I’m back – I have a new laptop now. Woohoo! If you’re on Twitter, you might be aware that my old one died at the end of 2018, leaving me unable to write my blog in comfort – yes, I could have used my iPad, especially for an unpost, but it just felt like more trouble than it was worth. There’s still a queue of stuff waiting to be written – I haven’t abandoned my blog entirely – and the story of Freyja and co will be told, I assure you. Thank you for your patience. (Your reading is important to me. Please hold while I connect you to the next chapter.)
There’s one blog post I’m not going to write now, because the time for it has passed. It was entitled It’s that time of year again, and it began like this:
Everyone seems to be writing end-of-year reviews just now. It’s a popular time for that, given the arbitrary choice of calendar most of us adhere to. (Thanks, Gregory!) And I don’t see why I shouldn’t join in with the fun!
But it was also a year ago to the day [29 December] that I started this blog, following a promise to my Twitter followers (really just a way of twisting my own arm). So it seems especially appropriate for me to write an end-of-year review today. Slightly to my surprise, this will be my 53rd blog post.
My posts haven’t had the same mix of topics I’d originally envisaged, but I did announce from the very start that my blog would be aimless and unprincipled, and I don’t think I’ve deviated too far from that. I’ve also stuck with my initial rough-and-ready site design for a year, including the wintry header image, which may have looked incongruous a few months back (to those of us in the northern hemisphere), but now seems apt once again (much like the proverbial stopped clock).
Anyway, that was then, and this is now. Happy new year to you all, by the way! (It’s funny how often I say that. Probably nine times out of ten in real-world interactions where it’s appropriately close to the start of the year to greet people in that way, I forget, and only on taking my leave do I say ‘happy new year, by the way’.)
January is nearly over, and the chaotic and excessively social month of December is well behind us. I’ve almost managed to settle into a new routine (of sorts), but there’s still far too much irregularity for my taste. And soon February will be upon us, the most depressing month of the year. I always begin a new year being surprised that January is quite pleasant (and, indeed, a relief after December). As the days get longer (in the northern hemisphere), surely our spirits are lifted. And then February hits. At least I know it’s coming – or is it always going to be like the unexpected hanging paradox, I wonder?
Right now, life is frustrating.
There’s lots to be anxious about, of course: aside from distant catastrophes which I can often, rightly or wrongly, put out of my mind, I can’t help but worry about climate breakdown, the rise of far-right politics in America and elsewhere, and the impending disaster of Brexit. US conservatives (including evangelical so-called Christians) are also having a profound negative impact on the fight for trans rights in the UK.
More personally, I’m trying to move on with my life, but find that so much is outwith my control. I’ll be returning to my PhD in the summer, whether I’m ready or not (hopefully part-time if the university permits me to). My maximum interruption period will be up. Naively I’d imagined that I’d have accomplished a lot more in the course of three years, particularly with regard to my transition. But my HRT still isn’t at an effective level, electrolysis is a long and painful process with no obvious end in sight, and any kind of surgery that I want is still a long way off.
And before I restart my PhD, I’d like to have found somewhere to live. I have seen flats that I like and even made an offer on one last week, though it would have stretched my budget, so I was quite relieved that I was outbid. Having set my sights a little lower, I happened to find not one but two flats that met my criteria this week and decided I’d really like to try for one of them. Unfortunately, the solicitor acting on my behalf said that I’m probably in a weak position because my separation agreement isn’t yet finalised. That’s in the hands of other lawyers at the moment, and I’ve no idea what’s holding them up, but it could take a month or more to get to the point of being able to make a reasonable offer. (There are all kinds of complexities that I won’t go into here.)
I can just imagine my life smashing headlong into my PhD, which will surely crumple under the strain. I need to have a semblance of order in my life if I am to have any hope of finishing it.
Then there are the other people in my life. I am concerned about my son’s future, as he has prelims (practice exams) at the moment, which I don’t think he’s taking as seriously as he should be. And my 95-year-old granny, my last surviving grandparent, seems to be nearing the end of her life. My parents are keeping watch over her (they live next door), but there’s so little I can do, living in another part of the country, and I feel strange in not knowing how to react.
It’s late at night, and I’m rambling and getting tired, so I’ll finish off there – it is an unpost after all.
Addendum (27 January)
My granny passed away yesterday afternoon. Although she had increasing dementia over the past few years, as a result of which I never felt able to come out to her properly, I will miss her. I am now a grandorphan.