They say that a week is a long time in politics. It also seems that a week can be a long time in December. The thoughts & feelings that I had last Thursday seem a lifetime ago, almost unrecognisable to how I feel today. That is not to say that either last week’s or this week’s emotions are better or worse, or that either are somehow more true than the other; one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is that changing moods or feelings are not a dichotomy of false consciousness/reality, but just different perceptions that are an inevitable, unstoppable (and at times even desirable) part of life – life and our reactions to it change as surely as the moon passes through its lunar cycle. We wouldn’t dream of trying to interfere with the moon’s natural course and trying to stop our life changing is as futile as trying to keep the full moon from becoming a crescent once again.
Remember the word lists that you used to have to learn at primary school? Mine for last week would have read something like: haven, comfort, cosy, wool, fairy lights, clear nights, ritual, routine, hibernation, nostalgia, timelessness, the past. For this week, this list changes to: trapped, escape, freedom, wanderlust, fresh, clean, purge, fog, cleanse, rejunvenation, angsty, new year.
The news of a death – the death of someone whose Christmas card is still stood on the shelf next to me as I write – before I began this post served as a further reminder of the futility of trying to stop change. Instead we need to roll with it, embrace it as effortlessly as the seasons impercetibly shift from one to the next, because none of us know what day will be our last.
This post may seem a little disjointed and fractured, perhaps reflecting the mental impact of eating my own weight in confectionary since the last post. Maybe the nature of the post reflects the difficulties I still have in accepting the changes that are part and parcel of life. Knowing something and actually being able to do it are very different things. But as it is nearly the end of one year and the beginning of another, I have a little ritual that may help. Before every New Year’s Eve, I look back at my journal for the last New Year and reflect on what’s happened since. Have I achieved my aims and plans for the year? What else has happened that I’m proud of or enjoyed? At the same time, plans emerge for the coming year: what am I doing with my life? Where do I want to go? We may not be able to fully control the direction in which our life is going, but I like to have a few ideas that might provide help or guidance along the way – even if that idea is as simple as finish knitting a cardigan.
So I hope that by the time I return to write another post, the fog will have lifted and I will be able to see the path before me a little clearer. In the mean time, if you’ve read this and know the kinds of feelings that I’m wrestling with – if you share this kind of malaise and introspection – then may I suggest a film that speaks to this condition: Stranger than Fiction. I think sometimes we all feel like Harold Crick.