Is it too early to think about New Year Resolutions? I had an early Christmas present yesterday which made me think about my main New Year Resolution. Of course, I intend to lose a stone, stop drinking and become an amazing parent (rather than an OK parent, on a good day). But let’s just be realistic here. My main goal for this year is simply this: not to fuck up, not even once, for the entire year.
My early present as delivered by the postman was, in fact, a job offer. Confirmation that I now have a proper job, with a contract and everything! This (statement of particulars blah blah)….confirms your appointment to the post of Administrative and Personal Assistant, said the contract, which I read over and over, clapping my hands like an excited seal. So, Administrative and Personal Assistant may not sound like the most high flying job in the world. I have a Masters degree and have even managed a professional job for a full stretch of 4 years. Admin Assistant may not sound like an enormous achievement, but to me it is.
It is part of my slow climb back onto the rungs of this ladder of life that I’m supposed to be trying to climb. The one I keep falling off.
Sometimes it seems as if my life is one long crisis, but I worked out recently that this isn’t the case. I just have intermittent ‘off days’ (or weeks). The problem is that these off days always end in crisis. I can’t have an off day like a normal person and just shout at the dog or something. No, I go and fire off angry impulsive emails to the boss. Or have a panic attack and not go to work. I’ve even been known to get on a plane to some far-flung destination, with no money and no plan…In short, my ‘off days’ are days where my destructive impulses gain free reign and don’t leave me until I have ensured that there is no way back to life as it was. In the aftermath, I have to find a way to start over again.
Life, in short, is not always rose-tinted. Sometimes I am lost in the blackest of fogs. Sometimes I have a desire to smash up my own life.
I have never given much thought as to why I do this. I assumed that I behaved this way because of external circumstances; and I have been in some pretty extreme circumstances in my life. It has never occurred to me to wonder why I land in such circumstances, with such regularity. I have never valued monetary reward or prioritised having a ‘career’, and so my habit of losing jobs seemed to fit in with my world view, I guess. I could always find another low-paid job for which I was over-qualified. I assumed that when I reached maturity I would be able to cope better with work. However, I am now 40 years old and still plagued by these bad times, which I am probably now ready to admit are a problem for me.
Other people have always had their own explanations (I’ve been called ‘mad’ and ‘crazy’, and not in sympathetic terms). I wasn’t brought up to believe in mental illness, I think that my parents and my studies led me to believe that it is largely a social construct, a label which could be used to attack and discredit me. Which is kind of how it has always felt when people have called me mad, depressed or ill. These words are used to belittle, to gain the upper hand, to dehumanise…
It never occurred to me that admitting to having a problem and getting support could be an enabling thing; that understanding my mental states in terms of ‘illness’ could make me stronger.
These blogs have struck a chord with me, made me think about this.
I don’t want to fuck up, but that is no guarantee that I won’t. This year, my 40th, is going to be the year that I try to find out how to not fuck up. Or how to cope better when/if I do. I can see how a blog about this could be helpful; therapeutic for me. Maybe even helpful for others, as the above blogs were helpful for me. For this reason, I am going to start another blog in the New Year – one for the dark side. Maybe by the end of the year I will have found a way to integrate the two sides of my personality! but for now, I will seperate them, keeping this blog for my rosy side, for the amusing and the optimistic, and the other one for ‘therapy’.
For now, I’m going to sign the contract and return it, as instructed, and celebrate this new start I’ve been given; this second (9th?) chance….Like a cat with 9 lives, I may well be on my last and I don’t intend to mess this one up…