Indulge. Repent. Indulge. Repent. Repeat.
If there is any real sign of the cyclical nature of life, the fact that humanity is entrenched in repetitive, safe patterns, it is the Christmas/January cycle. Go nuts at Christmas, eat shit, feel fat in January, diet you fat fucker. We don’t care that much about what you do in February, you’ll either be drowning yourself in preparation for Valentine’s Day if you’re single or buying a Marks & Spencer meal for two with free lubricant at the counter if you are lucky enough to be in a couple.
Is this a British tradition, this guilt? Does it enhance the pleasure, like some strange sort of sado-masochistic orgasmic self-flagellation? The Christmas fun will only be enhanced by utter consumption to the point of sickness, whereby in January I will actually want to spend a month drinking kale juice. Then in February, well then we just go back to our routines of eating badly sometimes, feeling guilty, going to the gym, eating chocolate on the way home, walking to work, looking for signs of fat in the mirror, wondering if we can get away with carbs after 8pm etc. A sort of mini cycle of splurging and repentance.
I am certainly not saying that I am above all of this. I did over indulge and now my jeans which previously I needed a belt for are happily sitting on my hips sans belt saying hey, this don’t feel so bad. But I don’t feel guilt and am not going to diet in January. What I am going to do is exercise and not binge eat. It’s just radical enough to work.
I have spent the last two odd years working in a conflict affected country in Africa. I have now moved back to England and am regaining my feet, so to speak, and also looking for work. It’s a strange sort of period, this transition. It reminds me of my previous post about life’s waiting room, whereby again I am living my life waiting for something to happen and I wonder when this waiting will end. It is this waiting that probably gives everything I do a temporary feel and always has done, this might not be always a bad thing, as it gives you a sort of short-term look on the world which means you are more likely to take risks. However it can also mean that the prospect of permanence, any kind of life permanence, is completely terrifying.
I wonder if I am so content waiting that I can’t bear to look at what lies behind the other side of that door. Marriage? A permanent home? Or, horror of all eternal horrors, spending my weekend going to Homebase to buy curtain rings? It seems as distant idea as the land of Narnia at the moment. But, as I sit in this limbo which feels like I’ve taken time out of my life to assess what my next step will be, should I be running after this life now? Or running towards new adventures? Can I really not have both?
Too much to contemplate so early in the year? Ok – on to MY new year’s resolutions, none of which involve watching an ex celebrity big brother contestant jumping in lycra while I huff and puff in my living room with the DVD remote, my bottle of water and a half eaten Nutri Grain making my heart sink with every jump. I will complete the novel I am working on. I will live healthily. I will, most importantly, be happy within myself instead of looking for others around me or some elusive thing to make me happy.
When I did a Vipassana meditation course last year, we were constantly reminded of these two words, ‘Be Happy’. Simple and yet effective to remember as the empty January days make us feel slightly bleak. Be Happy. Now.