This time of the year brings me down, without fail.
It’s not so much Christmas. I enjoy the day itself and love the family around the table, although the prelude tends to feel alien, what with the endless advertisements, and the inane talk about whether one has “the Christmas spirit”.
It’s the lack of daylight that truly depletes me. Even the brighter days are too short, and finish with the prospect of 16 hours of darkness. It’s so miserable. Sunny months are about 50 times more enjoyable.
I woke up this morning wishing that I could stay in bed all day. Or that a snap of my fingers could make it mid-February. One of the cats scratched on the bedroom door at about 6.45, so I got up to feed the six of them, cursing.
Then back to bed. But couldn’t get back to sleep. There was nothing for it but to meditate. Two pairs of socks on and a jumper over my pyjamas. Nice and quiet in the house. Eyes shut, letting the thoughts enter and pass, returning to the mantra. And praise be, about halfway through, I felt myself tap into an unknown source of energy. It brought a sharpness, and joy, and in another 10 minutes I had turned the mood around.
The good vibe stayed. Maureen’s Australian great niece and nephew visited at 11, and we walked them down the local lanes so that they could cut some holly to make Xmas wreaths.
We had a great chat about the differences between England and Australia, and then my mobile rang.
It was a local company that I have applied to for employment. After an interview last week, the woman said I could start the new job by ‘shadowing’ another worker, in a few days’ time. As a visiting care worker, mainly looking after the elderly.
It’s an utterly new world for me. One that will require training and working as part of a visiting twosome before a solo ‘round’ is allocated.
It feels right, because I have taken so much recent pleasure from helping my dad whenever I visit him. Sorting his medication, getting his shopping, other domestic tasks and, best of all, sitting and talking with him. It’s a challenge, as his dementia is worsening, but I had begun to notice how much pleasure it gave me to have made his day better and provided companionship. We rolled about laughing the other day when I reminded him that during one of his jobs, in an office, he put a note on the door warning that “Christmas cards will not be reciprocated”. (Does the apple not fall far from the tree?)
Obviously, it will be a big step to try and extend that into a new profession, but, like I say, it feels right. I’ve been sitting in front of a PC for 26 years, and there will still be a fair chunk of that – but balanced by a new set of daily faces. Precious human interaction. I’ll give it my best shot. Hope it’s good enough.
So, a day that started like a dark ditch is ending on an upbeat note. Even better, the solstice is almost here, and the days will lengthen gloriously again for six months.