I’ve featured approximately 14 Christmas trees on my IG feed. I’ve streamed Ariana Grande’s Santa Tell Me at least 5678 times since November 25th. I’ve bought 3 new Christmas jumpers. I’ve been to almost every pop up winter market London has to offer. And I even got kissed under mistletoe (now if that is not Christmas miracle to match that of the birth of bebe Jesus, I really don’t know what is) But the truth? When the big day finally comes round, I struggle a little bit. It’s hard to explain. I struggle, and then I struggle to explain to people because everyone’s like “HOW CAN YOU BE SAD ON CHRISTMAS DAY?” and I’m there being like I don’t damn well know please stop judging me!!!! But I know many others have a very hard time due to loss. Eating disorders. Shitty in-laws – things like that. Mine is possibly more purely selfish. Yet when it comes to mental health, I guess it’s all still valid. We’re hurtling towards the end of the year and my mind just starts to fill up and overflow with mixed messages and conflicted thoughts. Did I do enough? Did I achieve what I wanted? But also, fuck yes I’ve nailed it this year! I’m so proud of where I’ve come to! (The latter are thoughts that occur only after I’ve drank 2 large glasses of red like in these photos – drunk confidence is a winner) and then, of course, oh dear fucking god, the impending blank slate of 2019 is terrifying the shit out of me.
I love the run up to Christmas, and I’ve actually felt in a far better place mentally and emotionally through December this year than I did last year. 2017 was difficult. I wasn’t very well, and someone very close to me had to go into hospital on Christmas day. Nothing kills joy more than having to take someone you care about to hospital on Christmas day and leave them there. Since mid-November this year, however, it’s been festivities and drinking and catching up with old friends and new friends – amazing work events which have served as a reminder that I have done a lot this year. I’ve been living my best life (too much actually – I keep forgetting I have a tax bill looming so I should really go back to living a distinctly average life ASAP) and if you considered this month a culmination of everything I’ve experienced, I’d say I’d had a really fucking wicked year.
But then as the days close in towards Christmas Day, I start to feel the anxiety creep in and my mood start to dip. I started writing this on the train back to my hometown and my feelings were so conflicted. I’m going to my parents, I’m going to be seeing old friends and I’m excited to eat my body weight in cheese because that is quite frankly my favourite and only hobby. But before leaving, I felt overwhelmed with anxiety and actual sadness. London was deserted – everyone had basically left already, so why did I not want to leave?
Self-reflection: the thoughts that go through my mind on Christmas day often cripple me a little bit. Right now I’m looking back thinking at this year and my head is a blur of highs and lows. And 2019. I work on a progressive scale – I’m always about improvement. I’m never satisfied. I’m a perfectionist with insanely high standards and I pile so much pressure on myself so between Christmas day and New Year – this awful Crimbo limbo when you have no idea what day it is – my thoughts are consumed of the blank slate ahead of me.
I don’t deal well with time off either. It allows me to dwell on things and overthink everything and worry myself over things that haven’t happened yet – and probably never will even happen. What if I don’t do as well as next year? What if I make no money? What if I don’t achieve what I want? What if I don’t get to travel? What if I can’t afford to pay my rent? What if I’m just not good enough? I struggle with not feeling good enough at the best of the times! Good enough for what? my own ridiculously high standards. It seems very first world problems, yes, but for anyone thinking that take a little read of Sali Hughes article on it. And on Christmas Day, what is there really to do? There’s nowhere to go, no way to escape your thoughts because everywhere in the world is closed! Save for a pub – but I can’t go sit in a pub alone on Christmas Day because that’s a new level of tragic. My family aren’t large – there’s just the four of us. So there’s no little kids running around or cousins to get drunk with. No distractions.
New Years is seen as a time to refresh. But when you base your personal success on a constant upwards graph, the thought of starting again with a new graph is terrifying. I can’t even enjoy the fact that I’m ending the year on a high because it just means there is more pressure for next year!
It sounds mad, but at the time I started writing this, I felt so scared about failing next year that I could have cried. Ew. You can’t cry on a train home for Christmas – it’s almost about as sad as being in the pub solo on Christmas Day! But when I actually got back to my parents, it was fine. I spent the day with my Dad with our tradition of last minute Christmas shopping. Saw my accountant (boring to many, perhaps, but it made me feel like I was doing stuff at least) I went out for drinks in town in the evening.
One very important thing I learnt this year is how thinking ahead, fixating, and worrying about the future can often ruin the present for me. Admittedly, that’s exactly what I have been doing. You’ve got to live in the moment. Be present. So yes, today could be difficult for me. I could sit here and feel trapped and sad and worried and anxious. Or I might not. I might be fine. I’ve got a list as long as my arm of things I want to complete – around 5 blog posts I want to write (you’re probably thinking it’s about fucking time amiright?), accountancy crap, teaching myself Adobe Lightroom.
Oh and of course, eating my bodyweight in cheese.