Glancing back, moving forwards

This is, traditionally, the time when we reflect on the year past and look forward to the year to come. It is also a tradition to make resolutions at this time year in order to improve our lives and to, hopefully, enrich them. We’ve all decided to give up drinking/smoking, lose weight, start exercising etc. at some time or another and most resolutions don’t make it to the end of January which is actually a real shame.

The problem is not the fact that we want to make change or that the changes we want to make are unrealistic but the way we approach the changes. Perhaps it would make sense to see why we want to make changes before deciding how to go about them?

Look back on the year and jot down what you think are your highlights and successes – the things you’re proud of, the lessons you’ve learned (spiritual or practical) and follow this by a list of things that you think you’ve failed at or could have done better.

My personal highlights are realising that, even after a 20 year break, I’m still good at baking bread and it really helps me practice mindfulness; that I’ve grown unafraid of making complaints re officialdom though I’m not sure I can keep even tempered enough to see it through; that even though I didn’t have a cat in hells chance of winning it I entered a photographic competition and loved every minute of it and that I realised that sometimes love is enough.

My lowlights are the feeling of having my head patted by people who refuse to recognise that I have skills and have had them a long time; making a complaint re officialdom but being afraid of the health implications and, that I’m not sure how to broach the subject of why my working relationship with my GP has broken down with him.

Looking at my year like this makes me want to bake bread regularly and to expand my range which will, in turn, increase the time that I spend being mindful.

I’ll continue with my complaint re officialdom but I am aware that I need to write an adaptable script so that I can say what I need to say calmly.

My former psychiatrist said that because of the extremes of my particular form of bipolar disorder I take in far too much information and that leads to breakdowns and explosions in my mind and that he feels that photography is a way of filtering out the excess information so I’ll keep on entering competitions without expecting to win but with the knowledge that I’m looking after my mental health.

The days I feel stretched by people or torn as to what to do to help both me and them I will remind myself that sometimes love is enough because sometimes it’s all I have to give.

With regards to the people who feel the need to pat my head I will try to remember that it is their insecurities that are the issue and divorce myself from them in subtle ways. (The mute button on social media networks are fantastic!) I have to allow them the need to huddle into cliques because people like me who are self reliant to the nth degree are actually a bit frightening at times.

My misgivings with my GP are harder to resolve because it’s just not easy to say the things that need to be said in the 8 minutes that the average appointment is allotted. It’s something that needs thought and tact. I can do thought but I’m not so good at tact.

I must keep remembering that something good comes out of every situation even though it’s impossible to see it at the time. When my dad died 10 weeks after he was diagnosed with lung cancer it was difficult to see what could be counted as a positive. People told us that he was no longer in pain and other usual comments that are trotted out at such times but none of them really rang true. When my mum sold their house to move into sheltered accommodation she gave my sister and me some money and I bought my first camera with my share. Being able to disappear into the crowd with my camera is both my solace and my shield and affords me a protection that I would never have otherwise had. My dad died and gave me that protection after his death. Sometimes we have to wait a while to see the positive but it is always there.

It’s important to remember that the calendar is just a system for keeping track of the days. The year begins and ends each day and I can leave behind an old, bad year whenever I need to and start a new one as often as I need.

Above all I need to count my blessings not anybody else’s and remember not to think of resolutions but to think of those things that have been resolved.

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