That Midwinter Lull
Few things make me happier or feel more satisfied than going out exploring and filling up a memory card with the things I see. Photos are my souvenirs, from a morning walk, a day trip or an overseas adventure. I love that feeling of heading outdoors by myself, and it's something I make a point of doing as much as I can. A walk in the fresh air is a cure for a lot of things, but for me it's a medicine that is most effective when taken with a camera in my hand.
I don't know what it is about this time of year that makes me feel so restless. I'm both impatient for the year to really get going and a little anxious about time pushing on because I'd really like to go back to the very start of the month and have some more chocolate cake. There are a lot of things that feel very unknown at the moment, and although it's exciting, sometimes it feels like too much to bear. I think I'm quite an impatient person, often eager for the next thing and not very good at grounding myself in the here and now. Having faith that everything will be alright.
I'm having a bit of a midwinter lull in energy at the moment, and I'm wondering if you feel like that a bit too? You know those times when you seem to be spending a lot of your resources to not get very far? Well, I do feel a bit like that. Everything in our flat seems to be breaking, we have yet another mouse (just one?!) that has invaded our kitchen and quite a bit of my freelance work is getting postponed due to clients getting ill or not having the money. Because, well...January. It's all a bit stop, start, stop, start which I think is what's leading to this unsettled feeling. I've been so focused on scheduling my diary and planning ahead, that I forgot to account for the unexpected. And there's been a lot of that!
And then there's my bank account. It's been a long time since I started the year without a full time pay check, and although I earned a modest salary from my last job I got used to being able to save well and still have a chunk left over for myself. Starting out as a freelancer means a whole lot of uncertainty when it comes to earnings, and at the moment everything that comes into my account is a buffer to get me safely through another month without any work. Thankfully, that hasn't happened yet, but I am mindful of squirelling away my earnings for rainy days. Really, I know that not even a day job is certain. There's always financial up and downs whatever you do for a living, much of it out of your control. It's just now that the responsibility rests firmly on my head to put myself out there and get work, to constantly up-skill myself and to keep moving forward.
Responsibility is something that can energise me, and fill my heart with so much joy. My daughter, my partner, my home, my dog, my career...so many blessings. But it's also a responsibility that can rest a little weary on my head. With so much energy given out to everyone else, I can feel a little spent. It's not burn out, I've learnt my lesson too many times for that. I do think that however careful I am about slowing down and taking time to rest, I still have a battery that ebbs and flows just like everyone else. I can't run at full power all of the time, and that's OK.
I'm grateful for the lessons I've learnt over the years in how to recharge my batteries. In the importance of sleep, days off and prioritising my wellbeing over my work - something I'm focusing on especially this year. I think the trick is to make peace with the ebbs and flows in my energy, inspiration, creativity, clients and finances. Just like the seasons, we have some of abundance and some of scarecity. Winter, and perhaps especially January is usually a time where supplies in all those things run a little low. We need turn instead to the things this season offers us in abundance, and that magical morning light after a heavy frost is one of those things. It switches your perspective, to see the beauty that the cold night and slow rising sun has made. It makes me yearn less for Spring, because there's something brewing in these quiet days. We just don't yet know what that is.