"January is such a bitch. Out to get us with the extra kgs, back to work blues and new year fuckoff resolutions. And 30 hiding around the corner ready to team up with January next year and try to destroy us.....we have a year to prepare for that". A message I sent to my friend Marie at the end of the first day of back-to-work-blues.
Four days into the new year and so far I’ve managed to achieve ‘mentalist’ status with a public meltdown at my desk on my first day back at work. To be fair most of the zombies in the office aren’t taking much notice of me, they tuned out to my drone long ago, unless you count the occasional glance of annoyance when I’m telling a great story that involves some kind of inappropriate office etiquette. No great stories today just tourettes-style rants. Only my antipodean neighbours, Marie and Hamish, are aware of this spectacle I’m making of myself - because they have to. I’m updating them at 15 minute intervals about my decent into a melodramatic breakdown about how crap the start of this year is going. Actually, most of the things causing this scene haven’t even happened yet. It’s my anticipation of how I’m about to relive groundhog day – a yearly routine of it being January, a new year…..of endings. End to the job contract, end to the flat, end to the money coming in, end of year 28 ………..lots of ends leaving me for the third year running jobless and homeless at precisely the same time. I’m not superstitious but this repetition is less than ideal for my plan to be rich and prosperous. I love making New Years Resolutions. I just hate having to make the same ones over and over. Any of my friends would be inclined to point out that I have the tendency to exaggerate and over-think trivial things relating to myself. Marie reminds me it will be worse next year when it’s the eve of my 30th. Oh god, the 30-bomb…..definitely can’t handle that right now. Hamish delights in reminding me I should probably be thinking about the biological clock. The only clock around here will be my fist connecting with his smug mug.
The thing about my meltdowns are they jump out and smack me in the face when I’m least expecting it. They start with my fondness of poking fun at myself and then a ridiculously insignificant reason will push the situation into the dingy depths of ‘oh god that’s not funny anymore, that’s pathetic. I’m pathetic’. Today’s meltdown was triggered by reading my brothers new travel blog and realizing he’s got an amazing natural talent for it. And it’s much better/funnier/quirkier than anything I write. I’m calling this niggley little feeling Older Sister Deficiency Ability Disorder, otherwise known as jealousy (although I’m equally very proud of his talent). I wrote a quick note to congratulate him. He wrote a quick note back about a new venture he’s thinking of doing…..this possible success was all too much for me to tapped out a quick response without thinking much about it “Oh god, I can’t handle this kind of information right now, I’m having a new year breakdown because I am a failure”. I was kidding. Well, I thought I was kidding but those last three words stabbed me somewhere where it hurts (vaguely the pit of my stomach, buried under the extra kgs of Xmas spread) and as they stared back at me on the screen I felt the hot creep of a flush and shortage of breath expose my disposition. Not so funny anymore. I swore and deleted the traitorous humour. Marie and Hamish are staring at me with a mixed expression of concern/amusement/touch of smugness as they realise I’m embarrassing myself and they will get some mileage out of it. I have to leave the office for an external meeting and they remind me to stay away from the razors tonight. I take Marie’s advice and wallow in some self pity for the evening, do some of that unattractive crying that makes your face puff up till the wrinkles are gone (a silver lining, hallelujah!) and watch Mama Mia because it’s the only thing I can find that’s so-bad-it's-good-for-me-right-now. What is it about a new year that makes me feel so unsatisfied with what I have? I realise that for many years I always feel this way – usually towards the end of January when the it's almost birthday time. Usually I’m in charge of quitting jobs and directing moves. This year the universe has taken it out of my control and done me a favour – tired of my indecisiveness probably – given me a clean start for 2012. Life isn’t as bad as it seems. It’s just that comedown of the holiday high that tries to defeat the optimism of a new year.
My ‘work family’ check in on me – each of them send me a jokey message with an underpin of caring. I’m almost in the mood to make of fun myself, must of hit the bottom and be heading on the up. Marie posts my text response (intro to the blog) in her status on facebook and it gets a bunch of likes. It’s consoling. People love self loathing, even more so when it’s watching someone else spiral into it.
Mum sends me a diplomatic email in response to something I fired off to her in my Life is Just Not Fair moment earlier in the day – “Sam’s is not way better, it’s clearly his voice just as yours is your voice. Keep writing”. This post probably wasn't what she had in mind.