And so, another year is nearly over. I feel like i have been saying this every day since thanksgiving, but I’m now officially at my traditional end-of-year breaking point. In fact I think I’m already broken. I thought i had more left in me but no: it would appear from my general inability to think straight or summon up the energy to do anything- anything at all – that I’m done for the year, and being away from home is only serving to highlight that fact to me. In all ways I am kaput. I am the holy trinity of broken – in body, blood and spirit. And although I would not lay the blame at the door of our trip, I appreciate this now-familiar feeling is cyclical and that the process of reenergising can only begin when the heady combination of christmas and travelling has finished me off entirely.
I can hardy believe it really, that a full twelve months have sped by since i last sat writing a similar entry surrounded by icy winds, warm fires and the american side of the family in Salem, MA.This year finds me sitting in the confines of a little wooden cabin plonked in the middle of a golf course in the deepest depths of Essex. We’ve enjoyed a great Christmas so far; starting with 40th birthday celebrations (not mine, I hasten to add!) where I got to catch up with most of my best and oldest friends in the world, followed by family galore for the past few days. And we still have the arrival of the final ‘nana’ (aka the mother in law) to come, which (and no, I am not being paid to say this) will be a wonderful second half to the festivities. After that, however, it is with a big grin on my face and testament to how much has changed for me this past year, that I think I will be glad to go ‘home’ and get 2013 started.
For starters there’s the weather- I’m surrounded by perpetual dark and cold and much as I’m enjoying the apocalyptic rainfall, it has to be said I’m rather missing the sun. Although to be honest I’m missing my housemaid more. And my shoes. And for the love of turkey, i have to stop consuming carbs and chocolate and alcohol as if they were actually part of my 5 a day, and get some exercise. I admit, I could have done with a tad more toning at the gym this past month than I strictly bothered with, but i managed to make it this far without breaking out the spanx. Five days in the uk have changed all that. You know those ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures you see in the magazine classifieds for liposuction? Well before, I was the ‘after’. And now, I’m the ‘before’. For the past few days, I have been sporting a look that would have you think i was about six months pregnant, a combination of too many chips and dips and a frightening quantity of built up gas from excessive Brussels sprout consumption. Words I thought I would never say: I need to go back to Dubai so I eat less.
Jet lag and lack of sleep combined with drinking shed loads mean not only am I the generous side of svelte, but I’m also exhausted. Christmas + pubs + the unpuritanical approach to alcohol consumption at any time of day or night by my family = broken liver. My body is working overtime to deal with near continuous alcohol processing, and this, combined with sleeping in a bed made for Hobbits and a duvet that may or may not be possessed by the devil, is destroying me. I feel a desperate need to lie in a quiet room made of ryvita crackers and peppermint tea and sleep until 2013.
Finally, my spirit. Transcontinental travel with a three year old at the end of a long year followed by intense concentrations of family could have been stressful, if indeed I had the energy to work up a sweat. Instead I have let most things wash over me, my biggest decisions so far being whether to buy brandy mince pies or normal ones and if I should bother with the strictly come dancing final having missed the rest of the series. This is a sign of true knackeredness, that I have retired from decision making, organising, or being bothered about very much at all, in fact. I have let my son climb over furniture, watch too much tv and eat rubbish all day in a bid to have a quiet life. I have mentally turned off, tuned in and dropped out. I stare vacantly at the textbooks I should be reading before Jan 14th and keep hoping they will be digested intravenously somehow so I don’t have to go to the bother of picking them up. The last of my brainpower went into writing gift tags and I am frankly struggling to get the end of this post without passing out over the iPad.
What of next year? I can see its shape forming slowly, rising out if the fog that currently occupies the place in my head where my brain should be. I am excited to be involved in so much but pretty nervous about how I will cope. It’s going to be busy, hard work, and fun, and with less time for reflection as a result. I worry something will have to give and I have toyed several times lately with the idea that maybe this blog has run its course, that the tortured ramblings of my earliest posts have slowly been overtaken by slightly smug ‘my life is awesome’ entries that might produce nausea and vomiting in readers prone to that sort of thing. I fear the idea i started with, of writing about the trials of ‘trailing’, is no longer valid. The self-therapy worked, the angst is gone, so what now? But I’m not sure I’m ready to give it up just yet, or maybe it is not quite done with me. After all, why should trailing just be about being miserable? It doesn’t have to be a car crash to make it interesting. (Right??)
Right now of course, i am a bad judge of everything, and making time management decisions (well any kind of decision really) will be left for another day. I am running on empty and waiting for the chance to refuel. This little period between Christmas and new year seems to me to be the ideal time to hit rock bottom and start figuring out how to climb back up again. And you know what? I am more than happy with that idea. The idea of being broken. Because really, I’m not broken at all. Just the opposite in fact. 2012 has been a special year for me in many ways. I have met fun, extraordinary people who make me laugh out loud. I have learned, finally, to embrace the art of being an expat, a mother, and most of all, myself. I achieved my goal to make the most of being in Dubai, to make the most of my capabilities and talents, to become confident in myself again and to actually enjoy life. The only thing I failed at was learning to play tennis, but you shouldn’t rush these things.I have had the best year of my expat life and I’m convinced 2013 will be even better. I can see with increasing clarity that you get out what you put in, and I am determined this year should be all about doing both in huge quantities. I have missed so much of life by wishing it was different that its time now to embrace the fact that it IS different, and all the better for it.
Wishing you all a happy new year, full of energy, creativity, love and laughter. See you when the fog has cleared.