Mental Health Matters: Nic Goddard

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A friend once accused me of being a ‘pathological optimist’ and, given some of my rather unconventional life choices and adamance to continue putting a positive spin on things even when it’s blatantly clear that if there was a plan life has not worked out according to it, that is probably a fair accusation.

Even though I have struggled to find silver linings during the last two years and despite managing to find plenty to feel grateful for, I feel as though I have mostly tried not to think or slow down for fear of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the
unprecedented times we are living through.

I think we have all spent time during these last two years considering our priorities, appreciating what we still have and understanding the value of what we may not have.

I know that time spent with my parents after 18 months apart, during which all of us had considered the possibility that we may not see each other again, was both precious and gave us all an opportunity to say all the things we wanted to have said just in case when we said goodbye this time it was for another very long period.

Living with Covid has become part of our day-to-day lives, from buying a sparkly festive mask to wear this Christmas to ensuring we have sufficient lateral flow tests on hand to get us through the festive period.

As we enter into a third year of living alongside Coronavirus, with numbers of infected people currently rising daily, once more as I ponder on what the year ahead may hold I cannot ignore the fact that Covid will be part of what lies ahead for us in 2022.

I don’t tend to make New Year resolutions but I do take the opportunity of one year coming to a close and a new year starting to take stock of where I am in my life and give some consideration to where I might want to be in the year ahead.

This time last year much of my planning for the year ahead took Covid into consideration.

I checked cancellation policies when booking gigs, events or trips and grouped plans into high, medium and low risk categories accordingly.

As I start to think about what 2022 may hold I remain hopeful that maybe this will be the year that we are able to return to a time when life is not overshadowed by Covid, whilst even knowing that if that came true that low lying anxiety may well give way to concerns about the climate crisis, the plight of refugees or worries about the state of our political system.

I am unsure whether I yearn for a return to a simpler time when I didn’t worry about things or whether to feel guilty for not having previously worried as that just suggests I was being naive or blind to the world around me.

I think the biggest lesson that 2021 has taught me is to do what I can from where I am.

To help when I am able, to share what I can, to stand up for what I believe in and to look after those who are precious to me, which includes myself.

To continue to look for, to find and to celebrate all that is good and hopeful but to also keep my eyes open to what might not be good too.

Optimism but perhaps not such blind optimism as before. I’m still planning trips and adventures, still making the most of the opportunities I have and raising a glass, taking a deep breath and welcoming in 2022 with gratitude for being here to do so.

Photograph: NO F30 Nic Goddard byline pic