Back to the grindstone

It’s the new year and that means cranking your brain up fast even when everything in you is still in semi-hibernation…

Woman blowing her nose and looking ill


It’s the beginning of the January sprint. The problem is that the month is starting from a period of relative standstill so cranking up to the 80mph required is hard. The body may be ready [although it may still be in semi-hibernation mode], but the mind is several paces behind. It doesn’t help that the schools are not back yet. It feels slightly unfair that parents have to keep plodding on when we have had to organise the whole Christmas shebang and do the washing up.

In my case, it’s not that I haven’t been working between Christmas and New Year either, if a little less frantically than normally because there have been virtually no emails except people telling me that they are trying one more time to see if I am interested in a list of top 5 easy health habits for maximum productivity. It’s the time to write up reports, plan ahead and do all those essential jobs that you only get time for at this point in the year.

At our house Christmas has also been a difficult time on the home front. The ‘festive season’ can be a hard time for many families and this year has been up there with the saddest. A close relative died just before Christmas. We had my daughter’s birthday to celebrate without her again and a close friend died on Boxing Day. New year is difficult too. It feels like such an effort to start all over again and yet that is what must be done because what is the alternative?

There have also been good things. Two of our daughters have gone on their first joint holiday abroad – to the other side of the world, although I’m not sure how much of the place they are actually seeing because they seem to be sleeping all day.

New year is also a time of reflection, but I seem to keep going round in circles. Maybe we put too many expectations on New Year to come up with some sort of plan for the future. Perhaps it is sometimes better just to edge along until the terrain is more stable.

And ‘Betwixtmas’ is, of course, the time of illness. We’ve had the winter cold, which only son has had twice. I am rather regretting not being more sympathetic second time around because I’ve got it now and all I want to do is watch Eastenders on a loop.

Instead, though, I’ve transferred all the things at the bottom of the December 2023 calendar over to this year’s calendar, including all the school holidays and the things I can’t actually decipher properly [new year’s resolution: write all calendar entries in capitals]. It feels like the year is semi mapped out already, particularly the January to April period.

Part of me wants to jump on a plane and join my daughters on the other side of the world, but I guess it’s just a question of putting one foot in front of the other and hoping the engine will start to crank up again. By the end of the week – only son goes back to school on Friday [why not wait till Monday?] – normal service – or what now passes for it these days – will maybe have resumed.

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