I never have cared very much for January. For many it begins with Auld Lang Syne, New Year's resolutions, and sometimes a 'word of the year'. For me, however, it has often brought with it much uncertainty, unexpected challenges and even loss. As you can imagine, I usually dread the start of a new year, and I realise my feelings of apprehension and foreboding only serve to exaggerate any existing sense of impending doom. Some years, I have tried my hardest to remain upbeat and positive, but that didn't particularly help - I don't think I was convincing anyone, especially not myself!
This year, I have tried a far more gentle approach. I found myself quietly going about my days, not putting any pressure on myself and simply focusing on my working week - with the occasional walk on the weekends when the weather has allowed. My pace has been unhurried and slower, taking things day by day. And even though I've not been quite as productive as usual, what I have achieved has been far more intentional, and this is exactly what I need just now. A time to heal, a time to let go, a time to just simply 'be'. My absence in this space has been deliberate, just dipping in now and again to enjoy a quick read. I had hoped that if I kept my head down, and quietly tiptoed my way through the month, then the more unwelcome parts might simply pass me by. And for the most part this has been the case, although I am sure this has been more to do with fortunate coincidence than anything I may or may not have actually done :)
I am happy to report that my back is recovering well after the 'incident'. I discovered that continued gentle movement has helped far more than simply resting, and although I have yet to attempt going for a run, I'm sure it won't be too far off. I have kept walks at a low level, partly with me being uncertain of my abilities just now, but mainly because of the awful wet weather. Even on dry days, it has been incredibly cold, and on the higher fells the snow and ice would have been far too treacherous for walking.
Whilst out of the main tourist season, we have ventured to some parts of The Lakes which would usually be quite busy, and therefore not particularly enjoyable to visit. Right now, they are peaceful and quiet, just as I like it.
I have also been spending this last month being more mindful of my diet. Stodgy sandwiches have been replaced by some very tasty salads. I've found preparation is the key, rather than finding myself reaching for the quickest solution when I am feeling hungry. And I am trying very hard not to give into temptation too often, which is easier said than done when I have such a sweet tooth :) I am still providing a cake for the Warm Space each week, so at least I can still have the enjoyment of baking. And last week, I spent a busy evening in the kitchen making marmalade. One day I might even manage to do it without getting both myself and the kitchen into such a sticky mess! Never mind, it tastes delicious. I couldn't bring myself to make any last year, as my dad would have been the first person I would have given a jar to. He used to joke that he found it easier walking on the days he had enjoyed some - because of the added brandy!
It has been a quiet few weeks, for which I am relieved. And now I hope to spend some time catching up properly with everyone over the next few days.
It's good to see you back Jules, I'm sorry you've been having a bit of a rough time but hopefully the increasing daylight hours will make you feel a bit more 'human' again. Now if only this wet weather would go away....ReplyDelete
Your photos are great as always, I particularly like the first one and the marmalade looks deliciously colourful :-)
Thank you, Eunice. My back feels much better now, but the real test will be when I try going for a run. XDelete
"And even though I've not been quite as productive as usual, what I have achieved has been far more intentional, and this is exactly what I need just now." That sounds very productive to me. I am so glad to hear that you have been able to have a quiet few weeks, it sounds perfect for this time of year. I am also glad to hear that your back is slowly improving, I do hope it continues to do so.ReplyDelete
Wise words, as usual, my friend. And I'm almost certain it was your lovely self who once mentioned we were not designed to be overly productive at this time of year. Instead it should be a time for stillness and rest. XDelete
I was happy to see a new post from you, today; I had been a little concerned about you. I've read that many people find January to be a difficult time for one reason or another. I'm glad that you are well and your back is recovering. Take all the time you need to heal and recover. May February be a better month for you. :)ReplyDelete
Thank you, Bless. It feels good to be 'back again'. XDelete
Quiet is good...time to breathe, time to rest the worried mind, time to just stop being a part of the frenzy that often surrounds us. Your instinct is telling you exactly what will be best for you... take a break, breathe clean air, listen to the stillness...sometimes our souls are just tired. What you're doing is just perfect...thanks for the reminder that it's time for me to take a deep breath.ReplyDelete
