Last Thursday was the 1st of September, which heralded the start of autumn. Well, the meteorological start of autumn anyway. It might still be warm outside but the signs are telling me that my favourite season is upon us.
So why then has it felt like such a slog?
As much as I love autumn there’s always a strange tinge of sadness in the air. Maybe sadness isn’t the word, but there’s a weird melancholy that sweeps in and makes me feel a li’l more reflective than usual.
It’s always a big time of year for change: in the past it’s been when I’ve left home, moved across the country, started uni, handed in my dissertation. This time last year I was getting ready to move in with Ally. This past year has brought with it a lot of change and it’s easy to feel like things are slipping outwith your control.
The last week has been especially tiring- in between the usual round of working and volunteering I had a houseguest in the form of Lemmy, the family dog and my wee best pal, blown-out internet dramas, a Saturday night off which resulted in quadruple-booking myself and a quick trip up to the antenatal clinic in between. On top of all this, I decided it was a great idea to take on a new challenge: the #GGBlogChallenge, a pledge to blog every day (or attempt to) every day in September. (OK, so the latter might have fallen behind, but it was either that or fall behind on puppy snuggles).
It’s been exactly the kind of week that makes it easy to focus on negative things. Where I feel I’m going wrong, where I’m coming up short in life and all the bad things that have happened. In short, exactly the kind where I should be looking for positives (which I also wrote about last week). I’ve already fallen behind with the blog challenge, and thought about skipping ahead to today’s topic. However, day two was a reflection on being thankful- something I definitely don’t take enough time to do. I decided to couple it with this week’s progress post- since they’re both late anyway, right?
2. What are you thankful for? We so often forget to reflect on the good stuff so let’s focus on the positive and spread the goodness of life around!
First and foremost, I’m thankful for the people around me. My boyfriend does so much for me without question, whether it’s making sure I’m eating properly, helping me to pick up stuff that I drop (which is a lot) or getting me back up when I’m down. This could mean mentally, or it could mean that I’ve tried to take off my skinnies and rolled onto my back like a turtle, unable to get up.
I’m thankful for the support network that I’ve got in the form of family: be that immediate, extended or in-law (ish). Telling them about li’l bean wasn’t scary in any way because I knew that we’d have their support.
I have friends that I’ve known since school, ones I met at college and uni, ones I’ve worked with who’ve stuck around and ones I’m only just getting to know. In the past I’ve been pretty bad for maintaining contact, whether it’s because of working, studying or generally just being a shut-in. The real test is when you do make an effort with people and it doesn’t feel like an effort- or if it’s long lost pals, if it doesn’t feel like any time at all.
In any case I’m thankful for the people who haven’t been put off by my terrible track record of responding to messages. I felt horribly guilty for over-committing myself last week and not being able to see everyone that I would’ve liked to. I guess as much as things have changed, and continue to do so, my time management still sucks. You don’t want to change too much too fast, right…?
This week, more than any so far, I’m thankful for my health. I’ve put my body through a lot in the past and I haven’t always treated it as best I could. For years I saw it as the enemy: I treated it as an ‘other’, something to be hated, or moulded into something else, something that got in the way of looking like the ‘me’ I wanted to be. The biggest change I’ve seen this year has been in my body. It’s growing and changing every day and it looks like it never has before and I have absolutely no control over it. It’s taken a lot to adjust to, and it didn’t just happen overnight. Hell, it’s still a work in progress. But I am thankful that my body has gotten me through pregnancy relatively unscathed- so much so that I sometimes think I can do everything that I used to, without consequence.
Last Wednesday put this into startling perspective. After a hectic payday weekend and other things going on in the background, I hadn’t taken much time to pause for thought. Sitting with Lemmy, I realised that I hadn’t felt much movement from li’l bean. In true first-time-mum fashion, I rang the hospital and they said they could fit me in for a checkup. For the rest of the day I felt tripped up by my own guilt: I’d been doing too much, or not enough, not eating properly or nourishing myself or the baby, maybe I’d leaned over funny, lifted too much at my body pump class or foolishly thought I could get though a weekend on four hours sleep.
I was sitting on the bed, by myself, waiting to be seen, when the thought finally occurred to me. That this was what really mattered to me. Worrying about trying to do everything at once wasn’t making me more productive. Toxic gremlins will swipe at anything when backed into a corner. Trying to please everyone doesn’t make you happier. All that mattered in that moment in time was whether or not the li’l guy was alright.
Of course, as soon as the midwife switched on the heartbeat monitor, I feel a few rapid thuds and just knew that he was. The wee shite likes to keep me in suspense. She asked knowingly if this was my first baby, a question which I’m sure she’d had positively affirmed by thousands of women before me. Still, hearing the heartbeat and knowing everything was going to be alright was enough for me.
I went home, switched off my phone, went for a bath and did some sketching for the first time in forever. It’s a simple trick, but it works for me- and, after all that, it’s the simple pleasures that I’m most thankful for.
TL;DR Highlights and Lowlights
Catch ups with pals: this week was my gal Claire’s birthday so we celebrated with (my first ever) brunch at Singl-end. I totally get why people do brunch now. Also, Singl-end is AMAZING. I need to go back for cake.
I even made it to the pub (albeit for a ginger beer). I only lasted til 11:30, but it was good to just get out.
Spending quality time with Lemmy. I miss him so much now that I’ve moved out, and even a wee overnight with him is wonderfully therapeutic.
A surprise Sunday off work.
Internet trolls be err’where.
Already feeling the guilt at falling behind in a self-imposed challenge!
Worry over li’l bean- even though it turned out to be unfounded.