New Year, Renewed Me, New Projects

I really enjoyed my Christmas break!

It was obvious back in the Autumn that it was going to be a strange one and that any plans might be scuppered at short notice by restrictions being imposed or lifted.

My son, being Muslim, doesn’t celebrate Christmas and, as Head of Triage in the IT department of a multinational company, had volunteered to be ‘on call’ on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in case a computer glitsch stopped the cash flowing. That meant he couldn’t come to see me – my broadband is not good enough! I knew I was welcome to go there and that he always cooks a huge meal for the extended family. However my daughter-in-law is terrified of dogs which makes visiting complicated.

My daughter was planning how to spend the first Christmas in her new home with her 2 teenage kids and since her husband believes me to be the source of most of his woes, ‘putting her up to it’ and misses no opportunity to tell the kids how evil I am and that it is my fault the family has broken, it seemed wisest that I not be in the mix this year.

Being on my own for the festive period held no fears for me. The infection that proved the last straw for John began on a Christmas Day and he died early the following January. The next year I decided not to inflict my misery on anyone else and refused all offers to join others. Since then I have mostly stayed home alone though I have sometimes accepted invitations to lunch with local friends. There was a debate about whether I would go to my daughter’s on Boxing Day when her 2 would be at their Dad’s and maybe we would drive over to my son’s. In the end the Welsh lockdown and then the English one kept us all apart.

However I had formed a plan! I did the bulk of my shopping, including for food, booze and chocolate, early. I promised myself a ‘staycation’ from Christmas Eve until the 4th of January when everyone would be back at work. During that time I would only do essential housework and no gardening. I got plenty of books from the library and bought some from charity shops. I also made a list of projects I wanted to at least start but kept not making time for.

Just after Boxing Day I got the weirdest sensation – that I had shrunk! A quick check showed that physically I was the same height as always and if anything slightly wider – well booze and chocolate do that to you! But I felt the same size as my Aunty Megan who was 5 feet nothing and skinny with it. It took a few days to work out that I had lost confidence in trying new things or ‘having a go’. It wasn’t my body which had shrunk but my sense of self. I think that all the restrictions have meant that my world has shrunk and whilst I have been busy in the garden and house it has been maintaining what is already there rather than doing new things. Partly I think it was feeling that if I started something and it went wrong it would be harder to get someone to help me put it right. In addition I haven’t been on a course to learn a new skill for ages so there was nothing new to practice having been shown how to do it once.

That seemed to explain the projects which had stalled when I got to a tricky bit or one requiring decisions as well as the ones I never started. I get lots of inspiration from reading all your posts, my head is full of ideas but can I actually do them?

In one of those nudges the Universe sends my way from time to time one of the non-fiction books I had got for my holiday reading was ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes recommended to me by my new tenant, Laura. It isn’t an easy read – she is a storyteller and Jungian psychoanalyst of Mexican birth but raised by Hungarian foster parents in the USA. The slightly odd English mixed with bits of analytic theory are – um – interesting! But I have found what she has to say very interesting and enlightening. Particularly the chapter on why we procrastinate!

I am still trying to determine which of my 4 legged companions chewed the cover! Lucky it is my own copy!

A ‘good talking to’ was required so I went and did some yoga stretches to pull myself up straight instead of being rather crumpled and then gave myself one.

I recognised that on my break I had taken the time and trouble to cook nice meals and that I had previously rather got into the habit of leaving it to the last minute to decide what to eat so that it had to be quick and easy. So I started to cook my main meal at lunchtime. I am usually indoors in the mornings so I can combine cooking with another job whereas in the afternoon I am often in the garden and don’t want to bother taking my boots off and coming in to start a meal. I also browsed my cook books and recipe file noting things I hadn’t made for a long time. Food is now a lot more interesting!

I also reviewed all the stalled projects and realised that most could be finished quite quickly if I just stopped faffing about and dithering. One big one which has been going on for over a year, partly because of shops not being open, will be another post but I finished making a pair of slippers for my daughter (yet to be posted as the roads have been icy) and turned some granny squares into a cushion cover. Another lot of squares are mostly edged and I have worked out the placement but have run out of the yarn I am using for edging and joining so no more can be done until the market reopens.

