My new job is making me ill.
I’ve been spending today in bed, tucked under a mountain of blankets and Kleenex tissues, fighting for breath. I’ve read a little, had a little tea, sent a few emails, but mostly I’ve just sat there, hopelessly trying to fool myself into falling asleep. Thinking.
2015 is shaping up into a strange year.
I’ve been meaning to write about things more than once these past few weeks, and more than once I’ve decided not to. I couldn’t say why.
Originally, my first post of the year was meant to be very different from what you’re reading now.
I was going to title it “Happy in a jar”, and I’d have written about this friend who’s been keeping a large jar on her desk all year. Hapinesses, 2014, it said on the label, and every time something made her really happy, she wrote it on a post-it and dropped it in there. I was going to write about how she’d opened it and gone through the dozen or so yellow happy squares. Silly things, she’d told me afterwards. Things she’d forgotten about. A new pair of shoes, a kiss at the end of a movie date, a job promotion. Things that didn’t matter, she said, but I wasn’t sure.
I wasn’t sure that happinesses weren’t in fact almost always the sum of things that didn’t matter, and that’s what I would have written about.
But then, you know, something extraordinary happened.
In between traipsing the country, postponing resolutions and raising our glasses, my friend C got in touch for the first time in almost two years.
He’d gone home for the holidays and found a notebook I’d written for him the summer before we graduated. A parting gift, it would be, but we din’t know it then.
We spoke for six hours, through the night and well into the morning. Things we’d left unsaid for almost a decade, pains we’d hidden, lies we’d lied. We didn’t leave anything out and only after we’d said goodbye and I was at last getting ready for bed, only after I’d wiped my mascara off and I’d stepped into the shower, did I cry the cry I’d been holding in me for god knows how long.
So the next day, I binned my “Happy in a Jar” post and started a new one. I was going to call it “Videli Noci” and I’d have written about my friendship with C, and how after The Year I Almost Had Cancer, The Year I Fell Out With My Sister and The Year Of Our First Home, 2015 had chances to become the greatest year of all. The Year Of A Never Ending Friendship.
But what I realised as I was writing about C, was that I wasn’t really. I wasn’t writing about him, that is. I was writing to him. And I wasn’t writing a blog post but, as scary as it seems even now, many days later, I was writing a book.
There’s one thing I’m more and more convinced of these days, when I’ve got no choice but go with the flow and look back on my life, draw a line and make new resolutions like all self respecting adults: it feels like I’ve never seen anything coming, ever. Like every minor, average or life-changing thing that’s ever happened to me, even the carefully planned ones, ended up following unexpected paths and taking me by surprise. Scary, right?
At least this book thing, it’s a good kind of scary.
What with all the craziness going on in the world and in my world, what with this new job looking really shiny and exciting from a distance but showing its dents and scratches the moment you step closer, what with waiting by the phone for new test results (I thought The Year I Almost Had Cancer was done and dusted, but is anything ever?), what with relationships being what they are, uphills and downhills for ever and ever until you’ve worn the soles of your shoes paper thin, well, what with all that and more, the thought of having a book inside me makes me feel good. Of all things, a book! Sure, I’ve got no idea how to pluck the thing out of me and I probably never will, but it’s there, and that’s really something.
So there. That’s me these days. I walk, I talk, I forget things.
As for us all… It’s probably time we did something extraordinary for once. Who knows, we could try growing new limbs soon, new hearts, it sure feels like just the right time for our bodies to rebel and do something crazy like that. Crazy enough to change the world. 2015 sure sounds magical, doesn’t it?
Time will tell.
In the meantime, I’m wishing you all overflowing Happiness Jars this year!