Work, Wellness and Willing: How I Plan Not to Screw Up This Year

Another blog post begins with me discussing my lack of blog posts. It’s safe to say that the past few months have seen me spend quite a lot of time thinking about blogging, yet precious little time getting on with it. But then, my energy has been gradually sapped in the past few months and I can only hope that this year will see me bounce back.

On paper, 2014 was phenomenal. I was promoted, worked hard and earned praise in my job; saw Iron Maiden headline a festival; I spent a lot of weekends visiting friends and my boyfriend; went on two wonderful holidays with people I love; finally saw my parents go on their first holiday without kids since before I was born when they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary; went to two wonderful weddings; and crucially, vitally, magically, found another job. On paper, more years should be like this.

But the truth is that for me at least, it certainly didn’t feel that great. I spent a lot of it miserable.

I started job-hunting in January. I was offered my new job on October 31st. For ten months I was applying for jobs, being courted by recruiters, being ignored by recruiters when I told them I didn’t want a job like the one I already had and waiting for replies from employers that never came. The worst were the ones that sounded most promising, to begin with.

We’d like to invite you to an interview for this job you’re actually excited about. Spend the next four hours preparing things for us to see and talk about when we meet you. Then, when you’ve slaved over everything for a whole weekend that could otherwise have been spent applying for jobs, we’ll send you home and by the time you get there, your rejection email will be waiting for you.

There are plenty of people who have struggled more than me, and I know I was fortunate enough to be job-hunting while I already had a job. But as my daily life at work got progressively worse, the feelings of rejection, frustration and downright uselessness took their toll and by the autumn my mood was through the floor. After a horrible August at work, I spent the first week of September on one of the best holidays I’ve ever had – and on more than one occasion I was crying to myself as I watched other people swim.

Like poison in your cup of tea, that drop of misery dissolves into your life. Every sip tastes of it. I was tired, angry and felt utterly helpless.

Sunsets in the Adriatic can cheer anyone up, though.

When I was finally offered another job, I practically danced out of the building. I say “practically” because I couldn’t do so literally, thanks to the limp and knee pain I’d been nursing for weeks. I’m now in physiotherapy, trying to strengthen the weak muscles around my knees, inner thighs and hips that mean I can’t walk to the train station in the morning unless the painkillers have kicked in. Of course, that means after months of nearly constant pain it’s going to get worse before it gets better, and I’m finding time every day to work my way through a list of exercises that will only get longer.

Right now, it hurts like a bastard. But as I keep telling myself every time I want to cry, at least I still have legs.

My boyfriend and I welcomed in the New Year in a darkened room, watching Batman Returns on a laptop. I’m a New Year Grinch at the best of times, and this year I was not in the mood to wave off the past twelve months and leap into another cycle around the Sun with enthusiasm. Danny DeVito in prosthetics and a top hat seemed like a much more fun distraction. Yet when I look back, what I really see is a good year that I just wasn’t able to enjoy. I don’t know what’s ahead in 2015, but I do know I need to be in a position to make the most of the positives.

So, here are my New Year’s Resolutions.

1. Learn to swim. I spent a lot of time in Croatia watching other people do it, and it’s about time I learned. Also, my physio says I need to exercise more and that swimming is one of the few things that will be kind to my failing joints.
2. Fix my knee. Do the exercises, suffer the pain and hope that by the end of the year I’m not still being overtaken on the pavement by old ladies.
3. Save money. My contract expires at the end of October, and I need to be able to afford a potential spell of unemployment.
4. Have a job at the end of the year. Joblessness is not plan A.
5. Stay in touch. I’m horrendous at maintaining contact with friends scattered across the country, and indeed the world. Special mention goes to my grandparents, with whom I really need to spend more time.
6. Blog more. We’ll see.

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