Oh, January. It is by far my least favourite month. Most years, January and I are not friends. It is cold and grey and dismal and cold and depressing and cold and there’s the post-holiday letdown to deal with and did I mention that it’s cold? The past few years in particular I have found January to be especially difficult, for all these reasons and more. This year, though, things are different. It’s January, and I actually feel…happy.
It is a strange sensation for me to feel happy in January. Ok, yes, there was a little blip in my mood last week, but that is behind me now. Some days, I get lost in thought, thinking about how well things are going at the moment and about how content I am feeling and then I look at the calendar and can’t believe that I am feeling this way in January. I have attributed my elevated mood to several factors:
1. The back-to-work transition has gone really well. I was very worried about how it would all work out, and it actually couldn’t have gone better. Penelope is happy with our nanny, Mark is dealing with the morning chaos like a champ, and I love being back at work. My part-time position is providing me with a great balance of feeling fulfilled with my career and still enabling me to stay on top of things around the house. I am lucky to have a job that I love, and the support I have received from my coworkers has been incredible.
2. The weather this January has been tolerable. Yes, there have been some very cold days, but there have been warmer days mixed in there. We recently had a thaw, so although it’s cold, there isn’t even much snow or ice here at the moment. This means that I don’t have to worry about trying to finagle the stroller through mounds of snow and ice, which is not an easy feat. Last year was terrible- the sidewalks were so treacherous, even the short walk to drop Charlotte off at preschool was a complicated endeavour.
3. My healthy lifestyle initiative has given me more energy and boosted my self-esteem. I can now fit into clothes that I haven’t been able to wear in years. I have improved my tolerance for high-intensity cardio activities and it feels great to go to a class like Body Attack and be able to keep up with the instructor. This is the longest I have kept up with a fitness regime and I’m proud of the way I have been able to fit this into my busy life.
These three factors add up to something which I haven’t experienced in some time: freedom. I am no longer Penelope’s main care provider. Mark, our nanny, and my in-laws are all very involved in her care now, and I can spend time outside the house without worrying. I am enjoying returning to my role as a nurse- I mean, I have a job where the dress code is basically pajamas and running shoes. It is THE BEST! The nice(er) weather means that I can go outside with the girls fairly easily, and we don’t have to spend days cooped up in the house. And my improved level of fitness has freed me from the feelings of shame and guilt that plagued me before I started trying to get healthy.
So right now, I am feeling free and happy and I’m going to enjoy it. I don’t know what is around the corner, but that’s okay. Good or bad, I am able to handle it. And anyway, it won’t be long til it’s spring, and who can’t be happy about that?