Sunday, 21 March 2010

March to a different bummer

Some time during the final months of her life, my grandmother turned to my mother in a rare moment of lucidity and said: "The nice me is all gone; all that's left is a nasty old bitch." Those words come back and haunt me regularly.

Each time I do NaBloPoMo, I haul out my journals and diaries and check entries for the month being covered. In February 2009, I looked back at past Februaries and got rather depressed at the glimpses of my former happier and clueless self. Last September, I reviewed my past Septembers and concluded that February is a limbo month and September is a transition month.

March, at least for my family, is a fertile time for crises. As the temperatures slowly rise, events seem to unfreeze and hurtle into motion, often with alarming consequences. I've spent a good chunk of the day reliving stuff from left field and stuff from right field that still landed with a good hard thunk: my sudden diagnosis with gestational diabetes during my second pregnancy; the news that we were moving to Ottawa, my father-in-law's last inexorable slide into death, my elder daughter's fall from a school stage resulting in a broken clavicle; learning that my younger daughter was being transferred from the school programme in which she had been thriving. Yep. Good times.

Not all events that happened in March were incoming missiles. The Resident Fan Boy and I became a couple in March, and turning the pages, I stumbled across faces, exchanges and scenes I'd long forgotten. Maybe I'll get a couple of posts out of them.

I've used a number of approaches in my journalling, many adapted from Ira Progoff's books on journals. Sometimes, I track a day from minute to minute, usually when I have a deadline. Each January, I do a rundown of the past year, to see what shape it's taken, and I've even done quick write-ups of personal decades, looking for patterns. However, while I think I agree with Socrates about the unexamined life not being worth living, sometimes I find myself wondering: Have I improved at all? Wasn't I a nicer person before?

Looking back at my entries for March over the past decade or so has been a wee bit distressing. I seemed naïve, of course, but certainly more sociable, in a guileless and shallow sort of way. The depth that comes with maturity has things to recommend it, and given a few hours to ponder, I might even be able to think of some of those things. Oh dear, couldn't I go back to being the unenlightened slob I was? Callow she may have been, but she may have been better company. Is my niceness doomed to drain away into bitchiness?

Poor Gran. I bet it was March...

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