That post was about how my biggest most spectacular saving during The Year of More was going to be selling my house and downsizing to a unit!!!
And how simple and fabulous that experience was.
What an amazing, amazing outcome of a wonderful year spent exploring exactly what I spend my money on and what happened when I put restrictions around that spending.
But buying and selling property this time around turned out to be anything but a simple and fabulous experience. It was all rather stressful and overwhelming and it left me drained for months and months. I still haven’t fully recovered.
I am a very capable woman and I am accustomed to doing things on my own – which is both empowering and overwhelming at times - but I am always – always – ever so grateful that I’m able to make big life decisions like buying and selling property on my own.
But this particular experience really knocked me down.
For the first time in a very very VERY long time, I felt I’d lost my mojo.
And for a rather large chunk of Twenty-Fifteen, I felt as though I'd lost KMY – I felt as though I’d lost what makes me ‘Me’.
I’m not sure I can sufficiently articulate what I mean by that as I’m not entirely sure what happened myself, but I guess the main thing I'd been feeling is a decided lack of joy.
And Joy Creating is definitely one of the things that makes me Me.
And my ability to seek - quite easily I might add - the positive in most situations.
Or to at least have the ability to unearth the lesson the situation is there to teach me.
I don't always 'get' the lesson of course – sometimes I fail miserably - but I can generally at least recognise what the lesson is.
I lost that ability too.
My ability to find joy in the smallest of things was also greatly diminished.
A bush turkey running awkwardly through the school grounds.
I still experienced joy in these things but it was different.
It was duller.
It wasn’t as strong; as though I only had two senses experiencing it instead of all five.
I've been challenged by people and experiences that usually wouldn't bother me.
I would usually rise to the challenge and be thankful for the lesson they've presented.
This year I've lost faith in parts of my life and my world that I thought were rock solid.
The changes I've encountered haven't been massive or life threatening (thank goodness) but they've still had a significant impact on how I feel about my place in the world.
And my place in My World.
And the people who are in it.
There have been shifts in friendships.
Moments when I expected those I loved to be there and they weren’t.
My usually safe and solid foundation had shifted and it was unnerving.
At times I felt incredibly alone and lonely.
Although I live on my own, I don’t often experience loneliness so that’s been both fascinating and challenging to go through.
But loneliness is an inside job so I didn’t try to fill it with people. I sat with it, which was uncomfortable at times but I knew it couldn’t hurt me.
I know I am very loved and I know I’m not alone in this journey we call Life, but what I discovered is that knowing something and feeling it… really, truly, deeply feeling it, are two completely different things.
I’ll write more about this some other time but I’ve realised just how much our expectations – of both ourselves and others – impacts on our well-being and perspective.
We are always learning, growing and evolving.
Even if we don’t think we are.
I thought I had a handle on embracing change.
But you know the feeling you have when you realise you're not as evolved or wise or compassionate as you thought you were?
You thought you'd forgiven yourself, or him or her or them.
You thought you'd dissolved the guilt, healed the pain and accepted 'what is'.
You thought you’d learnt and grown.
I thought I had the formula for happiness figured out…
I felt like I’d reverted back to the Me that existed 15 years ago.
I felt as though everything I thought I’d learnt in that time was just an illusion.
That it hadn’t really existed at all.
I felt as though I hadn’t grown even one eensy-weensy teeny tiny little bit.
I felt as though I had happiness amnesia and I couldn't remember my way back.
So I started from scratch.
I prioritised my needs and obligations.
I had to function at work in order to support quite a few other needs and obligations so that became my Number One priority. And there were days when work literally sucked up all the energy I had. It still does some days.
I had nothing left over for anyone or anything else.
I wasn't sleeping well. I didn't have a full night's sleep in almost five months and it became my norm to wake up 4-6 times a night. When I got to the stage of only waking up 2 or 3 times, it was cause for Great Celebration!
Perspective really is everything isn’t it?
And a couple of weeks ago when I finally started sleeping through the night, I was giddy with excitement to hear my alarm go off because I had spent so many months waking up long before it was due to fulfill its mission of waking me.
