I didn’t plan this post. Really. But I am sitting here, second day ‘back’ (whatever that means), and am noticing an unusual wave of content and happiness that I have never experienced in early January. Puzzled.
Typically, this is the time of year I get catchup phone calls around the world from my fellow writer-artist type friends, who exclaim the coming period of anxiety, financial worries, and melancholy. Some call it the ‘Jan-Febs’ which I think is a take on Holly Golightly’s second course in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
So what contributed to my non-TV version of glee? Here’s my top ten observations:
10. I didn’t go out & buy anything for anybody. Nope. Not a thing. I traveled, and did buy things along the way, but not one single premeditated gift. Relief.
9. I avoided everything Holiday and Christmassy, to the point where when the 25th did arrive, I felt like putting on Gene Autry’s Christmas songs. Magic.
8. Online, I skipped or filtered 99% of holiday madness. Played hours of Pharrell’s ‘Happy’. Check.
7. Public indecency. In public, anytime I saw a group of more than 5 people in a small area, or anybody with more than 1 shopping bag, I turned off at the first available street. Phew.
6. Children. The Victorians had a perfectly reasonable solution for this: work houses. Me? I can deal one on one – but when packed in with Mom & Dad? I ran. I ran so far away.
5. Cards. Because we were on our way to Paris, I stopped the mail early on. Not one card made it through until 5 January. When it arrived, I actually enjoyed them. Imagine.
4. Dose of Scrooge. For the second year in a row, I visited our dear friend Jim Haynes in Paris. At 80, he’s very reliable to shout “bah humbug” at carefully selected intervals throughout Christmas day. Bliss.
3. New Year’s Eve. a.k.a. ‘Amateur Night’. Spent on a beach form 11pm-12midnight, roasting marshmallows with Jonathan. Lit a roman candle. The only other people in sight were 5 teenagers, walking a safe 100m away. (see #6, above). Then a Woody Allen movie. Then bed.
2. New Year’s Day. Woke up feeling optimistic. Took a drive. Ate. Didn’t say ‘Happy New Year’ to anyone. Bliss. Only ran into, almost literally, one band of leftover revellers. They jumped out of my way as I accelerated at them with a strangely satisfying abandon.
1. Returned home. Joyfully appreciating the carnage of dead trees, burned-out lights, scraps of wrapping paper, broken glass and incredibly well-preserved vomit stains all along the way. Epiphany.
2014: I like you. Let’s do this.