Can you believe it’s the 1st of December already?
I’m starting to suspect something. I think the older you become, the faster time is passing you by. I’m beginning to imagine someone is looking down upon me, dangling an enormous stopwatch, and every year this someone is speeding time along, with the aid of this enormous stopwatch.
Can you remember when you were young and carefree and a whole year seemed to last forever? Those were the days when life was one huge playground. The days when I had nothing to worry about except how many sweets I could buy in the corner shop, and how many times I could whiz around the park on my roller skates before the sky turned dark and I had to head home for my dinner.
Life is simple when you are young. You don’t have bills to pay and deadlines to meet, life and love are not wearing you down and stressing you out. Your parents take care of everything. All you have to do is play with your toys, and go to school and learn.
Okay, senior school wasn't as simple. I realised at senior school that not all teachers, and not all pupils come to think of it, were very nice. And maths had turned into algebra and geometry. Arrgg! Who said maths had to be so complicated? But I behaved myself around the not-so-nice teachers, avoided the ‘wrong crowd’ and tried to bribe my dad into completing my maths homework. And still the days, weeks, months, years would tick by slowly. It would seem ages from one December to the next.
Because December means Christmas! I used to think Christmas was the most magical and special time ever. I would be so excited on Christmas Eve that I literally couldn’t sleep. This was a great source of worry - if I wasn’t asleep, Father Christmas wouldn’t leave me any presents! That was my biggest fear during the festive period. How tightly I would close my eyes and will myself to fall asleep, imaging the big man in the red and white suite entering my bedroom and saying, “Sorry little girl, you know the rules. If you’re not sleeping, I’m not leaving any presents!”
As the years passed, my doubts escalated towards this Father Christmas lark, and I began to suspect something wasn't quite right. (Rather like my suspicions over this time thing now.) How could one man visit every single house in the whole wide world, in one single night? And if he was as big as his pictures lead us to believe, how could he possibly fit down all those chimneys? Especially after feasting on mince pies etc, which the children had thoughtfully left out for him. Surely his belly would become stuck half-way? And could reindeers really fly? It didn’t add up. I hated to admit it, but my parents were looking more and more likely to be the reason behind the presents which were left at the end of my bed. Especially as one year I noticed the wrapping paper was the same as the roll propped up against the kitchen table. “Look mum,” I said. “It’s the same wrapping paper as over there!” “Gosh,” my mum replied. “Father Christmas must use the same wrapping paper as me!” See how astute my younger self was?!
I still love Christmas. A time to be with your loved ones, reflect on the real reason behind the season of good-will, not the commercial present side. You reach a certain age and you realise it’s not all about presents. Well I did. But it seems to come along way too fast these days. What with bills to pay and deadlines to meet and life and love to worry about, December is soon upon my older self faster that you can, “Jumping Jack Flash!”
Which is why I’ve tried to be organised this year. Too many years I’ve been caught out and dashed around the shops on Christmas Eve, desperately searching for inspiration. I have even prised myself out of bed on Christmas Day to wrap presents. Shameful. Just thinking about leaving things to the last minute, as I have done many a time, stresses me out and makes me feel queasy.
Therefore, this year, I am pleased to report, it’s the 1st of December and I have made all my Christmas cards, ready to circulate to family and friends. And every present I have bought, I've wrapped and placed in a big box underneath my bed. Which allows me plenty of time to help with the food and decorating, and to enjoy myself in the merry month of December. This sounds a good deal to me.
Although I can't help wondering how long this deal and organised state of mind will last? Probably not very long. I’ll probably leave something very important until the last possible moment. And then I’m bound to blame that enormous stopwatch in the sky for unfairly speeding time along.
"Hey," I'll say. "Whoever you are, can’t you put that stopwatch away?!"
Picture of the day: