The happy memory jar was emptied last night. Not too many things in there but that's not because not a lot of good things happened; just because I hadn't jotted down all of the good things. But there are times when we don't always realise what is a happy great moment. What is obvious is that what has made me happy over the last 12 months actually cost nothing.
The note worthy times have all been people related. Illustrating children's books, commissioned drawings and one that had me laughing out loud, the singing of Bohemian Rhapsody on the train back from a beer festival with a bunch of guys we didn't know. This time last year I had no idea I would end up with Joey, the only guy that has stuck in my life for more than a month or two: despite his attempts to escape to the neighbours. You've got to love a second hand dog.
Sad times are always easier to call to mind and it's hard sometimes not to let them make you bitter. A friend that turns into someone who tries to abuse your hospitality, old friends who, for their own reason, move onto new friends and cast you by the wayside. Hurtful in both ways but it's their choice as it is mine to not allow 'friends' to walk over me. I miss them all. The incredible sadness of two friends being diagnosed with cancer and the dreadful death of one within a few months of him finding out.
It's been a tough year as I hang in whilst I try to sell the business, coming home to feel drained of energy and full of stress. It's been hard not to just lock the door and run away; to fight off another bout of depression, to stay positive. To sometimes just lock the door and cry, sleep it off and start again. To believe it, when friends offer their support when asked or without asking, and they tell you that you are a great person. In the darkest days, these friends are worth their weight in gold.
So the year moved on. A trial at a new business idea was cast aside; I really don't have the energy. My social life dwindled, but that was my choice; I became a home bod and hid myself away just to try and regain some energy.
With more relaxation time, I have begun to feel better. Yes I still have to drag myself out of bed some days to take Joey for a walk and to go to work, but I do it: the survival instinct is within me.
I learned a lot last year and a lot of that was about me and how to handle me so I don't get too stressed and spiral into depression. I don't expect everyone to understand that, I wouldn't have a few years ago. I've learned to walk away from stress, to say no [in a nice way], to accept peoples choices and not take it too personally if they try to con me or move on to others, it's their personality not mine. So what I'm saying is that I have learned to let go.
This month, the most important 'letting go' will take place as I publish the Memoir, Calamity Spain. It has been reworked a number of times, originally starting it's life as a diary of angst, sadness and letting go. The more I added and more recently rewrote, the more cathartic it became. I've shed tears of anger and sadness for the first time over the events but I finally feel a calmness as I now work on the editing. Once it is complete, another huge boulder will be shed from my life and I will be happier for it.
What will this month bring? Another children's book to illustrate, a number of jobs already lined up for when I get back into work, who knows what else.
One day at a time and I will handle it as best I can. Happy moments will go in the jar and I will not stress: that I promise myself and deserves going in the happy jar.
True happiness really does cost nothing but time