I haven’t written here in a long time, mainly because I needed some time and space to live. Last year was a good year, a hard year but good. Without sounding too dramatic, the previous year was a terrible time and I feel incredibly lucky and grateful that I’m still here, in one piece after it.
I’ve written before about feeling very out of sorts but I reached a crisis before Christmas where I was severely not well. You can call it many things – burned out, exhausted, depressed, anxious and I probably would say I was all of those things.
So I stopped. For three months.
I did gentle things.
I allowed myself to be looked after.
I let some stuff go.
I admitted that all was not well – that I was not well.
I’m much much better now but I still get twitchy when I worry it will happen again. I know things that help – yoga, exercise, looking after myself, trying to not be too hard on myself when I fall short of my own expectations, lists, routines and making slow sustainable changes. I have always tried to inhale as much life as I can; loving my work too much, trying to do too much and being reluctant to say no to people I love. I know I’m a person of extremes – I’m either doing lots of things or I’m curled up exhausted. Slowly, I am learning to create some boundaries to hold my boundless enthusiasm for life in its place.
And among all of this while I watched and waited for green shoots of recovery, some lovely and unexpected things happened. I have a lovely new job over with this band of folk here. I was interviewed live on Woman’s Hour with Jenni Murray which was terrifying but also an amazing experience. (I talked about craft, being single in my 30s and the joy that being an aunt brings.) I heard Lisa Congdon speak brilliantly about how self-care is a crucial part of sustaining a creative life at Blogtacular. I went to the Scillies and swam in the sea on the Autumn Equinox. I read amazing books and visited Darwin’s House.
And while all this life was going on I felt quite lacking in words here. But it is Spring and I’m feeling inspired and energised by the change in the seasons. The sunlight, the blossom and watching trees come into leaf has filled me this year with a sense of joy and hope. Spring is a time for renewal and as the days have got longer, I feel like I’m waking up after a long winter. I have so enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my skin and as I watched the blue skies as I walked towards London Bridge this evening I felt excited for the coming months. There will be long days, activity, creative play and amongst it all I’m still here – breathing, learning and growing.