It is seven o’clock on Christmas morning and for once I have awoken before the rest of the household. It is peaceful and quiet. Next door’s security lights flicker on and off occasionally and their boiler seems to be running constantly despite it being very mild. There are rumblings now from the room above mine, the people the room contains will undoubtable be the persons first up and ready to go; they always are. The creaking floorboards tells me somebody has got out of bed, has the day begun for the house owners?

I was asked how I was getting on with the end-of-year review yesterday, and I replied I had made no progress because I had had no time or space to do it. This did not go down well. I replied that I understand that the person couldn’t comprehend how that statement could possibly be true, but I asked them to just accept that that is how it felt for me. I don’t think they can.

What is nice about this moment, is that I do have space to think and write. I have time because apart from watching Netflix or some other catch up player, there is nothing else demanding my attention. Netflix isn’t demanding my attention even, though I do have a bit of a desire to catch up on the series I’ve been watching but I think they are better used to close down in an undemanding way at the end of the day and are unnecessary at the beginning of one.

How are the holidays going? Not good really. I seem to be upsetting people. I guess I want to hide in a quiet dark place and let the time pass by, but instead I have to be around the extended family and all the noise and bustle that that implies. This is the first time I have found a sanctuary here, it is pretty peaceful at the moment though even now there are signs that somebody else is creeping around downstairs and I really wish that boiler would switch off for a bit. I think noise and space have been the main issues, though I find it hard to know how to describe them.

I do not have a quiet room to be in. I am currently in the dining/TV room with a blow-up mattress for comfort and a duvet for warmth. The dog is with me which is the main reason I have the room to myself. The first night we were here, the dog whined starting at 4.30am and continued for a good hour. I think he was feeling lonely in a new place.  My solution though not easy was to ignore him because giving him attention seems to make him even more attached to me. Instead the home owner decided to keep him company. This did indeed keep him quiet so the rest of the house could sleep but meant the following night somebody was needed to keep him company.

There is now somebody on the telephone having a happy conversation with relatives living aboard. The peace has ended, though I will try to continue.

Initially I thought a child of mine might fulfil the duty of dog sitting but this meant that I would lose my late night space (in the background I can clearly hear “they are all asleep, it’s seven o’clock in the morning” no they are not all asleep and I am struggling to focus). The phone call seems to have ended.

In effect I traded space and time at night with a loss of space during the day, but my previous room was shared with my wife and the one time I went to have a lie down, she was woken on her laptop marking and I couldn’t get past the tapping of the keys. The problem with typing at night though is that I am tired, working out my feelings takes too much effort and so I “relax” watching TV series instead. It is a temporary solution and not really what I need in the long run but it does enable me to sleep. What I need really is space to process the day, to work out why my wife says I am rude and abrupt whenever I say something, to work through the anxiety I know is causing this, and work through any thoughts that have occurred to me recently.

The Christmas holidays seem to be a minefield to negotiate. I don’t find it particularly difficult to buy presents for people, though my organisation skills leave a lot to be desired, but I do find it very hard to come up with a list of things for people to buy me. So much is the struggle to find something that pleases others and myself that this year that I haven’t actually come up with anything. I have learnt the hard way that putting down “my wants” is not suitable for others usually because they are deemed too expensive. For instance I would like an everyday kilt to wear, a custom made shirt (so that it actually fits my oddly shaped body), a new portable camera, a tracking mount to take starscapes, and a drone to take pictures from the sky. Do I really need any of these things though? No of course not.

What I really need is to understand the world and myself better. What I really want is to find the joy and love of life that others seem to have and I struggle to comprehend. I have spent the last eight months trying to understand my world better, and I think I have come along way, but that understanding has at this current time left me a feeling of hopelessness. People around me seem to get so much joy and happiness during the holiday season (logically I know that this isn’t necessarily the case), but this year all I seem to be aware of is how much of a struggle it is for me just to keep it together. So many crowds, so much laughing, so much story telling, and so much “how are you”. I can’t handle so many demands, yet I try because it is Christmas, a time to spend with family because the rest of my family, particularly my wife, loves being here; I try, and for the most part I succeed though as my wife would testify I am not pleasant to be with (what is the success then?).

It seems rather a grim way to start Christmas day I suppose, however I did enjoy the family meal last night. I enjoyed the company and the food and wine; I am not sure why, but perhaps being surrounded by my children helps. My son, relaxed and funny on my right, my daughter, a cloud of semi-misery on my left. I guess I felt part of the group and needed, respectively. Perhaps I feel my children accept me whereas it doesn’t feel like anybody else does. It would explain why the kids leaving home are so difficult for me, I really don’t think I need to go there now; there are tears associated with that statement.  Time to regain some sleep perhaps.

I wish you a peaceful and relaxing holiday and I hope that the New Year brings you opportunities to spark with joy and happiness. Take care.