And so this is Christmas...

posted on: Wednesday, 21 December 2016

I go through the mental processes;

Really ought to do my editing.
Really ought  to do the ironing.
Really ought to sort some social arrangements for January (the no-man's land of the social calendar)
Really ought to call my Dad/that old friend/that colleague I haven't seen.
Really ought to do a face pack/heel treatment/manicure.
Really ought to wrap those presents.
Really ought to get tablecloths ready for Christmas.
Really ought to spend time with my son and get him away from that bloody screen.
Really ought to read that book on writing fiction.
Really ought to write my critical essay.
Really ought to catch up on pod casts.
Really ought to get that picture framed.
Really ought to clear that cupboard.
Really ought to write the blog.
Really ought to book those theatre tickets.
Really ought to look into next summer, post-exams (when Boo has three months off!)

And on and on it goes. And on.

A never-ending loop of stuff that needs doing. Or doesn't; depending on how you look at it. This time of year seems to lend itself to feeling ever so slightly overwhelmed. Today is the winter solstice and I can't tell you how much I need the darkness to break. There is something about it getting dark at 4pm that makes the day seem so short, to-do lists pale into insignificance as I face the evenings. Christmas, no matter how hard I try, takes on momentous proportion, simply the logistics alone. But the traditions and the love take over the closer we get and I realise that this rigmarole is all part of it. That is what makes the new year seem sweeter, the chance to clear the decks and start fresh.

This year has been a year of finding out. Lots of the facets of life that I was unsure about have started to reveal themselves. This is what it is really like to be back in academia after 20 years. This is what it is really like to have a teenager who you drop at parties on Saturday nights and collect at midnight wondering where your social life went. This is what it is like for my husband's job to take on such heights that we have to literally schedule time to discuss basic stuff like kids and holidays and home. I oscillate between feeling empowered and feeling that I am the opposite of empowered but instead beholden - beholden to the changes that life brings and to the distinct feeling of harried middle age that can descend when you are in your forties.

As you know I think a lot about age, ageing, not wrinkles exactly - although I can report they do feature - but the metamorphosis of life from being young and with all of your choices ahead of you and being older and realising most of those choices have been made. Not all, but many. It's a curious thing. Mostly life-affirming but also terrifying and like a metronome going too fast.

The result? In avoidance, I spend far too much on Pinterest coveting a life/wardrobe/organised larder. I spend far too much time deciding just how much of myself I give over to the good of my family. I spend far too much time planning trips away and holidays as without those - well, I suspect we might be sunk. But most of all I spend as much time as I can inserting a feeling of gratefulness for what I have the opportunity to be and do. Lucky girl.

Oftentimes I revert to this strange little blog, which hits its seventh birthday in a matter of weeks. Like some sort of homing pigeon I come back to it, to check in and imagine I-am-not-sure-who is reading and following along. I still can't envisage a time I would give it up, although it is likely to change its clothes next year and shed the old name and style. But the essence will be the same. Honest and quirky and somewhat haphazard.

Thank you for joining me. Happy Christmas.


  1. I'm here following along - pretty much with the same type of list looping through my head. Have a very merry Christmas.

  2. Happy Christmas Beautiful Lou! I love your posts so very much - you're my friend in the room every time. Ticking off those lists, contemplating all those things and hop skipping through life's strange and wonderful journeys with you all the way!
    Here's to 2017 and whatever it may bring!
    Amanda xxx

  3. I love your posts because you usually write about what I am feeling at the time.
    Yes, getting older has been "terrifying" me recently (more so because I don't have children). Suddenly I imagine dying in my cottage alone and no-one ever finding me (not sure where that has come from as I have a wonderful Husband). But the monkey mind continues whether it is Christmas or not.
    But, let's stop the head-chatter and just appreciate where we are and get excited about what's to come. Have a good one Lou xxx

  4. Merry Christmas to you and the family! Hope 2017 finds you healthy and happy.

  5. I love every single word. Love from Milan, Daniela

  6. All best wishes to you & your loved ones. Really enjoy reading your posts. You express so many of my own feelings that I find hard to articulate. Thank you. X