Keeping Cheer In the New Year

Cheerful Elephant, with wings, greeting the year.

Yes, it is artificial to imbue the turning of a year with hope.  This year it is especially hard to feel hopeful with all the different sicknesses, physical, emotional and planetary, besetting the world.

Before I push a message of hope, I must disclose that I am someone subject to depression!  And that I have found the last few days to be very difficult due both to personal and societal sorrows–

But nonetheless, I can’t help feeling, knowing, that the time we are given is precious. I like to think of it as precious in itself, but it also happens to be the only time we are certain of.

But how do I get myself to actually appreciate that preciousness?

This is a hard question. What I tell myself is that although I may not be capable of changing the times, or even my circumstances, I can certainly try to budge my reactions to them.

Cheerful Bat Dog Greeting the Year!

Of course it is not easy to change one’s reactions. I am someone who can get herself into a stew for hours over a perceived slight, or, more usually, over shame caused by one of my own mistakes (especially if pointed out), or simply over someone else’s difference in approach.

I know that the stew feels awful. Nonetheless, I will dive right into its overheated goo, mucking about in the weird slurry of smushed onion, for a very long time. I can ruin whole mornings, afternoons, evenings. (Let’s not even go into the nights!)

So, yes, the times and one’s own life may be difficult. But if I have any resolution this year, it is to try to avoid making them more difficult. To stop avidly fueling my own resentments, perturbations, anxiety. (Yes, they will arise, but I don’t need to tango with them.)

What is very helpful for me in this regard is to think of children. Not to say that children don’t have resentments or anxieties!  But in the same way that they get down on the floor to take on the perspective of a toy car, or toy figure, they tend to engage with life on a very direct level, where grudges about the past, and worries for the future tend to be sidelined.

So being childlike is useful. But it also helps to be mature. By this, I mean, realistic. In my case, it is useful for me to recognize the things that I go insane without, and then, being realistic enough to fit them in, even if it sometimes means being a little less pleasing to others. And, speaking about being less pleasing to others–trusting that others can fix some of their own things, and may even prefer to, is another useful lesson! (This is another one that little children have down pat, though, of course, they are often rather pleasing to others. But hopefully they don’t feel burdened to be pleasing.)

In any case, above and below are a few little drawings that I did at the end of the holidays, when children were especially fresh in my mind. (As always, all rights reserved.)

Take care! (I hope you can find some smiles in these days’ clouds!)

Cheerful trucks greeting the year!
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8 Comments on “Keeping Cheer In the New Year”

  1. Helen Dehner Says:

    Dear Karin,
    Your post comes at a difficult time for my 78-year old Sister who lost her step-daughter, 54 years old, to suicide one week ago today. She adored this young woman, created a gorgeous wedding gown for her decades ago. Though family/friends knew Holly was struggling, no one realized the true depth of her pain …. please take good care of yourself … we care.

  2. grammalynn Says:

    Sometimes it takes time to appreciate preciousness.

  3. lynn__ Says:

    YOUR cheerful drawings make ME smile 🙂 Thanks!

  4. Jim Says:

    Karin, I like your drawings a lot. They are mostly all friendly and peaceful, I haven’t found one that’s not. Especially the elephant is always happy LOOKING. Can’t always read the inside unless confided with.
    I have been depressed as a teen and then deeply while I was in a bad marriage. It had started out good but I guess it wasn’t fueled properly.
    Your trucks are great, they appeal to the little boy in me.
    Please have a nice and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Dear Jim–thank you for your kind comment. I am not really so depressed; I just meant that I wasn’t a “pollyanna” of forced cheer! Thank you for liking my trucks! k.

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