Every year, round a certain time, a shadow creeps up and inhabits your world for a little while. It’s often once it’s made itself at home, pervaded your mood, made itself known, that you clock the significance. Sometimes it’s scrawled rudely on your mental calendar all year round. Either way, not all anniversaries are to be celebrated, are they?
Sometimes bad stuff happens to us in a memorable, moment-the-world-changed showdown. Sometimes it’s played out, act by act, scene by scene, over a period of time. But it’s those anniversaries—those involuntary, relentless yearly reminders—that are the ghosts of an experience, long after the scars have healed. And so every 365 days, there it is. Somewhere. Staring you in the eye. Perhaps after a few years, it’s a tug at your coat, a nudge of the ribs that makes you catch your breath. Years later, it might be a mild whiff, a wisp of smoke. But there it is.
Bad anniversaries are easy to dread, hard to shake and impossible to escape. But here’s another way to look at it. That day, and its yearly date-stamp, will never go away. It’s a fact of life—as is all of our experience, good and bad. So maybe the point is to use the energy that ‘bad’ anniversaries stir up and make it work for you. Maybe the build up to the day you dread is the perfect time to reflect. Plan. Make promises to yourself. To feel pretty bloody great that you’re still here. Turn things upside down. To be gentle, and feel compassion towards the you who suffered that time. If that means a pre-emptive period of exquisite self care, so be it. If it means talking about it, go ahead. If it means not talking about it and throwing your focus elsewhere, you can. And what’s more, if you get to do that every year? Well, I think we can see who’s winning now.
Because the thing about bad anniversaries is that inevitable as they are, they’re also a reminder that things aren’t the same, and that the future belongs to us, rather than to the past. Life is movement, cycles, progress—bad anniversaries are proof. That’s something to quietly celebrate.
Happy bad anniversary.
For LM x