A few days ago, I was asked why I was so down. Until that moment, I was actually just fine. I was sitting in my balcony, watching the sunset sky. I wasn't sad, I was just lost in thought. But the difference between the two is often misunderstood. I was told I always look at the glass half empty. What is the one thing missing right now that if you got would make you happy, I was asked.
Pushed into a corner, my only instinct is to put up walls. So, while I would have happily shared what flitted through my mind on and off if asked casually, put on the spot like this I retreated.
I won't deny, this year has been a difficult one for me. I'm sure there are many people out there who would relate, and plenty others who wouldn't. Last year was okay...there was a certain newness to the pandemic that kept things interesting. You thought it was going to last a few weeks or at best a few months. And then it dragged on and on.
But this year has been tough. I missed the weddings of two of my closest people - my own sister and my best friend. Only because of border closures. Two events for which I would have flown from the farthest corners of the world. And I attended them from a screen small enough to fit into my palm.
Work has been difficult this year. My industries - travel, food and publishing - have been hit so badly that it will take years to repair the damage. There is no commissioned work to go around, some of my long-standing work sources and popular magazines declared bankruptcy and shut down. And even my own workplace is not a shadow of what it used to be. There used to be a warmth to the place, a sense of belonging. It doesn't take much to build work culture, you start with empathy, add a dose of appreciation, and take it from there. But like all things, cultures evolve.
So yes, in a nutshell, this year has not been easy. The fact that I haven't been able to meet my people for two years doesn't help either. If I had been asked what was on my mind, I may have mentioned these things, amongst others.
But I'm in a better place now than I was a week ago when this discussion happened. I dived into self care and realised that no one else can pull me up except my own self. I took aromatherapy baths, long trips to the library, and started writing again.
I asked myself, what is the one thing that would make me happy. And I realised it was travel. If I added my parents and sister into that mix, nothing like it. So, I started planning. It was magical, the change in me. Just the process of planning a trip gives me such a high. This is what I was made to do. Plan, research, book, travel, experience. This is who I am. This is me. No wonder these 1.5 years have been tough.
Here I am, planning a completely hypothetical trip at the end of this year, which may or may not happen due to border rules. But it gives me something to look forward to. A purpose, hope. And what is life without either of these two, don't you think?