247. Lightening the darkness

 

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This time of the year brings me down, without fail.

It’s not so much Christmas. I enjoy the day itself and love the family around the table, although the prelude tends to feel alien, what with the endless advertisements, and the inane talk about whether one has “the Christmas spirit”.

It’s the lack of daylight that truly depletes me.  Even the brighter days are too short, and finish with the prospect of 16 hours of darkness. It’s so miserable. Sunny months are about 50 times more enjoyable.

I woke up this morning wishing that I could stay in bed all day. Or that a snap of my fingers could make it mid-February. One of the cats scratched on the bedroom door at about 6.45, so I got up to feed the six of them, cursing.

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Then back to bed. But couldn’t get back to sleep. There was nothing for it but to meditate. Two pairs of socks on and a jumper over my pyjamas. Nice and quiet in the house. Eyes shut, letting the thoughts enter and pass, returning to the mantra. And praise be, about halfway through, I felt myself tap into an unknown source of energy. It brought a sharpness, and joy, and in another 10 minutes I had turned the mood around.

The good vibe stayed. Maureen’s Australian great niece and nephew visited at 11, and we walked them down the local lanes so that they could cut some holly to make Xmas wreaths.

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We had a great chat about the differences between England and Australia, and then my mobile rang.

It was a local company that I have applied to for employment. After an interview last week, the woman said I could start the new job by ‘shadowing’ another worker, in a few days’ time. As a visiting care worker, mainly looking after the elderly.

It’s an utterly new world for me. One that will require training and working as part of a visiting twosome before a solo ‘round’ is allocated.

It feels right, because I have taken so much recent pleasure from helping my dad whenever I visit him. Sorting his medication, getting his shopping, other domestic tasks and, best of all, sitting and talking with him. It’s a challenge, as his dementia is worsening, but I had begun to notice how much pleasure it gave me to have made his day better and provided companionship. We rolled about laughing the other day when I reminded him that during one of his jobs, in an office, he put a note on the door warning that “Christmas cards will not be reciprocated”. (Does the apple not fall far from the tree?)

Obviously, it will be a big step to try and extend that into a new profession, but, like I say, it feels right. I’ve been sitting in front of a PC for 26 years, and there will still be a fair chunk of that – but balanced by a new set of daily faces. Precious human interaction. I’ll give it my best shot. Hope it’s good enough.

So, a day that started like a dark ditch is ending on an upbeat note. Even better, the solstice is almost here, and the days will lengthen gloriously again for six months.

 

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16 thoughts on “247. Lightening the darkness

  1. Fantastic news Kevin, brilliant and I think (I’m not making presumptions) that we share a similar laidback mindset. I believe that you will take to it like the proverbial duck. Really genuinely happy for you buddy, well done 👍👍

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  2. Really pleased about the job Kevin, although challenge I am sure it will be full of rewards. It was one of the things I found hard about this adventure: not working. It has taken me awhile to realise that I have to look at it in a different way. (I feel a blog coming on). Seriously though here is to a new chapter. ❤️

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  3. That line of work is a calling not for everyone. After an industrial injury my Dad took to it as he’d lost the use of one arm. I never saw it in him but he has flourished through it. It’s put so much more fuel on his fire. You’ll be grand

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  4. I deeply felt today what you were saying above about the darkness coming so fast in winter. It seemed like we got up today and only a few hours went by before the sun was already setting and it felt like something inside me was setting with it. I love the summer when it’s still light outside at 8:00. I wasn’t able to pull my mood around but I’m glad you did. And congrats on the job offer too. I have a friend who started working for Meals on Wheels and has gotten great satisfaction from it.

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  5. First two days left me feeling wiped out for a few hours afterwards Stace. I saw a totally different set of circumstances to my own. People with no family or in deep physical and/or mental decline. Very sobering. Anyway, today is the solstice, so onwards and upwards! ❤️

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  6. Oy. Deep physical and/or mental decline is a lot more emotionally rigorous than the Meals on Wheels folks who are for the most part still ambulatory and capable of caring for themselves. They’re mostly just lonely and talk a lot, which my friend enjoys taking part in. That’s a heavy duty deal, Kevin. Strength of spirit to you and, as you say, onwards and upwards! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  7. Hey Kevin! I’m behind times as usual but so glad to hear of your job, I hope it is working out for you! I used to volunteer in our local nursing home and it was a real joy to be with these people and help out in little ways. There was challenges too but most jobs have that. Enjoy your day Kevin! I agree, the long summer days are much better! These days of 8 hours daylight are way too short and all that darkness does zap a person’s energy. Looking forward to summer where daylight arrives at 4 am and stays until after 10pm!😀😀😺😺

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