Early January is a time when many struggle psychologically. We’ve been on the emotional and commercial ramp that society pushes us up in the weeks before Christmas Day, followed by the sofa buying hiatus during which we are encouraged to look forward to a new start as midnight on 31st clicks over in our time zone. On January 1st, thoughts turn to renewal, with the realisation that daylight is extending by a couple of minutes a day, but thoughts also traditionally turn to abstinence and self-discipline. This sudden onset of abstinence and self-discipline makes little sense to brains and bodies that have been encouraged to conflate self-indulgence and expenditure with relaxation and happiness for the last ten days. There is also that nagging awareness that only the relatively affluent get to take part in the self-indulgence and compulsory happiness. And then the thought dawns that you’ll soon need to be back on the work commute to pay rent.
Not too surprising then that the first few days of January is a peak time for calls to divorce solicitors and debt helplines; holiday bookings too, as the next escape from reality is planned. I was also recently shocked to learn that domestic violence figures rise sharply during the Christmas period.
Four years ago today, at around 3.30 in the afternoon, my life changed in a seismic way. I don’t want to dwell on that though. Calendar dates are reminders, but the luxury exists now to at least consider a more teleological view of time.