Or… Why my Christmas tree is still up
January… a time when the shower of images and stories of people looking great, cool, successful and happy which constantly rains down on us from the media turns into a torrential downpour. We are driven to surge into the new year with resolutions to become stronger, more productive, shinier versions of ourselves. Society dictates that everyone should be feeling even more ‘wow!’ than usual: doing better, buying more, speeding up and achieving, spending, working, laughing. It’s a frenzy and there’s so much pressure!
I can’t be the only one who’s feeling a bit meh, can I? I don’t mean that I’m really down, just that I feel more grey than yey!
Maybe I should go for a run. But I don’t want to.
Despite Solstice having already passed, the days are still short and dark. The weather’s a bit bland (Here Comes the Rain Again). It’s not even cold, let alone snowy and glistening with light bouncing from the ice crystals. Now that, I could cope with! But the contradictions are everywhere. If we believe the hype (Don’t Believe the Hype) we are nobody unless we become faster, thinner, richer, better. Whatever.
Where does all this pressure come from? Are we all complicit? And if so, why do we do it to ourselves? It’s hard not to buy into it. Most of us have been conditioned that way. I used to put such enormous demands on myself for so long that they ended up crushing me and I became quite ill.
So today I’m choosing to align myself with nature (yup, I’m a hippy), tune out from the noise, and turn inward to quiet contemplation (kind of). No rush. And when I hear the pull of the chaotic chatter (faster, do it, buy it, now!), I just quietly request it to jog on. I find beauty in stillness (okay, the hippy thing is becoming annoying now).
The log fire is burning. I curl up all cosy. It’s gloomy outside and I want to pause. For a long time. Actually, a pause is too short. I want to hibernate. The fairy lights are a twinkling. My Christmas tree looks so pretty.
Oops! Did I say, ‘Christmas tree’? Not the one that should have come down on the twelfth day of Christmas, surely? But, yup. It’s still standing there, all green and beautiful, pine-needle pretty and looking as though it’s straight out of Narnia in winter. All that’s missing from its branches is a sprinkling of the white stuff.
It’s a real one I picked up from the side of the road (not literally. I mean I bought it from a local lady who was selling them from her garden). The lights are still sparkling. I can’t bear to part with it yet. When I look at it, I get a warm glow inside.
But it’s the 11th of January and it was ‘supposed’ to come down days ago. There I go breaking the rules again. I live so dangerously these days I’ll be eating fish on a Thursday next (not really. I don’t eat fish). But who makes these rules? And does it really matter if you go your own way (You can go your own way)?
Maybe just accepting that it’s okay to feel… just okay, is more important than constantly striving to live up to or beyond the expectations of others (and really, who are these ‘others’?). We don’t have to be marathon-fit in two weeks, lose 10 kilos before Easter or even become a best-selling author within the year (oops, that just slipped out). We don’t have to follow ‘the rules’ and feel the pressure of things that aren’t important.
If you’re feeling it too, please don’t make yourself ill, like I did. It ain’t worth it dude! Don’t engage in the background noise. Engage with yourself. Do things your own way. Not how you ‘should’ do them.
If the running shoes fit, and you fancy a run, go for it, but if you don’t, kick ‘em off for a while, and wrap your feet up in woolly socks.
I’m not going for a run today. But I will go for a walk (Walk Don’t Run – Flawless). And then when I get home, I might curl up by the log fire again, and contemplate…
…taking down the tree.
What rules do you break to help keep you sane (or a little bit crazy)?
I’d love to hear your comments.
Did you find the song links annoying? If so, please understand… (The Girl Can’t Help It).
There’s a little story about the version of Walk Don’t Run that I’ve posted above… Watch this space if you’re interested.