New Years feels.

I hate January.

More accurately, I hate winter starting around December 27th. Once the Christmas decorations start to come down and everyone starts reflecting on the year, I get a mini life crisis.  I have to take a look at all the things I hoped to do in 2013 (finish a poetry chapbook, complete a draft of my YA trilogy, blog more), convince myself that I’m not an utter failure to society, and decide on new goals for 2014.

So that’s fun.

The weather is also partly responsible.  It’s not fun driving to work in the dark, or walking the dog in that chilly mist-rain that the Northwest excels at.

Sometimes it can be beautiful, like when the mist encloses the car and you feel like the only person in the world; or when there’s fog over the rivers in the morning and Portland is invisible except for lights along the docks; or when the bare trees are silhouetted black against the flat gray sky.  But it’s never a warm beauty – it’s harsh and dark and distancing and oppressing.

The feeling of oppression is worst.  The blank sky can sometimes be elegant, but for the most part, all it does it leech the color and contrast out of the world.  The flame-red autumn leaves have been gone for weeks, and now the only bright points in the landscape are the occasional bursts of little red berries, far away off the side of the road.

And I’m only partly kidding about feeling like a failure to society.  By most standards, I’m doing pretty well: I’m employed, I’m married, we own a house and pets and can take care of both, and I volunteer.  But with tendonitis eradicating my ability to do almost anything for more than twenty minutes, it’s hard to be appreciative of the things in my life that are going well.

It doesn’t help that the last couple weeks got especially hard.  It felt like every time I tried to take a progressive step – like using my new dictation software to write, or designing brochures for church – I bounced off a wall.  Computer issues brought my writing productivity down to zero.  Every time I thought I solved one, another one cropped up.  And after seven hours on a computer at work, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was sit in front of another one, especially one that wasn’t working.  I have over a dozen new Steam games waiting for the day when I can try to play them for a half-hour or so.  Instead, I’ve spent whole days reinstalling software after a system refresh, and praying that the Internet doesn’t go out next because then I can at least keep troubleshooting via mobile.  Days.  

And then it got stuck in the same reboot loop.  The only solution seemed to be a refresh – what I’d just done a few days earlier – which would force me to redo everything I spent days doing, all because one program installed funny.  When I saw that blue screen again, I just sat in front of the laptop for a few minutes, shut it down, and went downstairs and cried.

Kevin continues to help out with everything from cooking to video games to tech support, but at the end of the day, that just makes me feel worse.  I have little patience for people needing my help, and I don’t like to be the one who asks for help.  I like being productive, pulling my weight, doing my share.  I feel like the universe is conspiring to keep me from accomplishing anything, and it chose the worst time of year to do so.

And then a heavy plastic container fell out of the pantry onto my head.

And then I made a bunch of errors at work.

And then my car sprung a new coolant leak.  It needs a new water pump and it needs it now.

My coping mechanisms are not excellent, but I’m in a perfect storm of anxiety-inducing factors: uncertainty and impatience regarding my wrists, the inability to use almost all of my creative and productive outlets, a loss of independence, continual setbacks, and dark, gloomy weather.  Jokes about “what would I do without Kevin” are morphing into “what would I do without Kevin?”

And those questions, asked subconsciously at 11 at night as you’re trying to fall asleep, never go well.

So my 2014 is not starting off great.

I mean, it’s not bad, but an expensive car repair and chocolate-egg-sized lump on my head are not great omens.

Things that are good:

  • getting to see my mom and sister over Christmas
  • going to see the Sherlock exhibit at OMSI tomorrow
  • having my car continue to run despite being a Jeep with over 130K miles on it
  • getting to spend New Years Eve with a bunch of friends
  • having some of those friends come over soon for a tea party because I have so much tea
  • binging on tea at Uwajimaya
  • going to the live Night Vale show in a couple weeks
  • getting some super awesome Christmas gifts, including all of Downton Abbey on Blu Ray, some Mass Effect things, the new “Tomb Raider,” and some lovely cookbooks!
  • we are almost done with our Pinterest-tacular shelves! (And by we I mean Kevin, but I did get to help with distressing the wood, and that was super satisfying!)

I’m trying to be optimistic, but man, the weather is not helping.

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3 thoughts on “New Years feels.

  1. NIGHT VALE!!! So jealous over here.

    I know what you mean about the lousy thing sometimes taking up all the headspace. It takes energy and focus, which is the last thing you have, to remember the things that weren’t bad, just to find the balance again.

    My theory is that if this new leaf doesn’t take, Chinese New Year is the last weekend of this month.

    • Yeah, even when it’s all tiny things, the bad can get overwhelming. Getting perspective helps, but you have to squish all the lousy thoughts out of the way to get it, and sometimes it’s just easier to wallow in them. Having a sunny Sunday helped!

  2. I prefer wallowing in a hot bath with a book distracting me. I somehow care a little less — or enough less that it’s easier to fall asleep.

    Sun helps a lot — especially in your region (I lived in Oregon in grad school).

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