The Winter Solstice is one of my favourite festivals. I’m pleased to know that the sun will be returning but, for me, this time of year is all about embracing the darkness and the quiet. It’s the point at which I draw the last year to a close and start to think about the twelve months ahead.
We were both getting colds, so we didn’t do much on the day, but we managed to give the flat a good clean and created a little altar with a candle. I made a butternut quash gratin by Nigel Slater and served it with a 1970s-style nut roast from my Good Housekeeping book of vegetarian recipes. My partner made delicious chocolate chip cookies.
There are three areas of my life that I’d like to focus on during the coming year.
Setting healthy boundaries is not something that comes easily to me or, let’s face it, to most people. But it’s so important for mental and emotional health. I am easily pushed, quite vulnerable to emotional blackmail, and find it difficult to maintain clear psychological lines between different aspects of my life. Overall, I think I need to be a lot more proactive about setting boundaries, deciding what I’m willing to do/not do in advance, and communicating this clearly to other people.
I’ve decided that it’s time to get serious about addressing my body issues. I’ve suffered from eating disorders most of my life and I’m really tired of it. Plus, I’m on the edge of middle-age now and physically some things are changing: gray hair, wrinkles, varicose veins, having to look over the top of my glasses to read things! This is all a bit disconcerting, but I’d rather face it head-on than try to avoid it or pretend it’s not happening. I’ll be 42 next year which also means I should probably start preparing for perimenopause.
One of my biggest struggles over the last couple of years has been with a loss of meaning in my life. I think this has mainly been caused by literally losing most of the external things that I used to create a sense of meaning in the past (the religion I was raised in, the career I wanted to have, my relationship with my father, the story I told myself about my family and childhood) and not having a very strong, internal sense of self to fall back on. I need to build up my internal resources and develop new sources of external meaning.
I do have one material goal and that’s to find us a better place to live. We need to start thinking about our longer-term housing options soon, but one thing at a time.