Okay... so...


Founding Member
I'm just not feeling it. I love Christmas - the twinkly lights, the excitement in the air, the dark, rainy nights and cold, misty mornings.

But this is the second Christmas on my own and (I'm ashamed to admit) I'm lonely. And really, that's laughable on many levels as I have so many good friends. But I'll be spending the day alone - and it will be just like all the other days I spend alone, and I'm tired of it now.

You see, it's hard to make friends the older you get. My closest female friend, Sophie, died 6 years ago today at the tender age of 41. We had been friends for 19 years and could read each other's thoughts. That shared experience takes a long time to build up with someone else - and that's assuming they actually have space in their lives for you. There isn't a day goes by when I'm not reminded of her in some way.

I'm having a crisis of confidence in relation to my writing too. I always knew it would be a book that some people would understand and others wouldn't. But there's been a couple of negative reviews lately and I'm more sensitive to it than I thought I'd be. At the same time, one of our national papers has recommended it as a book of the year, so why am I focusing on the negative reviews? I think I want to stop writing.

Perhaps I'm reacting to all of the momentous changes that have taken place this year. I've had my book published, I turned 50, I've moved house, I'm about to start a new job.

All I want for Christmas is for someone to give me a hug and tell me it will be okay.


Staff member
The community that comes from religion is something that us atheists miss. Going to a religious ceremony can be a good thing, just for its social nature. I'm just off to the nursing home for my pureed Christmas lunch, complete with nosepeg.


Founding Member
Bee, that is stress talking. We've discussed this in another thread. You are reacting to massive CHANGE on multiple fronts. That loss of confidence in your writing? Merely a feeling that you should reduce your activities until you can adapt to your new world. You have a new house, a new job, and a new circle of daily contacts that are at the moment more like strangers. But as you get to know them, you will be more comfortable with who THEY are - and that will lead you to be more comfortable with who YOU are. Add in the holiday season away from friends and things get VERY unaccustomed VERY quickly.

Humans are gregarious animals by nature, even grumpy old curmudgeons like me. This year OUR Christmas will be very limited. It was only last week that my mother-in-law passed away, and for the month before that, she was in and out of the hospital more than once. My wife had no time to decorate the house more than just minimally and she (correctly, I fear) won't contemplate what the house would look like if I did the decorating. I am somewhat ... challenged in terms of decor issues.

Gift shopping was impossible so this year, there will be cash in the envelopes. Normally, we would have had family and some friends, but this year by accident and design in combination, we will only have immediate family present - two daughters and a son, one spouse, two kids, and us - a total of eight people. The other people we would have invited either couldn't come anyway or in one case we didn't extend an invitation. I expect that I will have to offer a shoulder to cry on for my dear wife. I remember the first holiday season after my own mother passed, so I know she will have a load of tears to shed in response to the empty spot at the table.

But the only way through it is THROUGH it. On a TV show recently, I overheard a bit of wisdom that made a lot of sense. When you find yourself going through Hell - keep going. Don't stop and sight-see. Don't linger. Keep going.


Founding Member
Thanks, Doc. I haven't started the new job yet (February) so still have all of that to come - plus finding accommodation for the few days a week when I'll be living away from home. So, I'm actually at home with the circle of people I know within easy distance - and yet, they may as well be in Alaska.

The day has been manageable. I will plan things much better next year.


Founding Member
I believe you meant "instill" ??? Wisdom should rarely be distilled since that removes some parts of it. It is rare to find something that can be properly instilled AND distilled, though the word "spirits" can fit both verbs.