The last time

I'm a guy who likes my traditions. Or, perhaps, you could put it another way. I'm a guy who likes my routines, the idea of doing the same thing at a particular point in time.

Well, I'm really writing this because I have to let one of those routines go.

Usually, on Christmas eve, I send out a group text message to a particular set of people, and write their replies to me. I've done that for a good ten years now. Last year, I said, if the year ahead does not prove to be a good one, I might stop.

Well, this year has not been good to me.

And so I stop.

It's almost five in the afternoon and I still don't feel particularly Christmas-sy. I did buy presents, but a part of me feels I'm just doing it so things can feel a bit more normal. "You have bounced back, somewhat." And some will say that. Some will suggest that things are looking fine again - I'm writing, I'm getting a bit more renowned, I managed to make a couple of trips.

Honestly, though, in the grand scheme of things, it has been a bad year. It does not feel like I have moved past a bad chapter. It feels like I have entered it and can never leave it completely. It feels - no, I know - that it will always be like this.

Great, I'm writing something negative on a day where people are supposed to be thankful, all that "from my family to yours" crap.

Now, I don't feel terrible right now. Sleepy, yes. I haven't had enough sleep lately, for some reason. I plan to sleep at eleven but I fall asleep at twelve. I've had a couple of headaches. (I make it sound like a cocktail.) But let's be honest - I cannot, and will not, force myself to be happier than I really am right now. I feel fine, but it will always feel like things could be better - and while you'll say I should work on that, right now, I just don't feel like it.

I am not the exception to the rule. I am not the only one who feels like this.

But, you know, who cares, right? It's Christmas. It's time to bake your pastries and fly to exotic places and look good in front of others.

Hey, Nicksy, you're being way too bitter now. You're just saying you didn't send a text message to thirty people today, come on!

I had breakfast with Shalla this morning. We finally tried Paul, and I think it's worth it. We enjoyed the breakfast, although she'll still never be a fan of eggs. More for me, then.

I liked that. We're just talking, and then, in the car, we're talking some more, about how I never watch archaeology documentaries on television. She bursts out into song. "I know science! I know science!" We made a song in the car.

I liked that. Perhaps I have to live for all that, too.

And your responses...

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