I love these slow days between Christmas and New Year mostly because there is an absence of expectation.
On a recent episode of “Sideways” my friend Martin and I discussed how Christmas is an exciting time for alcoholics because everyone else is drinking Prosecco at breakfast time and thereby normalising their own behaviour.
I feel like this about December 26 to 31. My own desire to do exactly as I please is mostly mirrored in everyone else sitting about watching TV and eating chocolates.
There is a New Year’s Eve party at one of the neighbours which I could go to but won’t because I like parties even less than I like New Year’s Eve.
Feeling the need to rationalise my detached anti-social behaviour I point towards my personality type, according to Myers Briggs, which states quite clearly that,
“I will not do anything I don’t want to do”
Apparently this is rare but, in the past, I have used it to quite an extravagant extent.
Once, I failed to attend a Christmas social event which I had organised for my own team at work because I wanted to do something else instead. I’ve also deliberately missed planes taking me to meetings I didn’t want to attend and been generally childish and delinquent when pressed to act against my will.
I’m not proud of it. In fact, there is a large part of me that didn’t want to tell you, so perhaps just writing about it is a victory of sorts.
It has become something of a joke in my family that it is not unusual for me to be asleep on New Year’s Eve before the party across the road has properly got going.
Sometimes I am probably mistaken for someone who doesn’t like people, but it isn’t that at all.
I will tell you that firstly they are nonsense because, if you want to make a change, just make it. There’s no sense in waiting for a specific day.
Secondly, I will point out that, if you don’t think about the motivation behind your change, and if you aren’t certain it really is something that drives you because you want it rather than want to want it, you’ll definitely fail by the end of January.
I’ve always thought that I was passing on important wisdom but I’ve realised that I’m not.
In the park, at the end of a lovely early morning walk, I tell my sister,
“Whenever I get to Christmas I always spend a moment or two in gratitude that I’ve made it to another one. That’s all I need really, to get through to another one.”
Hearing myself speak this truth makes it obvious why I have so little time for New Year resolutions. It seems I’ve finally found a way past the need to constantly achieve something and, combined with my refusal to do anything I don’t want to, there seems little point in setting goals I have no desire to reach.
What’s most interesting of all is that, against this background, achievement and progress actually feels easier.
Today, we are clearing out the garage, a job which will begin with, “Let’s just do an hour” and continue through to “We’re on a roll so let’s keep going”.
I have no idea how I’m going to get out of it after an hour or so, but I’m pretty sure that I will.