Monday, 5 January 2015

Twelve days of Christmas

So it’s arrived again, the time when the decorations come down, the kids go back to school and life goes back to what resembles normality in this house.  And I can’t help but feel a little sad. The anticlimax has hit.  2015 looms full of opportunity, but full of the same old same old… There are going to be lots of challenges that will need to be overcome, and I will face them with both excitement and trepidation. 

How to combat a certain element of the fear of failure is a challenge that I will have to learn, and to teach my boys.  How to look at a grey sky and see a blue one will at times be a challenge.  How to find that last ounce of strength to help a child with his homework when I am tired, or overworked or over wrought will be a challenge.

But it will happen.  And it will be my little family that will spur me on in any dark days that I have. The little pleading eyes that say Please can we use the last Egg to make some Cupcakes? And the smell of baking will ease anything!  Or the little shoulders that shrug when presenting me with the requirements for a fancy dress costume due in school the next day – with total trust that I can do it.  And I do.  Or the fiercely wagging tail of the dog which indicates that Yes, he knows it is raining, but still, it would be fun to go and splash in puddles and get all muddy.  And it is.

And so it’s not really so bad, the last few days of Christmas.  It signifies that we have survived another festive period, this year mercifully without any mishaps. It gives me time to look again through the cards, reading those little scribbles that tell you what others lives have been like, looking at the enclosed photos of their growing kids or aging parents. It gives me a chance to carefully wrap up all the dough decorations and baubles that the kids made in nursery, preserving them for another year.  And it is a time for reflection.

And if anyone needs  anything to look forward to - it will be less than 350 days before they all go up again!  

Friday, 2 January 2015

Back to the Future as 2015 finally arrives

On the second day of 2015, or the Future (as featured in the 1989 film Back to the Future II) most of us are sitting a little dazed as the mayhem of the festive period in 2014 fizzes out on the horizon in a last pop of a Prosecco bubble. The tree sits wilting in bedraggled tinsel and the outside lights that looked so magnificent at Christmas flicker disconsolately. The cards gather glittery dust on the window sills and half opened boxes of chocolate glisten unappealingly on the table. If we saw Marty, Doc and Jennifer screech into our lives, big hair, smiles and shoulder pads looming, we would assume wearily that we were hallucinating, and that the dodgy eighties tribute band from down the local pub had got lost again…


Let’s face it, what does a film made in 1989 about our year to date really know? 1984, in which George Orwell famously described a world in which we were controlled by a Big Brother state in which there was an Inner Party that controlled the 85% of us Proles, despite a lot of accurate insights into the working of modern governments and industries, came and went.  We refused to die in May 2000, or December 2012 – both of which were ancient predictions for the end of the world.   So what is it about 2015 that will make it stand out as the Future?  What is it that will make us think, at the end of the year, that it was worth waiting for?

Back to the Future II starts off in 1985 where the original film ended, with Marty and Jennifer getting married.  But Marty and Doc have to travel forward in time to 2015 to rescue his future son from being jailed. And then all the complications arise.  So in effect, they arrive where us 80s kids are today. Yes we are older, fatter, have kids, family, mortgage and responsibilities.  We get more tired nowadays, and a hangover lasts a few days rather than a few hours. And now its me cooking the Christmas dinner instead of my mum, and I don't do a bad job of it either. 

But our true friends are still with us, and we laugh at the same stupid things, dance much to the embarrassment of our teenagers to the 'new music' before a couple of glasses of wine necessitates slamming on the Greatest Hits of the Eighties. And we would fight tooth and nail for our kids, rather like Marty.  

Perhaps we can’t stand around waiting for the hover boards and flying cars to appear.  Perhaps what we have to do is make just one prediction – that this year, the year of the Future, we will do something worthwhile to us and to us alone.  It may be dropping that dress size, it may be getting that job, it may be leaving that job, it may be learning to be patient with your aging parents, or curbing your frustration with your difficult teenage child, or learning a new skill, dumping a toxic friend, hitting the gym, or resolving to make some ‘me’ time every day.

Whatever it is, this year make it worth it. The Future is here, and it’s yours for the taking.

And if you smell burning rubber and hear screeching tyres up above your heads, duck as fast as you can, ‘cos Marty and co have arrived…

Happy New Year!