This time of year does not pulsate with fun, does it? Maybe, as we write, you are oozing glühwein from the top of an Alp. Or squirting sun cream across some tropical idyll. Perhaps you are observing all January’s gloom from a higher spiritual plane. Or perhaps you are, like us, simply… buffeted, wondering, ‘Is it just me?’ No, is the answer. It is not just you. It is never just you.
We all feel the twitch upon the thread of shame; the old stuff that punishes us. The early stuff that it seems impossible to unlearn. We all battle with regret, with ‘What if’, with ‘Too late now’.
You see, it isn’t only you who speculates about what will happen next and whether you’ll be up to it. Or if anything will happen next… if anything will ever change. Longing for change, fearing change.
But, as an experiment, we have decided to relax. To just ease off and let things wash over us. We are concentrating incredibly hard on staying calm. We are not going out at night. We are having many, many, many baths, and we are observing the things that would normally make us brittle enough to crumble at the lightest touch with intense relaxation. Just look how intensely relaxed we are about…
The winter virus
We’ve had it for three weeks and it has given us the cough of eternity, which makes us sound and feel as though we smoke 700 fags a day. It’s a virus, so what can we do? Intensely relaxing to know the answer is that we can do absolutely nothing and it will just sort itself out. Hopefully by the time we die of something else.
Our tax bills
It’s giving back, in a way. It’s contributing. It’s adult. True, afterwards we will not be able to eat or heat our houses for three months, but tax is essential in creating a civilised society. So that’s relaxing.
Driving on motorways
Just us and a lot of unpredictable, erratic speeding maniacs, all texting at the wheel and changing lanes without indicating.
Not being able to find Dad's ashes
He was adventurous. And he loved hide and seek. Nothing about not being able to find his ashes is at all weird or guilt-inducing.
Bumping into an ex...
...at a christening. Almost catatonic with calm about this one. Serene in the knowledge that we have nothing to wear.
We’re not barbarians, we have hair dye. What is age, anyway? It’s in the mind. And on the scalp, yes, but you know, it’s also about wisdom and experience. And wisdom. Did we mention experience?
We might be the sort of people who don’t really need eight hours of sleep. People are not identikit robots. Three hours is absolutely fine, you know. We’re probably just naturally moody, short-tempered and tired-looking anyway.
Yet another PPI call
It’s not like we’ve just scrambled, dripping, out of the bath to get to the phone. Nope. PPI calls just make us even more zen.
That text message...
...saying, ‘Can I talk to you about something?’ There’s a very fine line between anxiety and excitement – what we are experiencing in our stomachs could be excitement.
What could go wrong? Can’t wait.