2020 did not start as I intended. I had visions of keenly starting the New Year out on the coast seeing tons of glorious birds. This fitted neatly with my resolution of sorts, which was to spend more time birding in this country - terribly neglected of late. Then I discovered that the family car was required for less frivolous purposes and had to scale back my plans. So, Rainham then, I would get dropped off or take the train and spend the whole day birding there, hurrah! It is a semi patch of mine that I used to devote a lot of time to, I would very much like to get back to it, this could be the perfect backup start to 2020! Great, I'll get the stuff ready. What's that? My middle daughter has arranged to go to see a friend which would leave the youngest one home alone...
So I guess I'll stay local then. Pah! It was nice to spend time on Wanstead Flats and in the Park seeking out birds - for a brief moment everything is interesting again - but it felt slightly laboured. Of course it was also pleasant spending time with Rob and Nick and others, the shared joy of finally finding a Greenfinch, the amusement of repeatedly missing flyover Collared Doves and so on, but I question whether it is sustainable. In the sense of will this keep me going all year.
The answer is a big fat no.
Once upon a time, but no longer. The same goes for blogging. You may know that I very nearly jacked it in on the 10th anniversary. I had a post typed up and ready to go about a month before I intended to publish it. It is still there in draft status, tempting me. For whatever reason I had second thoughts and carried on, and 100 posts later here I am. It has been hard. Very hard. And oddly so, I cannot put my finger on it. I am still the same person I was 11 years ago. I am older of course, slightly more jaded, heavier.... but fundamentally I am still me and if - to steal an acronym from modern lexicon - if you knew me IRL I would hope you think that I have not changed a great deal. I am still very juvenile and delight in small acts of stupidity. I have learned to keep a lid on it in certain situations, namely work, but personality is and should be irrepressible. I also think I lead quite an interesting life, and I am quite happy with my lot. Mrs L of course would say that I could contend for the Dull Men of Great Britain title, but I disagree. Yes of course a lot of is spent behind a desk etc, but that is the case for many people even if it sometimes does not feel like it. In the brief snippets where that is not the case I think I do pretty well. I have lots of hobbies and interests, too many in fact. I read lots of books, I travel to fabulous places, I potter around at home being domestic and I enjoy that too. You would think therefore that I have a wealth of material to write about.
It gets harder and I cannot put my finger on why. And it used to be easy, effortlessly easy. Now I am not looking here for all blog readers to jump in with a comment saying don't give up etc. I like a bit of interaction, all bloggers do, but this is a deeper question that maybe only I can answer. I am busier than I have ever been, or at least it feels that way to me - possibly nothing has changed other than I used to be 33 and now I'm 44 - I have a huge amount that I could talk about across many different facets and subjects. Why can't I? Am I worried about what people think suddenly? Worried about being dull and boring? Maybe I am. I thought I wrote for me, because I had to, because I needed to - this belief drove me for a very long time. Now I am not so sure. I find that I can easily not write something for several weeks and it doesn't bother me at all.
And this is not just about writing. It is everything. I can ignore the patch for several weeks and not feel like I am missing it. I can (and in the past have) let the greenhouse rot. Similarly I can go for a month without reading a book even though I really like reading. All the things I like I can discard with little care, at least for a while. And yet I am perfectly happy and content. I am not having a mid life crisis, or at least not that I am aware of. This makes no sense.
I am sure I wrote about this before either last year or the year before but I cannot now find it, it was called "The Spark" or something like that. Whenever that was I think my slant was writing, but actually I now realise it is applicable to much more than that. If it was a spark I have not yet managed to refind it. And that is what 2020 will be about.