2015, full of hope, I made myself a Gratitude jar. I expected to fill it through the course of the year with little slips of paper naming the things that had made me glad and grateful each day. The “fragile equilibrium” of 2014 (https://itsmotherswork.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/nurture-1415-fragile-equilibrium/) would surely become the stable baseline of 2015, and the solid foundation on which my year could build?
And so the year started.
But, when I came to empty the jar this week, it was only about one third full.
My Gratitude had dried up, sometime around May. And with the exception of a little note from DH in October, which I’d added to the pile, I’d had nothing fresh to file under “gratitude” for seven months. It’s not that there had been nothing to be grateful for in all that time, just – I guess – that I’d stopped making gratitude my attitude. But why?
I was just so damned tired. Not just physically tired, or mentally tired, but deeply, existentially tired. Tired of making the best of things; tired of finding the happy in things; tired of looking for the good in things; tired of optimism; tired of hope. Tired.
I was probably already that tired at the end of 2014. I just had the wilful blindness of Wile. E. Coyote, continuing to run long after the cliff edge has disappeared. Nothing particularly awful happened to me in May 2015, it was just the moment at which I metaphorically looked down and realised that I didn’t have the ground underneath my feet any more. That I was falling, and flailing, not flying. Instead of my energy coming back as I’d expected it to when the days lengthened, I found that had to choose to run on empty, or not run at all.
It turns out that I am quite the phenomenon. That I can run for a very, very long time with a perilously low fuel gauge. That I can think about how to stop, and plan how to stop, and make arrangements to stop, and still not stop. I’d make an excellent end-of-level boss in one of my 10yo’s video games.
Despite a really low year, I tried hard at my five goals for 2015:
1) I made it through the dark months, and I stayed kind to myself. (It’s just that the energy didn’t come back).
2) I didn’t maintain the journal. So, I suppose that gives me some clean pages for 2016.
3) 2015 was about work. And it’s become a battle about the way that I do it. Oh well. It’s the right ground to be fighting on.
4) Yes. Despite everything, I really do think I’m managing to feed the family better, in every way.
5) Yes. I did get away. In a planned way. Twice. And I came back again. I think these are the little top ups that stopped me rattling to a halt completely.
As 2016 looms, I don’t feel strong, and I don’t feel I have an equilibrium, but I do have clarity. I have only one goal this year. To fill my jar.