That Was The Easy Part

Every year come early November, as the shops start setting up their seasonal displays and the constant cacophony of “Sleigh Ride” and “Silver Bells” are only briefly interrupted by your stepping from store to store, you do a deal in your head that is part goal, part promise: “If I can just make it through December, things will be all right.” And you gird yourself for the onslaught: the chronic anxiety surrounding Thanksgiving, the interminable slew of holiday parties at which the sore muscles in your forced rictus are barely soothed by the overindulgence in alcohol that even for you seems worryingly excessive, the dreaded days of Christmas itself and then the aggravation and inevitable disappointment that New Year’s Eve holds, all of which pales in comparison to the massive physical and psychic hangovers you experience on New Year’s Day as you reflect on the turning of the calendar and how it is now one year closer to your end. But at least you’ve done it. You’ve made it through. And then WHAMMO, that first Monday back smacks you in the face with the hard reality that your mind never lets you remember, probably for reasons of survival, until it’s too late: Making it through December is child’s play; now you’ve got to make it through actual winter. The bills come due, the cold comes in, all the people you shunted aside with promises to get together “after the holidays” are bugging you to meet up and even if you somehow manage to blow them off again it only adds to the heap of guilt that is just another piece of the terrible pile under which you’re buried as you sit sobbing on your couch watching bad TV in the permanent dark that descended months ago but is now so familiar that you just assume that it will never go away, that it will just become another part of the frozen tundra you trudge through to go to a job that is somehow both meaningless and demanding and an insistent reminder that even as slowly as the days go by you are still wasting all of them and when death finally comes you will have nothing to show for your time on this earth save for a picture or two that some of your “friends” liked on Instagram. Yes, that is what you have woken up to this morning. Your future full of dark, cold and sad starts now. But I will try to be optimistic for you and tell you this: They can’t keep it winter forever. No matter how bad it gets, how awful and hopeless and worthless everything seems, I promise you that at some point the sun is going to shine again. The middle of May at the latest. If we make it through let’s meet up for a drink.