Friday, 27 December 2013

The Christmas Crisis

I love Christmas. I look forward to it every year. I love presents, both the receiving and the giving. I love time off work, I love eating, I love my friends and family, I love sparkly decorations, I love carols, I love the Pogues. My heart aches for people who can't enjoy Christmas because they have lost others or are alone. It must be face-rippingly hideous to watch the whole world shake its corpulent belly and go ho ho ho when you feel isolated or bereaved. But I am not (yet) in that number, for which I count myself lucky. I love Christmas.

I don't love New Year. In fact, much against my better judgement and despite a great one two years ago and an decent one last year, I loathe New Year with a deadly loathing. See this early blog for more details:

And, I'm now learning, I really don't love the days between Christmas and New Year either. In fact, for several years now, on and off, these days have been marked by loneliness and something that borders on depression, although I may be over-agrandising myself somewhat to go that far.

As with so many things in life, the fantasy and the reality just don't quite match up. For months now, I've been dreaming of this week; dreaming of not having to get up early, not having to work all day, having eight whole days to do with whatever I please.

I always think that being alone and having no plans is going to be so great. This is because my days in a regular week are so jam crammed sideways and backwards full with things to do, things I often end up resenting. In fact this over-cramming of my diary caused me to have a bit of a meltdown about a month ago and firstly cry for so long I became a bit alarmed about if I would ever stop and secondly cancel a whole bunch of things I was meant to be doing. So I'd looked upon these few days as an oasis of calm in the middle of the city centre of my life that is jammed full of demands and niceities. And I mean oasis like the soothing desert haven, not Oasis like the shouty annoying indie lot.

What is it that goes wrong? Have I forgotten how to enjoy being properly alone? I love being alone at the beginnings and ends of the day, it's my preferable state. I love having evenings alone. But it seems like perhaps several days in a row just starts making the bad voices kick off in my head.

I have learnt from the last few years. I know that watching endless TV (even the good stuff) and shovelling mountains of cheese into my mouth may equal very short term happiness but will result in concluding that no one could ever love me and life is completely futile by hour five. So I swore blind I would read novels and listen to Spotify this holiday, not just hook myself up to the goggle box.

However, I got a cold. And apparently decided that meant I was incapable of reading. But definitely capable of watching an entire series of Modern Family (and the Big Fat Quiz of the Year Show, and some of the godawful Alan Carr Twatty Man (Russell was on it, otherwise I would have turned off) (I hope), and the final feature length episode of Masters of Sex) all in the space of about 29 hours.

And now, predictably, I feel like I will never love anyone and life is indeed futile.

I think perhaps this Christmas crisis that seems to be becoming a tradition for me is also mixed up to the irrepressible human urge to make ourselves better in the new year. We all know these attempts are doomed to failure, but none of us (at least, not me, and I'm guessing a lot of you as well) can resist the siren song of resolution. I will carry on eating this cheese now, because as of tomorrow, I will lose the cheese and do all the sit ups and none of it will matter any more. I'll definitely be reading novels instead of watching TV as of next month and you can take that to the bank. Again, I wrote a would-be jokey blog about that right at the start of this year (New Year, New You, should be you interested), but the fact that none of my clothes fit properly and I'm not sleeping right cos I've been drinking too much and I keep making one stupid mistake over and over and over and over again means that the pressure to change and change for the better don't feel so fucking funny right now.

Next year, I hope to be on a beach in Hawaii for this whole period of time. Hopefully with my best friends around me. Because I have a feeling that the loneliness will follow me, even if I do get to the sun. 

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