Happy New Year, Probably, if We’re Lucky

It’s been a while since I wrote, and I really don’t have much to say. This has been my most recent earworm: and so this is christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun,

And so that was Christmas. There were presents, of a most satisfactory nature, and far too much food and a bit too much drink as is customary. We had a very quiet one, just with the Bloke’s Mum for a guest.The Bloke cooked half a ham. I cooked a Turducken, bizarrely enough. Jordo’s had them all ready boned and stuffed and tolled, so I could just bung it in the oven. I added an orange and whisky glaze. It was OK, though I forgot to account for our oven running hot, and the outer layer of turkey came out dry. Meh. It was still edible. I also made potato and bean salads. And on the next few days I rested. I had some mild malaise but nothing spectacular.

Another year over, and what have I done? At first thought, not very bloody much, but I suppose there has been a lot of knitting, and I have learned some kanji. Most of kindergarten, though not all (horse and bird and thread keep being troublesome), but also a smattering of more advanced. We did have Easter guests, which was a delight, but our springtime Melbourne trip was ruled out by more lockdowns. I turned 60, which still seems weird, and had a brilliant if small birthday celebration. My metal health continues to be a tad precarious, though better than 2020. I have been a bit more social, via Zoom knitting and a Zoom ME/CFS support group, but am still very shy of social media,

A new one just begun. And what will I do? During my holiday of not doing or planning anything Xmas-NYE, I mulled this over a bit. There are many things I want to do, some of which may even be within my capacity.

Getting my knitting in order is a very big one, as my project log has been affected by my avoidance of ravelry (social media!). I have some photos and yarn weighing and sorting and tidying to do. I intend to finish a project that caught mt attention part way through last year, of knitting every hat pattern in Kate Davies’ Milarrochy Heids book, plus a couple of other Kate Davies patterns. I’ll add the Alice Starmore Mary Tudor set to that, too. And then I will move on to another book, which I intend to be socks. Also, a jumper for the Bloke, two shawls with birthday yarn, and almost certainly the Stephen West October MKAL and Hiberknitalong. And in between, when I can’t think enough for charts, there are simple brainless hats, scarves, bandanas and so on for the charity bag.

So I got started on that on New Year’s Day: writing some ravelry notes, printing some patterns, taking some photos – and by the time I’d done that I was out of breath and had to have a rest. Instead of playing a game I started writing this, so good one, me! Here are some of the photos, from the Mystery Knitalong. I went with a wild colour palette. Not my style, but fun to make and I do know someone who loves it.

So anyway, exhaustion and writing can go together as long as it’s physical, not mental, exhaustion. I do suffer from both but not always simultaneously. I have some alert hours most days, as long as I’ve slept well. This brings me to my personal goal for the year, which is to work out how to use these better.

I’ve been trying to avoid saying that I “should not waste them on games”, which is my natural go to. My counsellor is trying to get me to stop that kind of self-bullying with “shoulds”. It’s better to say and think about what I want, than to beat myself up for my shortcomings. That way if I don’t get it done it’s OK, I didn’t get what I wanted, but no biggie. The other way lies guilt and self-hate, and let’s just not go there.

So what I want to do in the coming year is to work out how to live my life better. This includes dealing with the sickening horror of the fact that just standing up to move a few things around and take a few photos is a very arduous task. The sweet denial of fluffy books and games on the couch is soothing, but also numbing and addictive.

I can’t give them up – it’s not the kind of addiction you can cold turkey on. They have a legitimate place in my life; they are my MEDS – my Minimum Energy Dopamine Supplement. For a lot of the day, I can’t do anything else that I can think of. Which has led me to a thought, no more than a faint inkling of an idea at this point, that maybe I could write a book. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but mental health self-help books tend to assume that you are not disabled. Go for a walk! Get a shower! Find a new interest and go out and meet people! Umm, no, sorry, that is not happening. So what can we do? There’s a gap in the market for a book like that. Maaaaaybe I could go there? I’ve never written a book, but I like to think that I can write. Something to ponder.

So anyway, my main aim is to get a better day plan, so I can use my alert hours to do stuff I want to do, like learn Japanese, read challenging books, do complex knitting, write stuff, do maths puzzles and cryptic crosswords. Getting things better organised is part of this: sometimes I have the mental energy to think what to do; sometimes the physical energy to do a small part of it. Separating that out could work – I already do it with cooking. Plan and prep when alert, minimal effort doing the thing when I’m foggy. Keeping myself clean is another related problem. Showers are difficult and too much effort to do daily, and my former work-around of showering at night seems not to be working so well any more. The neural overstimulation messes with my sleep. So maybe that can also be done when brain-foggy?

If I had the answers already, it would not be a goal for the year. But it’s something to work on. Maybe today I can get my language learning resources positioned closer to hand. Tiny steps.

One thought on “Happy New Year, Probably, if We’re Lucky

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