First Column of the Year (JB)


Júlíana Björnsdóttir's picture

This is my first column of the year.

For various reasons, the month of January has occupied me with plenty of tasks, leaving me with less time to suffer from the January blues.

At the beginning of the month my in-laws came for a visit from South Africa to see us, experience New Year’s Eve in the middle of the Icelandic winter, and attempt to see the beautiful, but illusive, Aurora.

We failed to deliver on the Aurora, the grand northern lights, but I think it’s safe to say we had a lovely time together. I hadn’t seen them in half a decade and it was a bliss to finally spend some real time with them.

We parted in a mixture of joy and sadness, sadness because we know for sure that it’ll be almost a whole year before we are reunited, but in joy, because the memories we created are so precious, and the wonderful conversations I had with both of them an unbreakable bond.

So, for the first week of January, I didn’t write a column. Instead, I toured the south coast with them, enjoyed marvelous meals, and spent my days on quiet journeys in the city.

After they left, the house felt empty. My darling Emma, the yellow Labrador retriever we love so much, needed a few days to get used to their absence. She went from not knowing them at all to missing them. She’d wait by the door, expecting them to walk in after us and for a few days, respectfully waited for our permission before jumping back into bed where she has always been allowed to sleep freely.

After they left, both of us returned back to work, and to be honest, it was not easy. It was miserably cold outside, so cold it felt as if the cold had its claws as far in as my bones.

In my shivering state of misery, I struggled to return to my yoga classes and found it impossible to build up the slightest willpower to run farther than five kilometers, a distance I under normal conditions see as the warm-up phase of my run.

But thankfully, the grey fog of misery gradually began to fade and by week three I made it to two yoga classes and one run.

As week four arrived, my spirit is finally elevating to a place of joy. I am back to attending my yoga classes, loving every stretch and pose as I go. Afterwards, I feel the fatigue comfortably warm me into a state of tiredness.

This year will bring much to me and mine. I have my younger sister back in the same country with her boyfriend from the southern part of Europe, and they live less than five minutes by car and 15 minutes on foot away.

The whole family is in one place, so to speak, at last. I have both my sisters within the city borders and my parents a suburb away. It is my intention to try my very best to spend a little more time with them, too.

I also began the second week by meeting with my instructor at the university who will guide me through the difficult task of writing an MA-thesis on war literature. This topic greatly interests me and I am excited for every moment I get with my academic ponderings.

In my full-time job, I am also attending a six-week long project management for technical communicators course that will no doubt help me advance my career, if for no other reason than to make me better at leading and organizing my projects.

I am, of course, as seems rather characteristic of Icelanders in winter, piling tasks on my plate for a few busy months. But once it is all done, the rush of achieving my goals will be the high to help me forget the fatigue I can expect to experience.

Hell, my older sister did this for two years with three children, a grandchild, a demanding full-time job, and a big house, and somehow she and her family survived.

The only downside is that unlike my sister, who explained her to her five-year-old boy why she was so busy, I cannot explain to my Emma why I am spending so much time in front of the computer. She is understandably a little upset with me sometimes.

My belief is that I can do this, with the help of yoga and running to revitalize my body and mind, and the loving support of my family of three.

After all, what else is there to do while waiting for summer to return once more.

Júlíana Björnsdóttir – [email protected]

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.