Jayne Dawson: Don’t give in to flatness, be strong and keep life fizzy

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How are you feeling? Be honest, it’s just between you and me. I won’t tell.

I’m feeling a bit flat. FLAT, I said, FLAT. Emotion-wise I mean. Although yes, since you bring it up, I feel more than a bit fat as well.

But then who doesn’t? I mean, there will be somebody, some hateful person who has spent the last weeks doing everything right.

Some smug so-and-so who clothed themselves in an invisible armour of willpower on December 1 and has spent the time since saying no to mince pies. On Christmas Day they will have made sure their plate was two thirds sprouts and carrots, one third lean turkey, and light on the festive garnishes. On Christmas night they will have allowed themselves two Quality Street.

That person is not feeling fat, but they have no friends. Mind you, one festive season a long time ago I was that person and, in all honesty, I can tell you that when you end December the same weight you started it, you don’t need friends. You have your euphoria to keep you company.

But back to feeling flat. It’s common enough on account of the season lasting so long. Years ago, many, many years ago, Christmas was a two-day business.

There was the day itself and Boxing Day, and just possibly New Year’s Day as well if you were one of the people who threw a sickie that day, back in the dark ages before it became a public holiday.

Workplaces were regularly half empty, but the upside was that newspapers always had a story for the difficult news day that is Jan 2. They simply poured outrage onto the pages about the number of absentees.

But all that is the stuff of affectionate memory. Now there is the hinterland to deal with, those days between the turkey-fest that is Christmas and the misery-fest that is New Year.

Well, do you know anyone who enjoys New Year’s Eve?

Actually, I don’t dislike the hinterland. I would go as far as to say I quite like it because it’s a bit of a dreamtime, isn’t it? A time when normal life is suspended.

And with the help of Jools Holland I can even get through New Year’s Eve - but there is no denying that this week bemuses us even when we are willing to embrace it.

Because we don’t know what to do with it, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. We haven’t evolved enough to cope.

As the days go on we become disorientated, all the normal parameters of life have disappeared and we are left staggering about, not knowing whether we should be existing on a diet of leftovers and catch-up festive TV, or whether we should be..well, that’s just it. We don’t know what we should be doing.

The problem is there are no rules. Our festive season has got longer, but it has come without instructions. So we wander through the days, all feeling a bit jaded, a bit guilty, a bit fed up of Christmas cake and Advocaat-based drinks.

Women cope better than men, with life in general, and at this time. The men tend to disappear. Sometimes you see them, palely loitering in their new jumper by a cut-price sofa in the furniture sales, but mostly they are out of sight.

They attach themselves to sporting events, they jam themselves behind newspapers, they glue themselves to screens of all kinds, they visit their mothers and their in-laws.

Sometimes, in desperation, they give in to entreaties to do jobs around the house that require the power of the drill.

But you can practically see the clock inside their heads, counting down to when work resumes and normal life is safely back in place.

For women there is always plenty to do outside of work: friends and family to entertain, children to care for. Christmas stereotypes the sexes like no other season.

Me, I’m trying to make the most of it. To stop the flatness and carry on feeling the fizz. Which reminds me, I’m sure there’s still a bottle left here somewhere.

Leeds United 1992 League Champions.  Leeds United v Sheffield United, title winning match, 26th April 1992.  Players celebrate. From left: Jon Newsome, Gary Speed, Gary McAllister and Eric Cantona with John Lukic behind.

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