The twilight zone

I call this time of year the twilight zone, not just for the dark evenings but because the world seems to break down into “before Christmas” and “after Christmas”; things get put off because they’re easier once Christmas is out of the way. Post gets delayed because there’s no sense in getting it confused with the Christmas post. Things you would normally go out and buy are bought by someone else but put away as a present. Soon we’ll enter full twilight mode and everything will focus around present buying – which, no matter how early we start, always seems to continue up until the last moment.

I remember one year hubby was off work the week before Christmas, so we decided to leave the present buying until that week. At that point I had a two year old, a small baby and was looking after a friend’s one year old on weekdays…

I’m not that keen on Christmas anyway. The trouble is, my birthday follows right after. So when it seems like everyone else in the world gets a build-up to Christmas and a build-up to their birthday, I get Christmas and my birthday is all but forgotten. I learned not have birthday parties, because everyone was all partied out at Christmas. I learned that my birthday is often an afterthought, or acknowledged purely because it is more or less at the same time. Everyone else gets worked up about Christmas coming, and I’m the only one interested in afterwards.

The week between Christmas and New Year tends to be spent with long lie-ins and late nights, because the whole family is at home. Then we hit January, everyone is back at work or school and the night is over, the long climb back to summer begun. In a way it’s good to have Christmas to distract from the long dark evenings, but as someone who gets very stressed over having to do things right, and following social conventions, and who dreads social occasions because she’s bound to do or say things wrong, I’m not sure I wouldn’t prefer to just slide quietly through the long nights without this massive hype. The opportunity for family visits and catchups with friends is treasured, but why can’t we do that without the excuses?

The novel is still progressing; I’m up to around 14.5k words so far. The project hasn’t grabbed me, but I’m persisting, with an average of nearly 2.5k words per day. I’ve got some write-ins coming up, where I get to meet other writers. Work levels are slowly picking up. I’m still exercising regularly – clinging to that like a lifeline, in fact, waiting for this burst of energy that they all say will appear. Wake me up when it comes. Or better still, let me sleep through the twilight zone and wake me in the spring.


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