Another first of January, and I find myself in that fuzzy transition between old and new, between holiday and the resumption of real life. The Christmas tree and its associated trappings give me that look, seeming to realise they they belong to another era and are living on borrowed time. Their glimmer has an air of tragedy. You really want them gone — the decorations, the festive table settings, the fairy lights, the deformed candle-ends, the last few days of going through the motions. The coup de grâce. You want to rearrange the furniture back to normal, restore the boxes of ornaments and relics to the loft, hoover up all the needles on the carpet. But it’s not quite time: tomorrow, perhaps.
I’ve been ill for so long that this Christmas could never have been normal. Only in the last few days have I started to feel somewhat like myself. The best I can say is that I caught up on my sleep, read a few good books and gained back three of the twelve pounds I precipitously shed in the acute November throes. I’ve started to learn the accordion (again), and have resumed my fitness regimen, months behind where I used to be, but you have to start somewhere. I’ve enjoyed the walks we’ve taken, fresh mild air in the lungs, stands of old oak and holly and mud beneath my boots, crunching on spent chestnut casings and acorns and sodden leaf.
I’ve thought about the future: what would I want to see different this year? As usual, I already feel happier and more secure than I probably have any right to. If it ain’t broke… But nevertheless, I’d like to up my game. Some of this I can control: writing more, doom-scrolling less. But some of it is out of my hands, and none of it is urgent.
In the meantime, 2023: welcome. Let’s see how we get on.