A Year For Rest

I am so happy to see 2022 go…it was a difficult year full of exhausting experiences and habits that I would not like to continue…ever.

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The year was full of family health traumas (I do know that for the people directly affected by these health issues, the year was far more stressful and exhausting) which highlighted poor support networks. Witnessing the lack of support and not being able to say anything about it was awful and draining. It reminded me of the lack of response I received when I desperately needed support and triggered similar emotional responses in me all year long (PTSD, anyone?).

I had hoped this year would be one of reconciliation, but it turned into a year of closure that capped years of tension. It was a year of bullying and continual criticism from new people and the usual suspects that caused me sleepless nights, which led to anxiety which led to panic attacks which led to a giant breakdown, or an intense release of pent-up emotions that were drowning me slowly and painfully for ten months.

It was full of a holiday season that strummed my feelings of being unnecessary and unimportant to my own relatives. It was a year of going to bed at 2 a.m. and waking up at 5 or 6 a.m. to finish my book on self-care (which I did–yay!) and dealing with the side effects of severe sleep deprivation and not dealing with it well. I let all of these things get in the way of what I really wanted to do with my time, which caused more anxiety flowing around the question of “Would I ever get to deal with my life again?!” It was a year that recalled many themes that echoed the two years after my mother’s death…and that created more anxiety because I don’t want to go through that again.

There were good things: we went on vacation for the first time in three years, saw friends and family and laughed with others in person, took swimming lessons, went on hikes, snuggled, read books, and I finally slept in the month of December. We also made some exciting decisions about our future, which triggered fears of initiating losses, but I’m okay with those now and am really ready for a new start.

I said goodbye to 2022 by watching The Glass Onion (highly recommended), a film about truth-seeking (albeit with some deception), the pitfalls of egotism, and the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. Minus the deception part, the film serves as a good reminder of what to encourage and discourage in the new year.

I started 2023 already weary and bedraggled and done. Maybe that’s a good thing. My mother’s words swirl through my head right now, words that often made me roll my eyes at her: When you’re down, there’s only one direction to go…. So maybe starting the year down and deflated isn’t the worst way to begin. I started 2022 rearing to go and looked at what happened there. If anything, 2022 was a year of removing dead weight–we tossed a lot of unnecessary household goods, to which I added the relationships and people who were draining my energy. 2022 did turn out to be a year of reconciliation…with myself.

2023 is going to be my Year of Rest. I am not committing to much right now except a bedtime and a wake time…oh, and drinking more herbal teas. That’s my January: resetting the sleep clock and drinking nice, warm things. During the remainder of the year, I intend to rest from drama, bullies, and people-pleasing. I intend to rest for myself, my child, my spouse, my father, my genuine and good relationships, my health, and my future. And I want to rest for my grief. It needs some time off…it was triggered like nothing I’ve experienced before. I thought seven years down the line, it would be a whisper in the breeze. Turns out, grief is a deflated balloon that can get blown around from time to time; any wind gust can pick it up and flap it around.

This year I will treat my grief like a hot air balloon that can take me to spectacular heights and on amazing journeys of discovery. I will hop in the basket, give it some air, and let it soar to a space where I can breathe above the craziness that insists on running frantically below.

Welcome, 2023. It’s time to rest.   

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Published by ancarroll

Alexandra N. Carroll is an author, grief advocate, crafter, mother, and partner. She writes on grief and self-care from her home in Vermont. Her forthcoming book concerns how to untangle life-after-loss through the creation of a strong self-care plan.

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