I instinctively knew my body wouldn't cope with alcohol so up until a few weeks ago I hadn't had any alcohol since the end of April - my last Sunday night glass of champagne in The Tree House. (And yes, I was very concerned I might be thrown off the Champagne Olympic team but as no official word has been received from The Committee, I think I might be okay).
After celebrating the week with a glass of bubbles on Sunday night for almost 10 years, this was one of the most noticeable changes for me.
It's fascinating how the lack of something can have so much emphasis.
I even stopped sending my beloved Friday Funny email. An email I’d sent every Friday for more than twelve years*
I stopped writing entirely.
No blog. No stories. No words of note.
Expressing myself in words is such a huge part of being Me.
I wasn’t doing it.
I had nothing to write.
Nothing to share.
I didn’t think anyone would be interested in what I had to say about how I was feeling.
One of the changes I experienced this year was the end of my Writer’s Group. After five lovely years of sharing words and ideas and space with each other, I really miss having that creative impetus to arrange squiggly letters on the page.
You know that feeling of something coming back into your life that’s been missing? Whether it’s good health or love or the return of your favourite snack on the supermarket shelves. It’s very joyous and the joy is actually more noticeable and powerful because we’ve felt the lack of whatever it is; we’ve felt its absence so we appreciate it that much more when it reappears.
It’s a strange feeling when you feel as though you’ve lost yourself isn’t it? I knew I hadn’t really lost myself but feeling as though I had felt so incredibly real.
And feeling uncomfortable in your own life or your own skin really does make you feel as though something is missing.
Over the last few months I’ve mostly spent what little energy I've had on being gentle with myself. Even on my best day, I could easily win Olympic Gold in the 'Beating Myself Up' event so I've been very proud of myself for not doing that.
Okay, so not doing that as much as I would have once done.
I've had very little motivation or desire to do all the social organising I usually do so I've had a plentiful supply of time to recharge and reflect. As an introvert, I adore doing this even when I’m filled with energy and feeling on top of the world so it wasn’t a stretch for me to spend even more time in quiet reflection.
I’ve loved spending time with friends one-on-one but have found larger groups quite draining. A drained, overwhelmed introvert is definitely not going to seek out parties or big group dinners as a way of feeling connected or energised!
At times I wondered if I was depressed but I’ve been depressed before and it didn’t feel like that’s what was happening this time.
Was I hormonal?
I'm 47, so probably! But it didn't feel like it was just that either.
So where did my mojo go?
Was it washed out to sea with the tide?
Perhaps I accidently packed it in one of the many boxes I had lying around before moving?
Or I gave it away or sold it with all the worldly belongings I said goodbye to during my rather large downsizing process?
Or quite possibly I simply frightened it away by expecting Too Much Joy from life?
But surely there can’t be such a thing as Too Much Joy?
I will never believe that.
The joy is getting brighter and more tangible.
But I also know when you feel like this, it takes time to regain strength, confidence and general well-being so I’m still taking life very slowly.
When I go for my morning walk by the ocean near My New Little Home, I love watching the surfers doing their thing.
Waiting patiently for a wave to greet them.
I love the idea of surfing and honestly, it’s only my fear of sharks and a lack of ability that keeps me from doing it. Only.
I had a surfing lesson years ago on the Gold Coast. It was hard work. I found it impossible to go from lying on my board to the standing position in one elegant move. Every time I tried to, I would come crashing to my knees. Every Single Time. My knees were so bruised by the end of the day; and I still hadn’t stood on the board.
I am rather gravity-challenged I’m afraid. In gym class in high school, I would run toward that Blasted Stationary Horse Thingy, take one very inelegant jump on the little trampoline thingy (gym class was filled with ‘thingies’ which usually caused me pain) and crash into the front of the horse at great speed. Every Single Time.
It’s been so relaxing to watch them just ‘being’.
Not feeling as though they need to be doing anything other than what they’re doing.
Waiting. Mindfully waiting for Mother Nature to be ready to play.
What a glorious, glorious feeling that must be.
I’m not quite back to my usual self – the KMY I truly enjoy being – but I’m getting there and creatively arranging these squiggly letters on the page is a start.
A most lovely start.
‘Home is a place we all must find, child. It's not just a place where you eat or sleep. Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we're always home, anywhere.’ Glinda the Good Witch, The Wizard of Oz