Looking Forward

I am a firm believer in having something to look forward to, especially in these dark months of winter and January with it’s Blue Monday*, which will almost certainly be followed by Grey Tuesday and Meh Wednesday.

I’ll admit: the dreaded January is really only about 3 weeks as the twelve days of Christmas here in Ireland roll right into the first week of the month, taking us up to the 6th, Nollaig na mBan, Women’s Christmas. Those days, for me, are filled with our annual walk with friends, followed by cosy fires and warming drinks; an invite to the glittering party at the Gatsby Mansion (also known as The Gate Theatre’s production of The Great Gatsby, and yes, we will be all pearls and feather boas); easy mornings and coffees with friends; finishing with dinner on Nollaig na mBan with my local women, the tribe that makes this neighbourhood so much my home.

But then I have to take down the tree, unwrap the house, and face into an awkward minor medical procedure, jury duty, the 2018 accounts and government forms and reports for work, plus trauma training — that’s all by the 13th. Actually, I’m kind of looking forward to trauma training** although I will miss at least half of the day because of jury duty.

My office, the sheds, the garden all need attention. There are decisions to be made about the year, poems to write, and a non-fiction piece that should only need a bit of editing by now but is little more than an opening sentence. There will probably be lots of rain, most certainly clouds and grey.

This is where my inner optimist kicks in and I focus on plans I have made that just give me that little something to look forward to:

  • dinner in January with some amazing women whose love and strength is a backbone of support.
  • I celebrate ten years at my job and though I wonder where that decade has gone, I think I need to mark it in some way. Cake would be especially appropriate because most of the lunch times one of those years was spent talking about cake, and sometimes even eating it.
  • my daughter and I are taking our first trip as just the two of us at the end of February, a little adventure for this season.
  • in the months ahead we have friends and family coming to check out our hospitality and see if it is up to scratch; I’m already looking forward to laughter and chat around our table.

I’m not saying that a few fun things in the future are a sure cure for depression, but I know my own mental health improves if I can see that there is more to my life than just what I can see around me.

It’s like the Spire in Dublin city centre: I love the way it draws your eye up and up, until you can’t even see the streets and the people around you and all there is is the flashing light at the top, and sky.


As you look ahead into the new year, I hope and pray that you too will see joy ahead: the tribes that you love, great conversations around tables, special journeys, and above you, light and sky.

Wishing you all the best for 2019!



*”Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year, calculated by Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher at the University of Cardiff’s Center for Lifelong Learning.
Factors used to calculate the date included weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing our New Year’s resolutions, low motivation and feeling the need to take action.” — from Urban Dictionary.

** The counsellor from ACET, where I work, is developing a training program for people who work with those affected by trauma. Since most of our staff daily face trauma of varying levels, we are together going through the sessions.


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