Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Seasonal Musings

The weather outside is frightful, but I don't care because I'm sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop and a glass of wine while my Paramour makes his delicious blue cheese gnocchi and pleasant music plays. It's nearly Christmas. I don't feel very Christmassy yet, which is probably because I'm still at work - till lunchtime tomorrow - but I expect I will be feeling all festive by the time we leave tomorrow to go to spend Christmas with our dear friends.

I was feeling a bit pouty this morning (yes, I know I'd better not, but sometimes a girl can't help it) because I was sitting in my office inputting some incredibly tedious data while the whole of the rest of the world seemed to be on holiday. Then I thought about my mum, who has always advised me, when I feel like that, to count my blessings. And do you know what? It wasn't very long before I lost count.

I am such a lucky person. For a start, I live in the developed world. Yes, I know our society isn't perfect. In fact, there are lots of problems with it. But I've never had to go hungry or stay cold for more than a few hours. It seems very fashionable to gripe about 'the system', but the NHS sorted me out most efficiently when I had to have my operation last year. Again, there are problems - my experience wasn't perfect - but it was pretty damn good, all things considered. I'm healthy now; I live in a comfortable house; I have a loving family and a whole bunch of terrific friends, including you; you're one of my blessings. And the Internet, for goodness' sake! It's a miracle! I've only been using it for 10 years and already I take it for granted most of the time, but this morning I heard a song on the radio, thought 'that would be a great one for my Paramour to sing at acoustic nights,' got onto Google, found it on YouTube, and emailed him a message and the URL in less time than it takes to tell. I guess most of us do things like that, but when you stop to think about it, isn't it amazing?

And this year, I'm lucky because I look set to have a truly happy Christmas and New Year, for the first time in several years. I can't quite trust that - to some extent, I'm waiting for the bad news phone call or the climatic or domestic calamity that will pull the happiness rug from under me - but the signs are good.

Yet there's still a bittersweet quality to this winter holiday. Although it looks as if I'm going to have a terrific time with people I love, I'm well aware that others are not so fortunate. Some people I know are out of work and skint and trying to make a good Christmas for their children on very little money. Others are recently bereaved, or know they are probably facing the last Christmas with someone they love. Some people have other problems which stand between them and a good time: health problems, homelessness, job insecurity, relationship difficulties, money worries. I'm only an onion skin away from being in their position. At this time of year, for some reason, the fragile, precarious nature of the happiness and comfort I am privileged to experience is more vivid, more real than at other times. I am so aware that at any moment, a chance event could transform happiness and comfort into misery and woe - and yet perhaps that's no bad thing. It certainly helps me to appreciate the many ways in which I am such a very, very lucky person.

And on that note, as the gnocchi is ready (oops, forgot to count my Paramour, don't tell on me!), I wish you happiness and love over the winter break.


Beleaguered Squirrel said...

I'm looking forward to it. The tree is presiding over a veritable mound of presents, and the house is full of chocolate, and the kids are excited and I am reading a very gripping book, so I'm happy.

But I am right now this moment supposed to be cleaning bathrooms, and failing. It won't ruin your Christmas if the bathrooms are a little grubby, will it??

Hmmm. Better go make bed for yourself and the Paramour...

Lane said...

The internet is a blessing isn't it!

Merry Christmas to you and yours. x

SpiralSkies said...

I'm smiling at your blessings - one of my best blessings is the lovey friends I've made this year.

Much love to you and your Paramour. Merry Christmas X

Bernadette said...

How lovely.

I also count my blessings often and am aware of how fortunate I am, to a large extent simply because of where I was born. There is always more to wish for, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be grateful and happy for what we have.

My mum constantly reminds me of 'the onion skin' - if I say I am happy about something she will tell me that it could all change tomorrow (yesterday it was elves in the sky who look down and punish us if we get complacent!!??). But I think if we are happy today we should enjoy it and be grateful today - tomorrow will bring what it brings regardless.

I hope your Christmas goes according to plan and you have the wonderful time you deserve.

Oh - and save me a gnocchi (gnoccho?)!

L-Plate Author said...

Well said Queenie, great post.

Merry Christmas! x

Anonymous said...

Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year from the Dark Skipper.

Carol said...

I had hoped to have finished my profile by today...I'm nearly there (only got my action plan, conclusion and evaluation to write) but not there yet so will have to do some work over the break which I had hopped to avoid but never mind...

We're staying at home for Christmas, we have the tree up, the menu planned and food bought and today we're doing some decorating and present wrapping and then we are going to open a good bottle of wine and have a lovely chilled out evening.

Merry Christmas hon...I hope you have a lovely one

C x

Tam said...

Happy Christmas, sweetie x x

Debs said...

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

I try to remember to count my blessings and make the most of every day, but somehow Christmas seems to make the fragility of what we have even more conspicuous.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Queenie! and a happy 2010 to you xx

Queenie said...

Hello everyone, thanks for your comments, I hope you all had lovely Christmases, I know I did!
BS: didn't we have a great time? (And, in case anyone is wondering, the bathrooms were spotless!)
Bernadette: good point. And I bet being constantly reminded doesn't help.
Carol, I'm working too, if it's any consolation!
Debs, that's exactly how I felt about it.