The end (of the year) is nigh and I am partaking in the phenomena known as “annual leave”.
It’s the third year running that I’ve had this luxury, having worked for myself for the previous awful lot of years, working around family and clients and all the other things as and when I could.
It doesn’t seem as festive lately. I don’t know if this is because my mind is otherwise occupied, the kids are older and less excitable about the season, or it’s me that’s older, with more experience and exposure to the sadness in the world, the entitlement and expectations prevalent in other parts of the world, or I’m just really tired.
The house is Christmassed up, with lights strung across its facade, and the tree decorated. The tree looks very much like how I feel. It’s adorned with an assortment of random decorations, appropriate for the occasion, and appears to be on a bit of a lean.
Looking at it, it’s almost slumped against the window, as though it’s imbibed in a little too much Christmas spirit (of the liquor persuasion) … or maybe it, too, has just had enough.
I’m not sure what it’s problem is, It only moved in with us a week or so ago and it started with this crappy behaviour from the outset; to the point of giving up entirely and just having a bit of a lie down on the floor, tossing it’s adornments, and refusing to cooperate. As though it is a toddler, or more likely, it has taken lessons is obstinance from the teenagers in the household.
I am, to put it mildly, finding it difficult to enthuse myself about all the delights this season purports to offer. I can’t help but be aware – and affected by – the millions who are suffering for various reasons, and being drawn into the expectations of this time of year for those of us who have the basics and more. Much, much more.
I do feel a bit at odds, conflicted, and more than a little confused.
I also struggle intensely with hearing, time and time again, how people “shouldn’t” be eating this or that or the other, and how in the new year they’ll go on that diet they said they’d go on last year. And the year before. And every other year over the last few years.
Or listening to them justify how it’s okay that they eat and drink to excess, and how they don’t care, and are just going to do it. Obviously, that’s why the need to try to convince me and anyone else who will listen.
I would really like people to just enjoy these moments. It’s not like they’re not aware they’re coming up and that they can’t be prepared for it in one way or another.
As though they walk out of the lifts on their way home and bump into the end of year drinks gathering because they weren’t looking where they were going.
I know the next few weeks will be filled with the same blather, as it is every single other year and kind of ruins the mood. We’ll be subject to meaningless promises, referred to as New Year’s Resolutions, and counselled about how we should do this, or that, or be forced/force ourselves to spend time with people that we’re not all that fond of – either in general, or when they’re pissed, bloated, and behave like an arsehole – all because “It’s Christmas”.
I’m fairly sure there are some who aren’t looking forward to the prospect of spending some gathering or other with me, either.
I am aware that all sounds somewhat cynical, snarky, and grinchy. I am jaded by it all. And I wish more for everyone than tiptoeing around expectations, spending copious dollars we may or may not have on things people don’t need (or want in many cases), exhausting yourselves, and being swept up in the season because to not is not acceptable.
I do wish you all the love and enjoyment you desire and deserve. I hope for you to enjoy the time you’re spending with family, and I hope you’re surrounded by those you love – and whom love you.
I want you to just be in the moment, savour the food, drink to the point you are filled and not more, and that you are safe and happy. I hope the exhaustion is from not wanting to leave the party, and not from doing everything for the party.
I wish for you to take the opportunity, whenever the moment arises, to mend a broken relationship, reconnect with a long lost friend or relative, to take the step to do that thing that will improve your health, fill you with life, or take you closer to fulfilling that dream you’ve had.
Most of all, I wish for you to take the last paragraph into the New Year, not because it is a new year and, as some would have us believe, a new beginning, but because it is front of your mind now.
I want you to do those things at any time the opportunity arises. And the opportunity arises at any time. It’s not a new year, a new month, next Monday, or after some other arbitrary milestone.
The opportunity is always now.
I wish for you to see it and to seize it at any given moment.
I also do wish you a very merry Christmas (or whatever phrase you prefer to use in such circumstances) and an amazingly brilliant new year.
I also give you my most humble thanks and great appreciation for sticking with me throughout this year. I know it hasn’t been overly uplifting or entertaining. But if you’re still here, thank you.
You are awesome, and you are very, very much appreciated.
Probably more than you know.