Christmas! Here we go again… Festive feeding and shopping frenzies, panic, pressure and posting deadlines. Sound familiar? Well, this year, after 45 years of catering I am taking time out. Now, I am not saying I resent the ghosts of Christmas’s past. In fact I treasure them. I have loved them all – well most of them. But last year was extremely stressful. Various health issues squeezed the energy from me, like a suffocating avalanche. Of course in time the snow melted, the weight lifted, I survived. But the panic, the inability to function efficiently, my loss of control scared me.
So, this year I am taking a break. there will be no turkey, no pud, no beds to make up and strip down, no mountains of towels and table linen to launder. Gone are the endless lists for shopping, cooking times, presents, deliveries and long queues at supermarkets. The sleepless nights worrying if I have bought enough, bought too much, cooked enough, made enough lists and worried enough are no more.
The next thing to do was inform the family. Instantly I suffered from feelings of selfishness. Guilt swept over me. I floundered in a whole new sea of stress. It took time to convince myself that I am not super woman, that I am not indispensable. Suddenly, having recognised my own frailty, it all made perfect sense. Taking a year out is no big deal. The earth would not stop turning because I was trying something different.
So, here I am. Two weeks to go. The cards have been sent. The tree twinkles in the corner. The champagne is cooling in the fridge. It is the season of peace and goodwill.Now I am looking forward to some “quality time” with my husband, without all the constant nagging, exploding, sobbing and ranting.
My contribution to this world is tiny, but it counts. 2016 has been an ugly year. Our world is suffering as never before. Vicious, bloody wars are being fought for obscure reasons. Innocent lives are destroyed and lost every minute. Hunger and homelessness is more endemic now than ever before. The gulf between the haves and the have-nots increases daily. Fear and anger are rife. We are still destroying our planet and wiping out its inhabitants species by species. That blessed host of angels are probably still heralding peace and goodwill, but they will never be heard above all the chaos. When I was a teacher I used to tell my class that “We are all responsible for our own noise”. Nothing has changed.
As this year draws to a close, I shall take time to think. In the quiet I shall reflect. I need the goodwill to resolve to heal my own life. Maybe you too can take some time for yourself. Time to appreciate the good things we have with time to share them. Time to give willingly and profitably so that we can build a better place for those who share this fragile space with us.Then, by acting together, we may just effect that much needed change.
Meanwhile, I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Peaceful, Loving 2017.