And in with the new…

This time last year, I was in the middle of my dance with the big C. Little did I know that the Corona virus was about to enter all our lives too. And what a challenge that journey remains. When I look back at last year’s blog post, it feels as if I was more upbeat, despite the many hurdles I still needed to jump. And I wonder why that was?

Well I didn’t have a choice really. I was fighting for my life. There was no room for sulkiness. Perhaps that’s it. When my back was against the wall, I needed to defend my space with everything I still had in me. Now that I am a lot better, I can retreat into a melancholy state and feel a bit sorry for myself. My gratitude is fickle. It’s frightening how quickly I can resort to old habits. Hmmm… I feel a new year’s resolution coming on!

Archie still doesn’t need to make any resolutions. His instinct hasn’t dissolved into domesticity. Right now he’s on a hunting mission. Field mice and doves don’t stand a chance. And despite being well fed by his humans, he devours whatever he kills, just as a true hunter would. His territory is defended nightly – as ever. The ongoing battle will never be resolved.

The evening birdsong still triggers the reminder to check on treats from the kitchen. These days, a single meeow is enough of a signal to his staff.

Archie’s world has expanded exponentially since last New Year’s eve. He continues to prowl the streets and in this ‘hood, he has retained his crown. New young toms have moved in and tried their luck. But the ginger hunter reigns supreme…for now.

Despite his present phase, my precious boy still takes on the role of healer when its needed. A few days ago, his services were in demand. I decided to step up my gentle exercises. I’m no longer fragile and it was time to put it to the test. A few aqua-aerobic moves in our little pool would do the trick. Easy – peasy. I ended my session with a few seconds of vigorous kicking to get my heart rate up. Right. Enough for one day.

As I stepped out of the pool, I noticed that my pelvis felt ice cold. Time to get out of my wet costume. I pulled on a tracksuit and curled up on my bed with A poor season for whales. A few pages in and I was wriggling to get comfortable. No. Wasn’t happening. It took me another few seconds to realise that I was in pain. In fact, I was in agony! A sleepless night, despite myprodol and an anti-inflammatory brought me to a realization. It was either the emergency room or a home visit from a physio friend.

When Ragnhild arrived at my side, so did Archie. He matched her every move with his own, assuring her of his intentions with loud purring, head butts and the occasional lick. Nothing would deter him from his mission. By the time the session was over, my body had relaxed enough to stretch out. Archie saw Ragnhild to the door and then curled up beside me. Any hunting intentions were deferred until I was back on my feet. I haven’t seen the hunter this week, as he had some catching up to do.

Once again, I was reminded of my own vulnerability. Archie reminded me that he is not only a hunter. Each one of us can fill more than one role, when it’s required. We don’t fit into neat boxes and we shouldn’t force others into them either.

This time last year, I decided on a zero tolerance level for aggression. That’s moved to below the 0 mark. Negativity of any kind, sweating the small stuff and de-cluttering are also still on my radar. This year, I’ve added gossip to the list. Really. It’s destructive and incredibly hurtful. And no it’s not fun, especially not for the person you are bad-mouthing.

2021 will be a year of changes. Adventures are on the horizon. Plenty! Of course, there will always, always, be room for precious friendships. And many of the stalled intentions for 2020 will be on my new list too. But as we enter this new year, I’ve also come to a deeper understanding of who I am. Being true to myself has become an urgent, vital part of my purpose here. Pretending is no longer an option, if I am to thrive.

2020 turned out to be a serious, challenging year. That mood remains and will probably be with us for a while, as we navigate our way through 2021. Still, I lift my glass of bubbly to you as we wave goodbye to our annus horribilis and usher in the promise of a fresh start.

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