I just made it to the New Year, and then I got very ill indeed. It was nothing more serious than a fluey cold, but oh my god, I don’t remember the last time I felt that ill! I had hot flushes and chills (they were multiplying) and couldn’t breath lying down, so three nights of trying to sleep upright in the settee downstairs left me extra tired too. Anyway, the upshot is, even if I’d wanted to run into 2022 full steam ahead, I simply couldn’t. I was kind-of forced into a slow January…
I couldn’t face going into the roof for the boxes, so I didn’t even start taking down the Christmas decorations until the 18th of January, and I haven’t finished yet! It’s always a little sad dismantling the magic of Christmas. Every year I remind myself that the very essence of that magic would be lost if we had it all the time. So I try not to begrudge packing away all the glass icicles, the prancing reindeer and the glittery snowflakes because it means I can look forward to seeing them all again next December. It means that living in a winter fairytale for one month a year will retain its sense of wonder.
However, to avoid the house looking completely bare, cold and empty, I am sneakily leaving up a few of the decorations I think I can get away with as a winter theme. So the white sticks in the window-sill are losing their sparkling snowflakes, but will stay in the vintage bottles that sit there all year anyway. Likewise, I’m hoping Chris won’t notice the white sticks in the fireplace if I remove the baubles. And maybe the silver deer will stay on the shelf for now. Just to help me ease into normalness gently!
One of the kids said to me, ‘I’m sorry you’re feeling ill.’
I replied, ‘That’s ok, it means I can sit at my desk and do some crafting without feeling guilty.’
And she said, ‘I’m sorry you have to be ill in order to not feel guilty to do what you enjoy doing.’
I laughed, but that little conversation has played on my mind. Because it is important we make time to do frivolous things we like doing, otherwise we’re giving ourselves the message that we’re not worth our time. I’m lucky in that, at this point in my life the demands on my time are fewer; but on the other hand, I’m unlucky that I have an autoimmune disease that demands I sleep during the day and rest after the smallest amount of activity. So during the house when I do actually feel ok, it always feels a waste to sit and paint a picture when there’s work or jobs around the house to be done.
Every year in December I over-do it and promise myself I’ll take January off to recover and give myself some time; but I never do. I get caught up with the to-do list and goal setting and I get keen to start ticking them off as soon as possible. But this year I’ve been forced into sitting down and doing something that required very little physical or mental energy. And I’ve really enjoyed it! The guilt hasn’t completely gone away, but I’m learning to turn my back on it.
The piece of mixed media art I made says ‘Live each day with intention’, and it’s perfectly fine if you intend to spend that day resting and reading, or doing something fun, or having some quality time on your own.
Because you are worth your time.