The bells have stopped tolling, the fireworks have stopped fizzing and the corks have stopped popping. The ‘Happy New Year’s’ are still being exchanged but sounding a little weary. A bit like myself it turns out.
After all the planning and partying, I always think the beginning of a new year feels flat. (that’s flat, not fat, but the l is dubious).
I had a list the length of my arm: boring mundane stuff like putting away all the decorations, cleaning the house after the mayhem of Christmas and NYE visitors, emptying the fridge of left-over left-overs, and insurmountable piles of laundry; but some was actually exciting like launching my new podcast, planning my New Year coaching programme, making edits to my novel. But I woke up on New Year’s day full of flat Prosecco, a dead tree dropping ornaments faster than my kids ate all the selection boxes, and a head full of the ‘shoulds’ because it’s 2020 and I SHOULD:
stop drinking so much,
stop eating so much,
stop watching Suits,
run more (well, run at all),
play more board games with my kids,
and on and on it went.
Instead of leaping out of bed on New Year’s Day to do a 20 minute pilates regime, followed by a spinach smoothie and a three mile dog walk, before tapping out words of wisdom with beads of inspiration slowly rolling down my freshly fig-exfoliated face (as per the New Year, New Start Pressure), I spent the day in my pyjamas eating cold chicken nuggets watching re-runs of Suits, totally incapable of pulling a clear thought out of my head. I did manage to feck the dead tree out the front door but the decorations where chucked into one large box, rather than wrapped and stored according to fragility.
The kids then went to their dads and I seemed to retreat into an infant-style pose on the sofa, one hand clasped around the bottle of red, the other permanently stuffed inside a Pringles carton. When I crawled into bed that night, I think I actually fell into a coma state, because I didn’t wake up until 10.30 the next morning with a sore back and a lethargy that felt like I’d been drugged. It lasted for two full days, where I could do nothing but watch TV, eat cold food and get irritated by every single person that came into view.
But instead of beating myself up (no energy for that!) I knew I just had to go with it, and trust my body and mind that they needed to switch off before they could reboot. On Day 3, I finally began to get small jobs done, and that led on to more jobs and eventually my brain started to ignite again and I even had some actual thoughts! It took a while for the fug to fully lift, but it has, and I’m ready to start the year, albeit a week later. So the fridge has finally been cleared of left-over left-overs and stocked with spinach, and while I haven’t managed a run, I’ve left out my pilates gear for class tomorrow morning.
It’s a busy week ahead, a busy year in fact (oh let’s go the whole hog – it’s a mammoth decade ahead), and while I’m starting it all a week behind, sometimes you just need to ignore the pressure of a fake starter gun just because of a date in the calendar and do what you need to do. Not what you should.