On post-Christmas blues and the possibilities for a Happy New Year

 

animal bulldog candy cane christmas balls

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Oh dear – it is our first New Year’s Eve in France and I feel all wrong. Isn’t Christmas peculiar? I commented on a friend’s Facebook post yesterday, one in which they asked how many others were feeling like ‘two peas in a drum’ after the visitors had left. Responses, including mine, suggested they were far from alone. The intensity and joy of a happy Christmas (and I recognise that many find it a deeply lonely and distressing day), all the preparations, the presents, the anticipation and the sparkle can leave a very hollow feeling in their wake. I know from social media that many fall ill with viruses even before the celebrations get going, so I feel especially peevish complaining after four lovely days with our grown-up children, but I feel really low now they have returned home. Suffering as I do from anxiety and depression I have to note how vulnerable I feel, and take steps to recognise the triggers. So uneaten food remains in the fridge and their beds aren’t going to be stripped for a while yet…

My husband has a very sensible view of the celebrations – he could hold them at any time of year, he says. It is just a matter of getting the right people around you and focusing your attention on them, instead of on work, phone or laptop. We played lots of board games over Christmas and talked. In fact, the kids talked so much they squabbled just like the old days and I really felt like ‘Mum’ again. In the real world, on the remaining 364 days of the year, I am whatever passes for ‘myself’ so it came as a nasty shock to feel so bereft and lacking in purpose when they went home. I have always loved the Pam Ayres poem ‘A September Song’, in which she describes the feelings of a mum watching her son packing up for University. Lines such as:

a ghastly leaden feeling like the ending of it all

or

I am fearful of the emptiness when you depart the room,

And a silence settles round us like the stillness of a tomb

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The fledgelings

describe perfectly the emptiness in our house now the liveliness of our two twenty-somethings, with their endless iPhone notifications and the dust of London on their feet, are back living their own lives. They are fledged and building futures in the real world. Peter and I will continue our French escape, knowing that they both loved our new home. They’ll be back and we’ll be over, so it isn’t the end of anything. But Christmas, the party side of it anyway, does that to us every year – it expects something of us, asks us to get excited and then whips the sparkle out from under us without so much as a by your leave.  It’s a wonder we fall for it  – but we do (and I love it while it lasts!). It is at times like this that I envy people of faith (any faith). The Christmas Nativity offers so much to look forward to and hope for, with possibilities for happiness that most of us find hard to relate to in the 21st Century.

So it is the end of another year. We will wake up tomorrow morning and it will be 2019. I have lots to look forward to – more books to write, a first spring in Brittany, the challenges of learning French (very slowly) – and must try and relax and just let it all be. I’ve never managed to do that before, so my hopes are not high on that one, but it is worth giving it a go.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I know, as the first fireworks light up the wintry skies, that apart from good health and happiness, I am wishing for a Trump resignation, a People’s Vote on Brexit (and a change of mind), a flicker of acknowledgement that the world is heading in a direction, towards hatred and intolerance and perhaps even war, and a drawing back from that and from the push for more and more ‘stuff’ that inevitably damages our planet.

I am sure I will be called a hopeless dreamer but hey ho, I can’t be any other way.

So a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all, and thank you for your support in 2018. Hopefully, I will blog more regularly in the coming months so I hope you will stay with me as I try to stop wriggling out of writing…

 

 

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This entry was posted in Christmas, Family, Mental health, Nostalgia, Religion, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to On post-Christmas blues and the possibilities for a Happy New Year

  1. Gavin Pixton says:

    Dear Suzie,
    I really enjoy your writing. Thank you for bringing it to me. This afternoon, as my dear wife was catching up on “Call The Midwife”, I decided to take a trip on the Internet. I started with a favourite author of mine, Pat Barker, who, as you will know, writes about WW1 and, in her book “Noonday”, about WW2 and the growth and importance of seances and spirituality between the wars. This led me to wars and mental health, a hugely important topic – and an advertisement for “Shellshocked Britain”, which I intend to read at some point. I had a blog myself a few years ago, advertised only on Facebook; after a year, I binned it – the website owners were wanting more money, not many people were reading my stuff, so I lost heart. I already was a published author twice over (see Gavin Pixton: Textualities, where my short story “Cats Have Staff” was published; by all means have a read!) and I suppose I had proven to myself that I could write. Another favourite author, Stephen King, recommends writing something every day, and I’ve stopped doing that, I’m afraid. However, your writing is an inspiration to me, and I’m determined to start over.
    Thank you once again. I’m sure I’ll be posting further comments.
    Gavin Pixton.

    • keatsbabe says:

      Hi Gavin. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and is really heartening to read what you say. I will definitely look at your writing, and agree with what you say – it is important to get into the habit of writing and I too have let that slip recently (not good with two books commissioned 😱) so you, in your turn, have inspired me. If you do read Shell Shocked Britain I would be really interested to hear your thoughts.

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