The Winter Of My Discontent

I don’t feel right. And I’m trying to tell myself that that’s OK. I’m trying to remind myself that seasons of life come and go. Some are plentiful and fruitful; others are dark and dreary. Each is temporary, even if it feels eternal.

For me, it’s winter.


The Winter of my discontent

When we first moved to the US it was the spring season of my life. I was investing a lot of time and energy into putting down roots. Everything was fresh and new, and there were exciting signs of what was to come.

I was exploring a new home and neighbourhood, learning about a new culture and its customs, and getting the lay of a whole new land.

I was a puzzle piece happily hunting for my space in the bigger picture. A seed searching for just the right soil.

It was the season of new beginnings. Of buds and blooms and blossoms. But it was also a time to plan for what lay ahead. Even in the dawn of the year, I was preparing for sunset.

When we have much, we do well to squirrel some away for when we have little.

And so I spent my spring laying foundations for the future.

The Winter of my discontent: family photo in 21C Museum Hotel, Cincinnati, August 2017

My summer brought joy and fun and play. I patted myself on the back for my previous hustle and bustle, basked in the warm glow of a job well done, and spent my energy on things that weren’t a slog.

Roots were taking hold, and I was taking it all in. Buds were blooming, birds were singing, routines were forming and finalising. I was on solid ground and in my stride.

I was making my mark on the creator community here in Cincinnati and its environs, attending meet-ups and giving talks. Bright blue skies of opportunity stretched endlessly before me. The horizon was clear and I was frequently setting out to meet it, going on adventures across the US and even home to Ireland.

I wasn’t so much stepping into a new way of life as I was stomping and jumping with joyful abandon.

Things that had been so foreign to me were now familiar. Strangers were now lifelong friends. I finally figured out what every switch in the house did. I found half decent bread.

Everything was coming together nicely.

The Winter of my discontent: Group photo of Chic Sparrow crew at lunch, Spokane, February 2018

Then, I experienced an autumn and it was back to work. The seeds I planted in spring were now shooting to the sky and I had to put in a huge amount of effort to reap the rewards. I attended events, sought out new experiences, said yes to opportunities, took on more work than I thought possible, and watched in satisfaction as my crops yielded results and the silo of my soul filled right up.

Harvesting was hard, but it was also satisfying. It was the result of my own sweat and determination. Everything I fought for came to fruition and, though there was a lot of easy pickings, the rest required that I climb ever higher and dig ever deeper.

There was no bounty to be had in merely skimming the surface. I worked hard in spring, had my rest in summer, and now it was back to the grindstone to ensure it wasn’t all for naught.

I had my nose to it for quite a while. We’ve become good friends, that grindstone and I.

The Winter of my discontent: moving house, our new kitchen & home, July 2018

And now it’s winter. The cold and dark season of my life where my body, mind, and emotions are spent and I can do nothing but make the most of this time of rest. My heart still yearns for light but my head knows it’s time to draw the shades for a short while.

I haven’t fallen out of love with writing and reading and recording videos, but I have hit a wall. I’ve tried fighting it and breaking through it and climbing over it and crawling under it. But my energy levels are low so, for now, all I can do is peep through the cracks and claw a few small stones loose. I know there’s something great on the other side, and I’m slowly forming plans for when the seasons come full circle.

For now, I’m both overwhelmed and underwhelmed. I harvested more than ever before, but also less than I’m fully capable of. I want to do everything, yet have energy for nothing. I go back and forth between planning a great comeback… and eating biscuits in bed.

What I wouldn’t give for an in-between feeling.

But the truth is that, while I may wish for another season, that won’t make it so. Winter has a purpose. It’s time to stop fighting and focus on rejuvenating. The dark days are for taking stock. For holing up, living off your harvest, and rebuilding your strength for when spring inevitably and mercifully rolls back around again.

I need to stop trying to fast forward. It leaves me feeling nothing but frustrated.

So I’ve settled into a cosy corner to wait out the winter. All in all, it’s mild. And momentary. I guess I just don’t do well in the dark. All my discipline and motivation is folded into frozen soil. But oh, just wait until those first slivers of sunshine.

The Winter of my discontent: Scout getting her splint after breaking her arm, Cincinnati Children's, September 2018

Whatever season of life you’re in, know that it’s temporary. If it’s bad, it will pass. If it’s good, don’t take it for granted.

This is a long and rambling way of saying I’m resting up. I’m fine. This is my December, but my skin is already tingling with the thoughts of spring.

While I work my way back, why not check out one of these older posts:

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  1. Hi Laura, So Glad you recognize the NEED for renewal! You cannot as they say, “Burn the candle at both ends.” You MUST take time to regenerate, so ENJOY your cosy WINTER INTERlude. Relish the time it takes to renew and restore yourself. You are perfect, whether you are in full speed ahead, or coast and glide. WE love you and will await your progress with open hearts. Love on your beautiful, darling family and when you look in the mirror you can Say…”I MADE A DIFFERENCE!” Love and hugs, Julie

  2. This is an awesome post

  3. Mushrooms do just fine in the dark with a regular dose of chicken sh#t and are a great source of protein and vitamin D oddly. So embrace that inner mushroom – use that extra sh#t to power up the sunny side – and we’ll see you cracking a few eggs in an omelette real soon xx

  4. That’s one of the most lyrical descriptions of the ups and downs of life, moods, events and everything that I’ve ever read. I’m sorry you are feeling wintry, maybe time for some hot chocolate and…I’m suddenly craving a McVitie’s ginger nut. A whole packet of them!

  5. Hey Laura. Good for you for acknowledging that you need rest. It sounds like you worked very hard and deserve a bit of a break. I hope that you find some peace as well as some renewed energy. Happy hibernating.

  6. Oh Laura I am right there with you. I have done so much this year and have already half a dozen conferences booked for next yet that I feel I should take a break and just stop and hibernate myself. I keep telling if I do the minimum viable effort I will survive until spring but even that is hard! I hope that you start feeling inspired again soon until then #cavelife

    • So hard for us go-getters to switch off, eh? I find it difficult to step back without feeling guilty or focusing on all the things I’m not doing. But I’m getting better! Hope you get the break you deserve. x

  7. Oh Laura, I can completely relate. I feel like I’ve been in my winter since March lol. I keep trying then failing and it’s repeatedly going on and on. Now I’m just giving up until January lol xx

  8. Laura, you are right to take the time to rest and recuperate from all that has happened lately. Life is full of ups and downs and we have to constantly try and control everything yet there is so little that we do have control over. Hug the little one, enjoy being around for her, talking to her about school and getting ready for the season of giving and appreciation. Whatever your religion December is a time for taking time out and enjoying being with family and friends as well as resting up when you can. I’d also recommend a light box as no matter how much sun you get winter never seems to have enough of it to top up the old vitamin d! Perhaps what you need to do it for a which lower the number of goals you set yourself. We set ours up for failure when we try to be all things to all people. And remember you are helping lots of people with their own situations by just bing you so open and just honestly saying things as you see them!

    Take care now.

    Sally, from Kent UK.

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Sally. It’s true that I have a lot of goals but, when the going gets tough, I drop them all in favour of my family and my mental health. Everything went on the back-burner the past few weeks so I could focus on what was truly important to me.

      Thankfully, things are finally looking up, and we’re all more than ready to celebrate the silly season. 😉

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