This time of year is always a moment to pause for reflection before the hectic pace again resumes. I entered the 2021 Christmas period with a sense of exhaustion in every sense, not because the year had been especially intense for me, it had not. I know people for whom the year, actually the last two years, has been life-changing. Employment and housing insecurity has become a new reality for people who have never before had to face such insecurity. I am fortunate, I have employment, a home and supportive relationships, not everyone is so lucky. To be honest I don’t really need much to feel content and I have all that I need.
I worry about family for lots of different reasons at the moment but covid is a big one, with vulnerable family members, that is the one spectre that really haunts. The truth is, that if someone is vulnerable to the infection, then through no fault of their own the disease can kill, even if they are double vaccinated and they contract only a mild case. I sometimes think some people have forgotten the vulnerable in our community. I sometimes think we have forgotten community.
B nearly lost it with a customer at work, just before Christmas, when she asked her to wear her mask and they refused with the statement “well if you are vaccinated it shouldn’t matter if you catch it”, her response was “no it probably won’t matter to me, but I could still spread it to my grandfather in hospital and it would be a death sentence for him”, fortunately, another member of staff pulled her away before she could say more. Public health measures are not about curtailing your freedom, they are about protecting the vulnerable. I am always impressed with the team B works with, they have each others back and they support each other. The stories I have heard about working in retail this year have been horrifying. Next time you are buying groceries chat with the checkout staff about what it has been like for them.
Reflecting on the end of 2021, I have learnt how important it is for me to maintain my survival strategies. I need boundaries to protect myself from the Strum and Drang of life, I need routine and I need a degree of solitude. So I guess I am using this period to reflect on what I need, to be the best I can be, in this environment. In 2021 I let my personal discipline erode somewhat. My days seemed to stagger between work and home, I stopped escaping to the bush as often as I needed. Instead of reading, I would often indulge in mindless doom scrolling or scrolling through social media, mindless engagement not mindful. The end result was that sense of exhaustion that permeated my very core. I want to ensure that does not happen in 2022.
In 2022 I will get back on that disciplined track I need to be able to fully functional. I will take the breaks I need when I need them, I will go bush regularly. I will make sure I stick to my morning routine of reading and journal for an hour, no scrolling in that time at all, or work!!! I am re-establishing my swimming routine, a minimum of three days a week but aiming for 5. I know that diet can adversely affect my mood so I am ensuring I always take healthy snacks, to avoid giving in to stress snacking on junk food. I have already started to put boundaries around toxic situations, life is too short for that crap. I am using this week to re-establish those good habits and enter the new year with a positive outlook and a clear strategy going forward. These are not resolutions as such, but a reflection on what I know I need to do and a statement of intent.
The one thing I do resolve to do is to stay engaged with the blog and with reading. Do you have new year’s resolutions? Or do you prefer to just quietly reflect on the changing of the year?
Let’s make 2022 a great year. A year of kindness and care. A year for the natural world that needs us to speak up for it. A year to find and share wonder and joy wherever and whenever we can.