Some years are just earmarked for growth.
They are painful, trying, and ultimately you come out the other end changed in some way.
Last year was just like this.
But life is about change and if I don't get it, I sabotage myself. It's a pattern that I'm familiar with and however much I know it's true, doesn't stop it from happening. So after five years at the one job, every little thing started to build up to one great big thing, like a pyramid built stone by stone, layer upon layer; the weight of standing still overcame me.
Instead of bowing out with dignity and grace - I did what I always do and scurried out of there when one incident gave me the catalyst I needed to leave. Instead of going before it became too much, I waited until I had my "aha, look what you made me do" moment.
What I didn't know, is that it wasn't just the job that was making me feel this way. It wasn't just sick days and feeling anxiety and my legs literally buckling under me for psychosomatic reasons.
I took a job in a plant nursery. My dream job, running it all by myself, in the great outdoors! And the pain remained.
The pain got worse.
After a few months, I could no longer perform the physically demanding job, couldn't sew, couldn't hold a pen properly and the great big break from the Forest Flaw - the thing I loved to do - began.
I took another job in a cafe, I was running for 7 hours with a ten minute break, and in tears by the end. I took another job and another, the pain shot through my body like a bullet. I thought I was having a nervous breakdown and I wasn't even forty. I won't lie, my mind went to some pretty dark places.
Eventually my husband dragged me to the doctors to get some answers. It seems ridiculous now that it took so long before I decided it was a physical problem and not a mental thing. I underwent x-rays and blood tests.
I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
You have surely heard of this; it is an autoimmune disease, that inflames joints and soft tissue in your body. The doctor put me on steroids for a month or so and I nearly cried when I realised I had no pain for the first time in over a year.
You don't know what you've got til it's gone I guess.
Medication is hit and miss, you can bomb yourself out and not function, or put up with pain and get on with life. I chose the latter - not because I am a super martyr, but because I still had so much to do and I wasn't giving up working and creating because my body is a jerk. Also, the diagnosis could have been so much worse -
So here I am, I still work two jobs and do the Forest on the side. I would love to work more from home but sewing copious amounts is not an option for me now. I would love to have more time for painting and making - and I will - (I am bloody minded when I get an idea in my head!) but I am content to be plodding along - walking the tightrope of doing too much one side and being fulfilled mentally, or sitting back sometimes and learning to say 'no'.
Learning is the new black I guess.