I now feel back to my normal size (with a little extra for self-indulgencies!) and having ‘cleared the decks’ am ready to start on new creative projects. My next post will be scrap-happy which will be presents I made but I hope to be able to regale you with more new things soon.

14 thoughts on “New Year, Renewed Me, New Projects

  1. Laurie Graves January 12, 2021 / 5:35 pm

    Bravo, bravo! What a wonderful post. I think many of us have felt diminished during this time of the pandemic. Also, you must deal with Brexit while we are dealing with mobs attacking the Capitol. It’s been quite a year, to say the least. I really enjoyed hearing how you worked through the diminishment. One of the phrases of encouragement I say to myself on a regular basis is that I find my way. It might take a while. Sometimes, a long while. But I get there. And, it sounds like, so do you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales January 13, 2021 / 11:05 am

      Luckily I rarely stay out of sorts for long. I like ‘I find my way’ and might adopt that! MY phrase is ‘What’s the worst that can happen if I get this wrong?’ – it usually reminds me that the consequences of failing are not life threatening!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie Graves January 13, 2021 / 2:59 pm

        And I might have to adopt “What’s the worst that can happen if I get this wrong?” Yes!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. June Lorraine Roberts January 13, 2021 / 12:02 am

    Congrats to you and staying put for the holiday…especially given the son-in-law. Some great wisdoms here to boot…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tialys January 13, 2021 / 1:53 pm

    A perfect description of what isolation and lockdown can do. I’m glad you’ve recognised it and pulled yourself out of it. I can only imagine what damage, psychologically, this virus is doing to the more vulnerable. Keep running with those wolves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales January 15, 2021 / 2:21 pm

      I will!


  4. nanacathy2 January 13, 2021 / 2:37 pm

    Oh how I know that feeling- in my case it’s been creeping up on me for years. Then we moved house and the full of horror of stalled, not even started projects became apparent, usually because something looked a bit difficult. Then I started to write morning pages and what a godsend they have been, and the stalled list is being tackled, along with the things I never tried- so far this year, one quilt completed, one Chinese style meal cooked and eaten with chopsticks, and tonight I will cook a pizza from scratch because I never tried before.
    Sorry to read that you couldn’t see family this year, it’s a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales January 15, 2021 / 2:23 pm

      I hope you enjoyed your pizza! It is easy to put off tricky things but I am glad that now the move is out of the way you are feeling like trying new things. Those morning pages seem to have helped you a lot. We each find our own way through.


  5. onesmallstitch January 14, 2021 / 12:19 am

    so happy to hear you are back to your normal size. Great post, we all get in a confused state at times, you managed to “get a grip” very well – without the support of family. That son-in-law sounds best avoided, hope your daughter and her kids are o.k. My phrase is “this too shall pass”. Not sure I’m ready for “Women Who Run…” yet, although I’ve meditated with my “wild woman”. Spring is on the way!


    • Going Batty in Wales January 15, 2021 / 2:27 pm

      My daughter has escaped from her soon-to-be-ex but he is stalling on the financial settlement and finalising the divorce just because he can! She is OK-ish but traumatised and the kids are struggling with their teenage emotions plus the break up but I am sure they will all emerge OK in the long run! They are getting support from me, my son and some professionals.


  6. The Snail of Happiness January 14, 2021 / 12:48 pm

    I think we are all feeling the effects of the past year. Well done for pulling yourself together and making progress with your creativity. I really miss interacting in person with other creative people, but as you say reading blog posts helps (although I think we’ve all been finding it difficult to motivate ourselves to write too). I’m so looking forward to being able to go on a course with you… fingers crossed for later this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales January 15, 2021 / 2:28 pm

      Going on a course with you would be wonderful!


  7. Helen January 15, 2021 / 3:17 am

    I think we are probably feeling a bit diminished. Before the pandemic my house was where I slept. Now there are days when I don’t even step outside!

    Sounds like you have developed a good strategy for Christmas and New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

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