That clean slate just kinda looks like a black hole though

Well here we are, last Monday of TFY and I actually have a little time to sit and reflect, so here we are.

It has been A Year, but never mind all that; I’ve come through the plague far, far better than most – no financial or health hit, and my mental health actually benefited from taking the pressure off my specific personal issues. Those specific personal issues are still basically bastards, though, and still waiting to kick my ass in 2021. Right in this moment I feel pretty good! But, well. Still unemployed. Still clueless.

As previously mentioned, the past year has been remarkably good for closing mental tabs, and there’s a general sense of having cleared the decks and made space for something new. Still bugs me that there isn’t anything new on the way, because clearly nothing’s going to change unless I change something and as I say, still clueless. I genuinely don’t know what to do next. But I’m Taking Steps. Eh, it’ll all be fine. Insert hand-waving gif here. It’s fine. Meanwhile I’m thinking 2021 should be all about trying things out (crafts that aren’t knitting!) and doing nice things for myself (get pedicures!), just because they’re nice, and that’s valuable in itself. I’m amazingly bad at doing anything “just because”. But I can try, at least. (Incidentally, my official goal for 2020 was “show up and finish stuff” and it’s kind of amazing, but… I think I achieved that?)

I’ve spent years complaining loudly about the way capitalism infects creativity, and the way women in particular struggle with allowing themselves pure leisure – consider typically feminine hobbies such as knitting (productive output!), or the feminine “pampering” that’s actually expensive, time-consuming beauty work – and yet I am completely unable to purge this infection myself. I struggle with even considering a new hobby, because I immediately wonder what I’d be doing it for. I slightly hate going to spas because just lying around doing nothing is infuriating. The desire to be ticking off a list is very, very deeply ingrained in me.

Which does obviously contribute to the parlous state of my self-esteem, given that I’ve been a hausfrau for a decade (since selling the shop). I’ve always been at least a bit occupied with doing freelance work of various kinds, but none of it has moved me forwards. I’ve had lists of specific things I wanted to learn (software skills) and projects I wanted to work on (books etc) and I’ve done basically none of it. For a while I was burning with creativity but flat out exhausted because, well, babies. That time really sucked. More recently I was exhausted (and way less creatively driven) because of taking on really bad jobs, and then because of the emotional damage from those really bad jobs. That sucked too. But what maybe sucks the most is having had my drive completely sucked out of me by this last stage.

I’m very aware of my kids needing me less and less as they grow. Which in itself is nothing but awesome. I don’t get misty-eyed over the passing of time and the loss of babyhood and dependence; I flat out love it. Big kids are great. But it does mean that I have a lot less excuse for still being at home with them, and a lot less excuse for getting so little done with my days. Obviously now would be the time to really dive into those Projects. But I just. Don’t. Wanna. I don’t feel particularly depressed, compared with even a few months ago. I’m fine! Only my get up and go got up and went… somewhere far far away.

I wonder about other hausfraus, especially those who actually chose their situation. I assume most of them put a fair bit more effort into housework than I do, but screw that. I do not feel validated by a shiny floor, and I do not wish to. Maybe they go out and have coffee with friends. Whatever. I’m trying to work out what I want to do with the amazing gift of free time. It’s surprisingly hard. So my first goal is simply to enjoy it. How’s that for a New Year’s Resolution? Have fun in ’21! If it rhymes it must be true…

* Nos 52–53 of #52recipes: this amazing cocktail, which was exactly what we needed to fuel the Christmas Eve gift wrapping session (once a lack-of-planning-driven emergency, now a cherished tradition). After straining the syrup I blitzed the solids into a very festive kind of Apfelmus to serve with the Christmas ham. Yes, we had ham, the first meat I’ve bought in ages. I feel it’s entirely appropriate to have a little meat with a festive feast. And pudding was a maple nutmeg cream pie. Both of these are instantly an essential part of all future Christmases, I think.
I won’t be doing #52recipes again next year, because I think it’s time I reacquainted myself with some old favourite recipes – funny how easy it is to forget them! Also I think I should be spending quality time with my many cookbooks, rather than making a million and one things from the Smitten Kitchen archives. Even if they are so very good. I’ll probably still record my successes here though, under #Not52recipes. Again, to help me remember. We’ve established that I keep this blog almost entirely for my own sake!

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