New Year’s Essay, 2018

I rarely, if ever, make New Year’s resolutions. I feel that if there is something in my life that needs changing, then it should be addressed straight away, rather than leaving it until an arbitrary date in the future. Of course, for many people it acts as a focus or some other incentive to change old habits, although witness the number of gym memberships that never get used beyond, say, the end of January, and it becomes obvious that what many people need to change most is their resolve.

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Possibly jumping the gun a little with this photo…

As an introvert, I am very curious to know whether much of my behaviour is conditioned by my being that, or whether it is my behaviour that causes my introversion in the first place. It’s probably a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, of course, with both applying equally. My introversion is surely driven by those elements of anxiety, my inferiority complex and the depression I’ve always lived with, and, in turn, those things will be reinforced by my chosen introverted lifestyle.

But we are complex creatures. Like Harry Haller in Hermann Hesse’s excellent novel Steppenwolf, each one of us consists of many different personalities. Our characters will be made up of a mixture of the cultivated soul, the wild, untamed soul (the ‘wolf of the steppes’ in Hesse’s book), the dancer, the monk, the shopaholic, the miser…all those elements will be there to a greater or lesser degree. And alongside the Introvert exists also the Extrovert, even if this personality is rather repressed in my case. It is all a matter of balance.

It seems much worse in the winter, too. I am certain I am affected by SAD; it seems entirely logical that I should feel low when the weather is cold and grey and bleak, and perk up when the sun comes out. Perhaps we all do.

Yesterday, the weather was the pits. Cold, grey, and bleak, with added showers of freezing cold rain and a wind that cut through me like a knife. I really felt like crap. But today, I walked out under a clear blue sky, a bright sun glinting off the puddles and the grass rippling in a mild, gentle breeze. These are the moments I need to seize; to wrestle my soul back from the darkness. The moments I need to shake off the black dog and point myself towards the little things I can do to lift myself.

I remind myself that I have a published book that people have been nice about, therefore not all my writing is meaningless drivel. I have sold many paintings, and a lot of people have enthused over them. I can paint, and I don’t need to destroy them all. Family and friends do matter, and they do care about me. There will be warm, sunny days and expeditions.  There will be walks and bottles of wine shared. There will be wonderful books to read and interesting places to visit.

And so, I resolve to fight that bastard black dog for another year.

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50 thoughts on “New Year’s Essay, 2018

  1. Mick, I could write the very same things about myself. I love the ways you find optimism as well. I should take a lesson. Thank you for sharing this and wishing you a wonderful 2018. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mick, I always enjoy your blog, and appreciate your perspective and candor. Sometimes I think writing through pain and melancholy gives us the gifts of insight and personal growth. And reading about another’s journey through struggle can offer those gifts, as well. I hope to read many more of your posts and your thoughts in the coming year. And hope 2018 brings you peace and pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Donna. I’m sure we do always write best about things we know and understand. The difficult thing can be to take the lessons we learn and understand and apply them at the times we need them most.

      And a very happy 2018 to you too, Donna.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kath1948

    I relate to introvert, gray winters, and since moving to this island, a feeling that I need little. I don’t miss the stress of fitting in. Anyway, lots of complex and personal quirks have only reinforced themselves with age…….I do miss being a caregiver and assisting those that need help, but that’s the extent of my socializing and that was years; eight of them.
    I’m learning from your essays and I hope you keep writing.
    Happy New Year Dear Cousin!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kathryn. And a very happy New Year to you, too.

      I agree that age plays a part, too. For reasons I don’t understand, all of the issues I mentioned have reinforced themselves / become more severe as I have got older.

      Like

  4. you are the third or fourth person i read mentioning something about crowded january gyms. the first two times i actually thought was some sort of joke, but i’m really wondering now. do people really try to straighten out their lives at the beginning of each year?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Keep fighting it, Mick! I know some days are harder than others, but there is always something in our lives that will give us joy if only we are strong enough to see it. I hope you have a wonderful new year…you deserve it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I resolve to travel more in 2018. Somewhere. There – a nice, vague, attainable resolution. As for your gloom, remember the long black nights are already getting shorter, the dismal grey days aren’t any worse than they were that year you blew them off, and all your friends, followers, and countrymen are still around to lend you their ears (and eyeballs).

    Happy New Year, Mick.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Depression is a hard condition to defeat, but two things I learned during my own bout might help. The tendency during depression is to become self-obsessed; making the effort to do something for someone else seems to break that particular strand.
    And, rather oddly, placing a smile on your face, regardless of how little you feel like it, how strange that may seem, does have a positive effect on mood.
    These worked for me, so I pass them on in the hope they may help others.
    All the very best for the New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It does!
        Winning those rounds makes the fighting an inevitability…
        Apparently I am a depressed optimist… no matter how bad I feel it is always with the fight because it will get better…
        I’ll lend you a mental flamethrower if you need it!

        Liked by 1 person

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