You have summarised this just beautifully, Mary. My soul was tired. XDelete
So many positives in your post. I especially like your marmalade photo (must get going with the Seville oranges) and your last paragraph. Good luck with the diet!ReplyDelete
The marmalade is delicious, Chris. I am glad I decided to make it this year. XDelete
How lovely to read this. I'm so glad you are slowly and gently healing and do hope this continues through February and beyond. Much love to you. xxReplyDelete
Thank you, Joy. XDelete
Oh, and the marmalade looks wonderfully delicious. xxReplyDelete
It is. I am spreading it on my toast most mornings. And to think I was trying to cut back on eating too much bread :)Delete
Lovely to see a post pop up from you, Jules!ReplyDelete
In my several years of managing a chiropractic clinic, the first thing I'd advice patients with minor injuries was to keep moving. Lying down and resting is the worst thing. I'm glad you're able to get out and about more and you're a bit more hopeful and optimistic at the start of this year. xxx
Thank you, Vix. Sitting around wasn't helping me, in fact it only made me feel even more uncomfortable. The gentle approach seems to have helped. XDelete
I empathise Jules, I totally understand how you feel about a new year and I'm glad you are on the mend. The days are getting longer and not quite as cold now and Spring will soon be here. Take care xxReplyDelete
You are absolutely right, of course :) Just a moment ago, I thought I could hear music. It was the birds singing their dawn chorus! Such a joyful sound. XDelete
I'm glad your back is improving, can you ever heal properly, I know my back still often twinges, January is a much nicer month when you drop all the beginning of the year stuff, life is about everyday, not making changes on one day.ReplyDelete
Fortunately, so far I haven't felt any twinges. I'm almost certain I only suffered from being badly bruised. The real test will be when I try going for a run. XDelete
Glad February has arrived and with it that glorious looking marmalade. Your photographs show the Lakes in a different light from that on the postcards - but interesting in a different way. Have a good February.ReplyDelete
These images were taken of lesser photographed areas. The last one is looking over towards the Coniston fells . If I had turned to my right, I would have captured the much more recognisable Langdale Pikes:)Delete
For Anon read WeaverReplyDelete
Thank you, Pat. I hope you are keeping well. XDelete
Hello, my friend. Your thoughts and words on your January days are beautiful, and so similar to how I feel about the pressure of resolutions, word for the year, a fresh new start, and so on. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how you avoided all that. I am inspired by you! Your marmalade looks amazing! My very first thought was that my dear father would have loved a jar of it! Stay cozy. So happy to see you here this cold morning.ReplyDelete
I am thinking that a possible solution, to make it through next January unscathed, could be hibernation! XDelete
Happy February Jules I'm sorry to hear that your start to the year was so challenging for you, it sounds as if you are doing all the right things lets hope that things improve from now on. The marmalade looks lovely and I bet it tastes yummy. xxReplyDelete
Thank you, Linda. And A very Happy February to you as well. XDelete
January usually holds the negative feels for me - for no real reason apart from the driech, grey, mush the days seems to relish in. But this year - despite January feeling rather long - it seemed better this year. Think I am learning to look past the dreariness and melancholic-ness of it all and see gentle beauty and soft colours. Sending gentle hugs xReplyDelete
January felt like such a long month, and I'm sure the awful weather didn't help. But I'm sure there must be something I can do to try and alleviate my dislike of this time of year. XDelete
Lovely to hear from you and good that you have been taking life slow and easy. I would quite like to make marmalade but we eat so little that it would be wasted. I remember going to the Lakes one February half term to a house in Ambleside and found it to be so busy I was glad to get back home. I hope you feel a little more of the positivity you are seeking as February progresses.xxReplyDelete
I expect I will be giving away some of my marmalade, as I have been trying to cut back on the amount of bread I eat. It is delicious, however :)Delete
Yes, there are certain areas of The Lakes I will always avoid during peak holiday season. X
I’m glad you’ve had a better start to the year. That marmalade looks fabulous. I haven’t made some for quite a while . B xReplyDelete
Thank you, Barbara. XDelete
Yes goodbye to January and hello to February ... the evenings are getting a little lighter and we have daffodil bunches for sale in the supermarkets, always a cheering sight.ReplyDelete
Your marmalade looks good...
I enjoyed your photographs...
So pleased to read that your back is improving...
Enjoy your February days.
