This year, as in all years, I try to tote up balance sheets, the profits and losses, the learning and the opportunities lost, and it seems overall like a hard year to sum. It has been a hard year, harder than usual, difficult in complicated ways.
I have travelled back and forth, I have moved home, I have battled with my usual, baffling, allergy-related illness and ye olde spirit is finally flagging, I am more uncomfortable in this body and its odd “disability” at this moment than I have ever been in the last five years. I started learning Arabic and then stopped, I am not sure whether this is going to be a permanent break or if I will be able to pick it up again next year. I blogged and wrote much, but still couldn’t complete the edits to the novella, and now that I think about it, maybe I should rewrite the whole thing, keep the kernel and scrap the rest. A bit disappointing either way. On the other hand, I also wrote a whole bunch of flashes and short stories and poems, some of them felt real good too, I started a new blog where I am less poetry and more me, all me in fact. A blogpost here won an award. But right now all that doesn’t feel as important, as monumental as the things that didn’t get done.
When I had come to Bahrain more than eighteen years ago, that was a huge change, from a working woman to a trailing spouse, from a big city, dwarfed in an even vaster country, to an island nation where one fell off the farthest edge after an hour’s drive. Claustrophobia would have been justified then, but I am feeling it now with a lag of eighteen years. As it was, I had got on with the job at hand and settled down and made the most of, even revelled at the staying-at-home part then. I learned to cook and bake, found flexi-time jobs, wrested new computer skills, started a family, learned knitting from scratch, read a lot, made up stories and poems for my infant son, and left myself no time for disgruntlement. Moving back here from Cairo seems minor in comparison, I already know the territory, both physical and psychological. So it feels a bit weird now, to be hit with this irritable restlessness, this chafing at a way of life that has been long familiar, in fact enriching even, truth be told.
It is patently obvious that the further I have journeyed from my place of birth, the more time and resources I have had to look at my paths mindfully and critically, to regulate the pace of the travel; to glean, at leisure and unstressed, whatever insights that might have been granted me. I have been lucky in more ways than one, so it feels petty and above all quite baffling to give way to an attack of negativity. To lose my perspective and let it be coloured by the temporary heartaches of the last half of the year. Maybe I should revisit all this later this month, leave this blog post unfinished as of now. The year is not yet over. I think that is just what I will do.