Friday, November 15, 2019

Nearing the End, But Not at the End (Slow Down!)

I keep seeing posts saying that it's the last month of the decade, and today I finally squinted at one with dismay and said, "It's still November." Are these numbskulls trying to rob me of my favorite month of the year? Or are they just in a hurry, as many of us seem to be? I am trying to be less in a hurry, thank you very much, so pipe down about the last month of the year and related nonsense until it's actually the last month of the year. And you can skip it then, too, actually. But if you must, please be correct, is what I'm saying.

I've been doing a lot of DIY and seem to have had a burst of culinary creativity. Right now I've got two slow cookers going, some cabbage (hopefully) turning into sauerkraut under a tea towel, some fig jam cooling in jars on the countertop, and injera batter bubbbling gently as the yeast multiplies. This burst began Wednesday, when I woke up to finish organizing the books on the living room shelves. I spent a week and a half taking out the carpet and painting the floorboards white in there, shifting furniture gradually as I went, and the result now that it's done has been a certain gladdening of heart and increase in motivation to do other things. I don't know why.

Well, I do. It's the same reason that my new (to me) shirt makes me feel good. Our surroundings matter. I sometimes wish this weren't true, but then think of all we would miss out on that is good in the world if our surroundings were neglected. Most creative things, I think. I struggle with the balance between creating a space around myself that is peaceful and beautiful, and making sure that I do not do it at the expense of other things (and people) which are more important. (Or maybe as important, but in a different way.) Should I be spending £30 on a can of floorboard paint when there are more and more homeless people out in the cold? What about that same amount on new-to-me clothes? These are things that I think about.

But that's not the point of this post, or it wasn't when I sat down to type it out. I have been thinking a lot about the close of the calendar year and what I hoped would happen during 2019. The theme of the year was permanence, with optimism tagging along. I'm not sure if I've gotten better at optimism. I think maybe what I've gotten better at is acceptance and having a sense of humor when it matters. Permanence, though, we seem to be making some progress on as a family.

In the summer, J received settlement status (also called indefinite leave to remain), and we signed a three year lease on our current house. Three years is a good long time to plan to be somewhere, and makes it worth it to change some things that are bothering me - thus the DIY. J receiving settled status means that the other three of us may now apply, and I will take what a friend calls "the stupid test" - aka the Life in the UK test - on Thursday. Will we have the applications in before 2020 comes calling? I hope so. It will be nice to have that settled (pun intended).

While I can't say they come under the banner of permanence, there are also some other questions which were settled and some responsibilities that I let go of this year. It feels like I am moving forward with a better sense of what works for me. Maybe I am moving into a more permanent life balance? It would be optimistic to think so, but as that was my other word for 2019, I'm just going to go with it, and now dash off for a little more DIY (new curtains!) before dinner.

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