All the best Jan
It was still a little bit light here at 5 o'clock last night. It is usually about February when this becomes noticeable.Delete
I have daffodils on my kitchen windowsill :) X
I've just been catching up having missed your end of December posts and having been absent from Blogland quite a lot myself for various reasons. I do hope that your back is improving (they can be problematic things at times!) and that life settles down for you. I enjoyed your Edinburgh photos - a City Centre I know well after many years spent there on business and visiting for pleasure.ReplyDelete
Your marmalade is food for the body and those wonderful photos are the equivilent for the soul. May there be many more of them.
Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.
Such lovely words. Thank you, Graham.Delete
I am hoping the weather might be pleasant enough for another walk this weekend. X
It's so good to see you back here, Jules. I'm happy to hear that your back is healing - that's good news. I've also been trying to eat more salads and vegetables, and things like steel cut oats for breakfast. Although I did make brownies today, and I ate more then I should have - they might just be my best batch yet. Enjoy the marmalade. It's been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl. I'm excited for this new month and I am very much looking forward to longer days and more brightness.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Julia.Delete
The funny thing is, that I never liked marmalade as a child. I thought it smelled 'funny', so I refused to try it! :) I must be making up for lost time by eating so much of it now. X
A restorative January! I am glad you made it through January by being kind to yourself and allowing yourself to just be. The marmalade looks delicious!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Christina. I'm just about to enjoy some more of the marmalade with my breakfast. XDelete
Welcome back, and well done for not letting the past month get the better of you. Nature designed this time of year as one for rest and recuperation.ReplyDelete
PS: In defence of January, the month itself might not be the problem - it's the one-hundred-and-eleventy-seven days between December and February which are tiresome. 😆
Thank you, Jayne. Yes, you're absolutely right, of course. The earth is resting at this time of year, as should we. XDelete
Well...rather glad to report that the dreaded month has passed. Here's to February and the rest of the year. Glad to hear that your body is recovering, xReplyDelete
January does feel like a month which we just have to somehow make it through, rather than enjoy. I like that all is quiet, after the busyness of December, but I feel like we should have something to make it that little bit more 'bearable'. XDelete
Hi Jules, Those are gorgeous photos! You are wise to take things slowly and carefully. I know what you mean about the cold weather. We have had so many hikers fall to their deaths up at Mount Baldy. It's just too dangerous with the ice, in my opinion.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Stephenie. I know my limits up on the fells, and anyway, I much prefer hiking when the weather is warm and sunny. XDelete
Welcome back to bloggyville Jules :) Your rocket fueled marmalade looks amazing! It could be an art installation. In fact, it reminds me of an artist that makes San Francisco cityscapes out of jelly. January is such a wishy washy month, roll on February (one of my favourite months). I've been enjoying some salads recently too - full of beet leaves, olives, feta cheese, crunchy radishes & celery. Oooh, I'm making myself hungry & it's not even breakfast time. Have a fab week xXxReplyDelete
Thank you, Lulu. It's good to be back.Delete
I've just this minute finished preparing a salad to eat for my lunch, which I will eat just as soon as I finish work for the morning. That was often a time when I would reach for the most convenient food, instead of something which would have been far more nourishing. Xx
You didn't me tion Lily. Isshe not with you all the time?ReplyDelete
You're right, I didn't! Although I'm not quite sure why that would be of concern to anyone. XDelete
Hello Jules . I'm glad to see you here and that you are dealing with life one day at a time in your own way. January has been hard here this year with the loss of a close relative and all that involves but we are doing the same as you, quietly and gently one day at a time. Take care of yourself .ReplyDelete
I have skipped marmalade making this year as I still have some left from last year but next year I will have a sticky January kitchen x
Thank you, Beverley. I'm very sorry to hear of your loss. Quietly and gently is often the best way.Delete
I'm pleased to know I'm not the only one who manages to get the kitchen in a sticky mess when making marmalade :)
Take care of yourself. Xx
A new year can be a struggle to many, whereas others see it as a clean slate to start over. It's important to tread carefully and do whatever we need to do to get through the times which are hard for us. On a positive note, the snowdrops are blooming and daffodils are pushing their way through the soil, spring will soon be here.ReplyDelete
It is so lovely to see the snowdrops, and to know that daffodils will soon be here as well. I m looking forward to some warm spring days. XxDelete