The festive season can (hopefully) be all fun and games but, after a while, it can all get a wee bit much, can’t it?
Eventually I’m ready to declutter, box up our tinsel and baubles for the year and give the house a proper scrub. New year, new attempt at keeping atop the housekeeping an’ all that.
It’s lovely to have a definitive stopping point. My year ended on a high point, bagging a new job just in time for boom season in customer service. After years of wearing multiple hats in the service industry, I’ve revelled in crafting the perfect out of office and tying everything up for the year.
However, with the focus on spending time indoors, visiting friends or family, filling ourselves with food, drink and merriment, it’s easy to feel a little stagnant. Everything seems to come to a close- or at least a pause- and so it should. It’s good for the soul to take some time out. But it’s equally good to jump back in.
Christmas can be hard for wee ones, too. Little Boo has his set routine, whether I’m at work or not, and it’s been tough for him being out of it. We’ve been sleeping later, sitting in our jammies for longer, shuttling him between various houses and there’s not been much for him to do.
If I’m off, we usually try and get outside, to fill our lungs and imaginations. He was ill in the week leading up to Christmas so we spent a few days cooped up in the house. Throughout it all, he kept asking to go to the park.
After fulfilling our festive duties, catapulting between our respective families, that’s exactly where we went.
There’s a Scots tradition of opening the windows just before midnight on Hogmanay (new year’s eve), to let the old year out and the new one in. It’s one I’ve always loved. It symbolises a fresh start in the simplest way, clearing out old habits or routines and letting in new beginnings. I feel the same way about getting outside. Being indoors makes me feel boxed in and uneasy. I love just getting out there, finding new places to explore, putting our stomp on old pathways or finding new ones of our own.
In between Christmas and new year, we went to the swing park, visited the Wallace Monument, let Little Boo make his own way up, took him out to the fields and glens on our own doorstep and met squirrels in the west end. We wrapped up warm, didn’t have much of a plan and went where the day took us. We ate pancakes and Belgian buns, raced up hills, took in some culture and heritage and even spent some Christmas money on books and vinyl. Getting out in the fresh air did us all the world of good.
I also got to break out the beautiful new Olympus Pen I got for Christmas, after years of taking blog photos with my phone. It’s amazing how few of them needed much retouching, although my photography practice is definitely lacking.
I’m not saying for a second that “just go for a walk” is a cure for all ills. It’s not my place to tell anyone what to do for their health and also, it’s not true. What I am saying is that, for me, a stretch in the cold sunshine was like hitting the reset button. It’s the same as cleansing my house with sage, or flinging open my windows just before the bells. It’s my way of saying that I’m ready for what’s ahead. I don’t know what that is- I don’t think any of us do. If the last year has taught us anything it’s that not knowing teaches us the most.
It’s not been easy, but I’m here now, and that’s about the best start to a year that I can get.