I was caught in a work storm for a few months over the summer. Things settled enough for me to take a small risk, which paid off, and this, along with a tremendous lucky break, means I am finally able to tack for calmer waters. I’m being deliberately opaque. I’m sitting in relief’s front pocket like a joey in his mother’s pouch. Brief bliss.
That’s one part of my life. In another my father-in-law died. My wife went to live with her mother in his final weeks to help tend to him. Another storm, separate but overlapping, that eventually blew itself out. The hole where he was is stark, but he’s no longer suffering. It went from a small lump in June, to radiotherapy in August, to palliative care in September, to gone. The nurses had never seen anything like the wound on his neck that grew big enough to swallow him. Nature can be brutal.
He lived a full life and fought for it to his last breath. His death brought a different flavour of relief. I have my life partner back. We haven’t lived apart that long in the twenty-three years we’ve been together.
When you’re fighting to keep your ship afloat, you’re not thinking much beyond the next hour, the next day. Calmer waters means time to look after yourself. I’ve been limping around with a ridiculous injury that I’ve carried for over a year that I made worse with golf lessons. Golf! The least taxing of all outdoor sports! (I was wrong.) Deep gluteal syndrome. Too much sitting down, a lack of glute strength in general, and one side weaker than the other equals excruciating cramp in my right buttock. It’s funny when it’s not hurting. I found a physio and I’m doing the exercises. This was the third storm.
The final quadrant of my life, writing, is becalmed. (Work, family, health, writing - yes, four.) How could it not be with every other part in flames? Instead of writing, or even reading, I chose to lose myself in horror films instead. This worked well. It was soothing. Unreal.
This is what I wish for in 2024. I want to be fit and healthy again. I want my family to be well. I want work to be stimulating, but not overwhelming, which will allow time to stir the embers of my writing. The novel hasn’t gone away. I can feel energy for it. I want the words to flow. It’s sad that it feels like a luxury, or even a privilege, to be excited about life. I do appreciate it. I’m excited again!