Like most people who use the Gregorian calendar, I am almost out of spoons on a daily basis. I can collect spoons through doing things I like to do, even though I don’t think I have the energy to do them.

Swimming and walking are two of these things. I realised on Friday that I hadn’t been swimming for a few days, nor had I taken the dog for a walk. Admittedly, I can’t walk him when it is hot as it burns his feet and/or he gets exhausted really quickly rendering the walk unpleasant for him and therefore for me.

So I made myself do both on Friday after work and I swam both days of the weekend and did an hour hike this evening. The sun was setting and a cool breeze was blowing. The powerful vistas bring a sense of serenity and a temporary calm to my brain. The photo is from Saturday’s walk above the city at sunset.

I find it helpful to reflect not just on what I am grateful for, but how lucky or privileged I am compared to so many who are struggling through this difficult year. Even so part of the lack of spoons is that my wairua aches to be back home. To see my son. To hug my whanau. To be in the same space as my little sister. To lay Jane’s ashes to rest where she asked to be. Home. Whenua.

I have two more days of working until the end of year shutdown. Spoons did not extend to Christmas and though I have cancelled it; I am glad to see the decorations brightening the streets at night.

When you feel life is hard, you may find it helpful, as I do, to truly contemplate what a hard life is. If you have a roof over your head and food to eat, life is really not as hard as it could be.

Chico is completely blind in one eye. He is such a happy dog, sharing his love though snuggles and cuddles. I could see it as a pain to get up in the night to take him out for a wee when he asks. Or I could be happy that he asks instead of peeing in the house. It is truly a beautiful thing that he trusts me to respond and take care of him when he cannot manage independently.

I hope that should I ever need such support that it is given with grace and kindness. However you celebrate or don’t the next two weeks, please remember that at this time of year, many people don’t have any spoons left. Be kind to yourself and others.