I really enjoy Twixmas with its wonderful ‘nowhere to go and little to do’ vibe. In fact, I like it so much I actually forgot to go to work one year and that was in January!
One of my rituals during this time is to prise open my (paper) diary and start filling in significant dates. I start with the current diary, transferring birthdays and then take a trip down Memory Lane and the various events of the outgoing year before adding upcoming ones.
2020 started with my dad’s funeral which marked an ending in so many ways. I had no parents left to give me advice, whether wanted or not! No parents left who knew me before I did and who had been with me through every major and minor event of my life. No reason to go back to the family home. No parents left to be primary carer for which, with a full-time job, left me exhausted from juggling it all. Suddenly, I had all the time in the world. It was a bittersweet start to the year.
January to March were filled with events. A week in France, lecturing in food and drink tourism at the R.I. lut de L’Aisne (Universite du Picardie) – always great fun and a civilised university that has champagne in the lecturers’ fridge, not so much for any occasion as any excuse. All the more fantastic as I appeared to be the excuse – my kind of institution.
There were social events and a few weekends away with my best friends and lots to look forward to. And then the crossing outs started until June and the commencement of blank page season which, as I write, continues. Social events and travel replaced by dentist appointments and MOT bookings.
As I transfer dates into my 2021 diary, it’s only birthdays and The Inspiring Women Awards lunch that are written in ink – my diary is an expanse of emptiness. Somehow, though, I find this more exciting than upsetting – all that possibility and hope that 2021 will be a year of surprises and adventure in a way 2020 never was.
All those things that we ‘crammed’ into our lives or never had time for, are now the things that are important. Travel, friendship, family, pausing for thought and, of course, drinking great champagne with my French colleagues are what I want to fill my diary with.
And even though I am no longer a lecturer but a business owner, the invitation back to France as a visiting lecturer for International Week at the Universite du Picardie (and the thought of all that champagne) is the first hopeful, albeit in pencil, entry into my 2021 diary.
As Anne Frank said: “Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”
Bring on that hope and let’s start living once more. Happy New Year!
Main pic @sharmine27