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I wrote this post a couple of months ago, before Christmas. It’s sat in my drafts ever since. I didn’t know whether to post it, because it’s boring and it’s old news, but writing this was what made me feel like writing again. So I’m going to tweak it and put it up. Because writing is therapy and this is one thing I need to let go…

I really wish I didn’t feel this way, but Christmas changed for me four years ago. I really, really hate that this is still *a thing* in my life, but – sigh – it is.

The week before Christmas in 2013, my ‘One’* (ha) upped and left. I was stunned. I was bereft. Jeez, I’ve written about this loads. Way too much already. For 11 months of the year, he doesn’t even cross my mind. But for the 11 days leading up to Christmas Day, I can’t help but mark (with a lot of thinking and unfortunately also a lot of drinking) the anniversary of the time my heart smashed and my life changed course.

I’m not sad anymore. I know my life is a million times more interesting, exciting and diverse than it would have been if I were still with him. Born out of that shitty time were incredible female friendships that give me life. I love all of those women more than I ever loved him. But I do mourn for the way in which my attitude towards love and relationships has shifted irreparably ever since.

At that time of year, I always remember the bar we were in when the conversation started, the way we sat next to each other on the District line as the conversation progressed. The shouting and the sobbing. The going back home to Norfolk for Christmas, the not leaving my bedroom for several days, the devouring endless chick-lit (FYI: not a helpful coping strategy). He was the first man I’d ever managed to persuade to spend Christmas Day with me (which, of course, never happened). He was the first man I’d ever lived with. He was the first man I’d ever sacrificed real, important parts of myself for.

This year, I spent my fourth Christmas single, having resolutely not sacrificed anything for anyone during any of those four Christmases, or any of the time in between. Because why would I?

And that’s the reason the festive season always feels different now. It’s the time of the year I realise most how cynical and fiercely independent I have become. I realise how much it broke me because I spend so much time reminiscing (and a fair number of evenings drinking… did I mention the drinking?). I do my absolute best to be the opposite of what I was. I was settled and ‘normal’ and on the path to coupled up homemaking. Every December I prove how routine-less, how single, how much more fun I now am.

And then January comes around and without the cloud of forced festivity, I remember I don’t need to prove anything. I’m doing just fine on my own. I’m doing just fine with my family and friends and my sense of adventure.

Christmas might have lost it’s magic that Sunday afternoon, but it unleashed so much more.

*I don’t think I’ve ever actually believed in the notion of ‘The One’, but maybe I’ll save that for another post…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d6e/18782832/files/2014/12/img_2416.jpgI always knew December was going to be a toughie. It has been noted that I can occasionally act more like a fifty-something than a twenty-something, but the prospect of a little less sleep and a little more socialising than normal was exciting. But what transpired was exhausting. This month saw way, way too many hangovers, most of which were earned on a school night. I’ve eaten a LOT of burritos and cried in front of a few too many of my colleagues. I’ve only run once. I’ve worked a lot. I’ve seen the inside of trains, planes, my GP surgery and a hospital. I’ve had an infection and a nasty chesty cough. I’ve made just one visit to the gym, at 2pm on a Thursday – and that was just because it was the only opportunity I had to shower between having been out the night before and going out again later that day. Gross.

I got to Christmas Day feeling decidedly more sluggish, podgy and generally unwell than I would have liked. I know that this is the very time for merriment (which was in abundance), but as usual, my boom or bust attitude to most things has left me feeling the opposite of relaxed. More than ever, I feel like a Christmas cliché, waiting for January to come along and sweep away all my missed workout and ‘one more glass of red’ guilt.

Most of all I feel panicked. I don’t think I possibly could have got marathon training off to a worse start. Barcelona marathon is eleven weeks away and I feel like I am literally at square zero. Time to practice what I’ve preached and try and do this running happy thing. There’s nothing else for it.