Well, one week done, just 51 to go and it’ll be 2023. I’d better start my Christmas shopping soon or I might miss festive deadlines.
Looking back, it feels like 2021 was a blur and there’s nothing yet to suggest that 2022 will be any different.
It’s tempting to reflect that the auld year was one of constant chaos and calamity, perhaps because much of it was.
This time last January, while still in pandemic lockdown, I was asking if locksmiths qualified as key workers, whether or not employees in a soap factory could form a bubble with their colleagues and condemning the man who stole a box full of 2021 calendars. He got 12 months, apparently.
Although 2021 presented many difficult challenges, there was much to recall with joy and satisfaction and I fervently hope that 2022 will be even better with significant progress made towards life returning to normal.
I’m not getting carried away with this aberrant burst of optimism, however. My natural bent is towards realism bordering on perpetual pessimism. Mindfulness coach Vicki Robson, from Turriff, suggests beating the January blues by writing down things we’re thankful for and setting aside five minutes a day for deep-breathing exercises.
Knowing my luck, my pen would probably run out when writing my list and during my deep-breathing session I’d probably miss the postie or the phone or drop off into my lunchtime soup.
Just when it seems things can’t get any worse, they usually do. I’ve considered entering the country’s Most Pessimistic Person contest but I wouldn’t fancy my chances of winning.
I even put a pessimism glass on my desk that works in a similar way to a swear box. Every time I have a pessimistic thought, I put money in it. Sadly, the glass is still half-empty.
Once I worked with a chap who was serially negative. “Cheer up,” I said breezily one morning, “it might never happen”. He replied with a long-suffering lugubrious look: “It’s already happened, Ken, it’s just that no (expletive deleted) has told us yet”.
I’m vulnerable to thinking if it can go wrong, it probably will. Once, when walking in the park, I wondered why a ball was getting bigger and bigger. Then it hit me.
No better reason, therefore, than to rely on the tradition of New Year resolutions to help kick-start the post-festive blues into something more positive. I did just that on New Year’s Day and now, a week later, it’s time to assess how things have progressed.
I categorised my resolutions into four Fs – food, fitness, finances and Facebook. On food, I vowed that immediately after our New Year dinner I would return to fastidious eating habits. That lasted until I saw piles of uneaten chocolate, sweets, biscuits and crisps we’d bought in case hordes of visitors descended on us during the festivities.
They didn’t, and as I detest waste, my food resolution lasted approximately one day.
As for fitness, I’m determined to start getting in slimline shape again. Sadly, the arrival of rough weather this week with snow and gales left me confined indoors in my favourite chair, munching that mountain of leftover goodies. The fitness resolution has stalled before starting.
On finances, I’ve done slightly better as I haven’t yet left the house to spend anything. Unfortunately, Mrs F is one of those with a January birthday that comes hard on the heels of buying her Christmas presents, so that needs addressed imminently. My finances resolution is looking shaky.
My final vow was to withdraw from social media, including Facebook and Twitter. It’s useful for keeping in touch but when hijacked as an appalling front for anonymous abusers, such as the scurrilous stuff suffered this week by brave MSP Karen Adam, something must happen.
Social media companies seem reluctant to tackle disgusting trolling so, in protest, I’ve closed my accounts. Keeping that resolution was easy and I feel better already.
Instead of abuse, we need the world to be kinder and more conciliatory going forward. I’m not optimistic, though.
Still, I’ve resolved to be more chilled-out this year. Watching snow hurtling past the window horizontally, driven by a north-westerly gale, that shouldn’t be too difficult.