“Finally, someone remembers Malvolio and lets him out of the dark room”
If you know your Shakespeare then the above line will tickle you as much as it does me. But this blog isn’t about the play. It is about the end of Christmas.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Grinch. I love buying presents for people and watching as my loved ones open them. I enjoy being with family and eating so much I forget what it feels like to be hungry. Then looking at photos of myself thinking “Oh lord. You really are what you eat. Time to lay off the potatoes”
Three days of Christmas is enough for me. Christmas Eve, a magical night even when you are thirty four. Christmas Day, the world stops and there is a united feeling in my heart, knowing that even the most miserable of human is probably sitting somewhere with a tiny feeling of hope and light. Boxing Day, or as I like to call it ‘The Day of Eats’ all that leftover goodness, chocolates, alcohol.
It’s the rest of Christmas I struggle with. A lack of anything that resembles routine. Most of us lose any kind of knowledge of what day of the actual week it is after Boxing Day. For me its just ‘the day after Boxing Day’ or ‘the day after the day after Boxing Day’ and so it goes until New Years Eve.
If you haven’t pissed someone off by the day after Boxing Day then you either spent Christmas in a dark room like Malvolio or, you are liar. Banks don’t work properly. Traffic doesn’t work properly. People are EVERYWHERE. The house is a mess of paper and packaging and various hung over bodies. The bin is fatter than you and literally no one has a clue when to wheel them out or what colour comes first (It’s always the recycling one, you know? The empty one because we aren’t allowed to recycle wrapping paper) and there is desperate longing for some kind of normality. Even the TV goes bonkers. Film overload! Give me back Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women so I at least have some way of distinguishing weekend from weekday.
And then comes New Years Eve. The night we all desperately pin our hopes on because THIS YEAR we really are going to change. Anything is possible. It’s like Robbie Williams singing Millennium isn’t enough of a sign that this year you are the same person as last year and the year before and whilst we are at it 17 years ago when we were thinking the Millennium was going to change our lives.
By the Twelfth Night some kind of normality has started to return. I know what day it is the next day for a start. It’s Saturday. Great! this 3 week Saturday I had enforced on me is finally over and what do I get? More bloody weekend!
On the Twelfth night – Which in my house is the 6th, Jesus was baptized on the 6th so as far as I am concerned it isn’t the 5th – I like to cook, throw away, clean and replenish. I don’t make New Years Resolutions because I think they are really just a thing people, who don’t have any intention of changing their lives, do to make themselves believe they could be a better version of themselves.
However I do like to reflect on the Twelfth Night. To me the only way to improve a year from the one before is to look into yourself and decide if you could do anything better and if you are passionate enough to do it. It isn’t, for me, about waking up tomorrow and saying ‘I am now a great person’ it’s about waking up tomorrow with a continued outlook that I want to grow as a person. Then sticking to the process. I take all the criticism from the year before, the wisdom of others, work out what made sense and then continue to apply it. For me? It’s learning to be more mindful of what matters to others. Regardless of what I think should matter to them. To improve my decision making, to make more effort not to be late and to continue learning how to be organised – not in any miraculous way, just like averagely organised.
I am not doing dry January because it’s stupid. My closest friends may disagree but I think I manage my drinking perfectly well throughout the year to not need to remove it completely in January. I haven’t joined a gym, I started doing 20 mins of cardio 3 mornings a week the fortnight before Christmas because I actually wanted to.
What I have done, which is probably more important than any of that, is also given myself time to appreciate who I am. Remind myself of the great things I did last year, the progress I made from the year before, how strong I am and how brave I am. Although to some that bravery may often stand out as stupidity, to me it is the one thing that keeps me moving forward regardless of what is going on in the world or in my life.
The Twelfth Night is a soup kind of night. And it is a happy night.
Drop your New Years Resolutions people. Getting over the Christmas period is enough to give anyone PTSD. Taking away your simple pleasures isn’t going to make you a better person.
The only thing that is going to make you a better person is time, patience, commitment and love.
We lose routine during the Christmas Period. Normality. Regain it and keep moving forward.
Happy Twelfth Night xx