This Boxing Day I very much needed to focus on gratitudes as I found myself waking up with the worst sore throat, blocked sinuses and the inability to get out of bed, almost flu-like. I use the word ‘almost’ as I think I could have got out of bed for a £50 note!
That all said, I felt so low. This is the first Christmas on my own without family of any kind, and I had made lots of arrangements to keep myself busy. However, being ill was not one of them. I had to phone my friend Helen, who had invited me to her family’s Boxing Day shenanigans, and tell her that sadly I couldn’t make it to see them and that I had a bad cold which I didn’t want to pass on to her family. In truth, I wouldn’t have been able to drive. So that was it! I doubted I’d make the karaoke evening at my friend Toni’s place with a blocked nose and the inability to speak, never mind sing!
I’ll be honest, I started to feel very sorry for myself as there I was all alone on Boxing Day. I’ve always been a fan of Boxing Day and now, all I had was my onesie and me. However, then I started to reflect on things, and pull in those gratitudes which I knew I had to focus on to get me through the day without being tearful. Firstly, I had a wonderful Christmas Day with my friend Sue Philbey. I cooked up a huge feast for us, including home made cranberry sauce, stuffing, bread sauce and even a treacle target (of sorts)! So at least I’d made it through that day. We even played Scrabble which I loved even though I lost. Not only that, I now had a fridge full of leftovers which I could nibble on without having to cook which I certainly wouldn’t have been able to. Oh, and I had that bottle of port (my favourite) and plenty of gin. If all failed I thought to myself, I could kill the bugs with booze, ha ha!
At last and joking aside, I also reflected on how warm and safe I felt in my apartment. I have to admit, I felt inclined to post a ‘sympathy’ post on Facebook and was inundated with “get well soon” and “hugs” messages. Sometimes we need to use social media for a bit of sympathy and it’ll make us instantly feel better, that was exactly what I need. I suddenly didn’t feel alone anymore and my friends seemed genuinely concerned. Furthermore, when scrolling through my TV and even though there are many repeated films and series at Christmas time I was delighted to see that Roald Dahl’s ‘The BFG’ was screeing and I watched it for the first time; what a lovely movie.
I thought why I felt so low, and talking to my friend Sue, I realised it must be because there is this massive pressure on everyone at Christmas, thanks to the Victorian image of Christmas and the Royal Family’s German connection, to create the most perfect vision of Christmas, down to the size of your tree, the decorations, the food you produce, the gifts which are given, even the way they’re wrapped. I think all of this has got a bit out of control and for some people, it’s a very trying time, in fact a sad and lonely time, or a time to be with friends and family and just relax and enjoy, no pressure! What I came to realise was that I had my own sort of pressure and what my idea of Boxing Day was. When I was married it was dog walking, pub and family visits, more eating, more drinking, and then back for leftovers. I would move heaven and earth to create ‘perfect and happy’ just as I had been doing in every aspect of my life for my entire life. However, I suddenly realised that this was a version of Boxing Day that I didn’t have to repeat any longer. I could do exactly what I was doing with no pressure, i.e. taking a nice warm bath, getting into my cozy Reindeer onesie, eating Turkey scraps and drinking a glass of port, wrapped up on the sofa, tissue box at the ready, I actually felt totally at peace with myself and the world. I can’t say I felt ‘joyful’ but I calmly accepted my situation for what it was. And even though I was ill on Boxing Day I was off on holiday to Tenerife the Sunday after. It seemed to me that having fought off two colds within the last two months this holiday was well overdue.
Yes, I thought to myself, as I smiled at ‘The BFG’s’ dream catching antics… life is really amazing, if you wish it to be! Always remember, gratitudes can turn around any negative situation.
Tracey B x