Longing for a Quiet December

It’s 1st December.  How the heck has that happened? 

My 2016 vision board || raeritchie.com

Glancing to my right, I see the vision board that I made right back at the start of January and I think about the goals I was aiming for.  Some I’ve achieved, others are still outstanding.  Life has got in the way of certain plans.  The mental health issues sadly scuppered getting married (and yes, I know it’s just postponed but I still feel both sad and angry about this).  There are a few things that I just need to get on and sort out in order to get done: going horse riding, for instance, or reading Middlemarch (if finishing it within a month is ambitious then I could at least get started).

Only trouble is that I can’t be arsed.  I could go a considerable way to achieving the remaining goals which I set myself in the time that is left, only I just don’t have the inclination or the energy.  Last week I may have written (with the help of friends and readers) a blog post about the good aspects of the maligned year that has been 2016, but I still can’t wait to turn over the first page of a new calendar.  January offers a fresh start which, however mythical, feels appealing right now.

Woolacombe Beach, Devon, 31st December 2015 || raeritchie.com

What does this desire to get to 2017 mean for the rest of 2016?  Is my urge to begin again affecting my attitude toward the month we have left?  The answer is most definitely yes.

I love whole festive season but this year my enthusiasm is seriously dampened.  My partner and I had the Christmas discussion on Saturday evening and he rightfully pointed out that my sigh and groan when mentioning Christmas cards was a sign that I ought to not bother sending any this year.  We are also having debates about the tree.  Last November going to choose one from a nearby Christmas tree farm was one of the highlights of my whole year and I waxed lyrical about it to anyone who would listen.  This year we’re considering get a pre-potted one from a supermarket or maybe not even bothering at all.

This lack of vim and vigour bears no relation to actual demands or levels of responsibility.  We only have eleven gifts to get between us.  We’re even going away on Christmas Day thus are avoiding much of the season’s labour – cooking, hosting, trying to keep everyone pleased – but even so the impending holiday feels like hard work that I don’t have the energy for.

What to do?

My instinct is to go full throttle, ramping up the gears from now until the end of the month in an attempt to jump start myself into feeling Christmassy.  That would be my usual approach – forcing myself to be festive to fit in with my self-image as someone who loves Christmas.  I’d be forcing myself because of what I think it means if I don’t turn on the bells and whistles – that I’m a curmudgeonly, negative miser who doesn’t value the opportunity that this time of year offers to truly connect with family and friends while celebrating the best that life has to offer (usually in the form of edible substances).

Glade Jul (Happy Christmas) by Viggo Johansen (1891) - my favourite image of Christmas & one that for me evokes the softness and comfort of a quiet December || raeritchie.com
Glade Jul (Happy Christmas) by Viggo Johansen (1891) – my favourite image of Christmas & one that for me evokes the softness and comfort of a quiet December

I don’t want to be that person, but nor do I want to cajole myself into an emotional state that doesn’t fit.  Moreover, that approach never works.  Instead I need to go with the flow of how I’m feeling.  I need to let go of the shoulds and oughts and focus on what is.  I need to accept that however much is actually going on in my life, this festive season is a quiet one; sombre, even, given the events of the year in both my own life and the world at large.  The prospect of a quiet December makes me breathe deeply as my shoulders relax.

A quiet December, no goal setting or added demands, feels good.

A quiet December…but we may still get a tree.

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