Reflections

by Sylvia A. Winters

It’s the first of December, and time to get to putting up that Christmas tree*! Unless you’re a Christmas purist and only keep it up for 12 days, but to be honest that’s a lot of work for so short a time. 12 days is about how long I leave the washing up (yes, our kitchen does currently resemble that scene from Withnail and I), and a glowing tree is a lot nicer to look at, so long as it didn’t come from some radioactive wasteland.

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With December comes a glance back at the year we’ve had, before looking to the next one. I’ll probably remember this year as kind of a crazy one. The first few months saw me full time at the cinema, getting sick every few weeks from being run down on long hours and few breaks and living mostly off of sharer bags of Doritos and waste hotdogs (if my old bosses are reading this… I’m joking about the waste hotdogs… *cough*)

I changed jobs twice after that, landing a temporary job with the university in one of their libraries. Now I’m working in a student hall, and I’ve gone from the beginning of this year working mostly nights to now working the early morning shift, getting up at the time I’d have been getting home before. That was not the easiest of adjustments, let me tell you, and I kind of miss walking home at 3am. The city is different at that time of night, the quiet time when it’s just you, the drunks and the weirdoes.

It’s been a strange transition jobwise, going from a place where I was one of the older workers, and everybody would swear routinely and I could stamp up and down the corridors and kick open doors, and always stay out ’til 6am on a work night out (and still not be the last person to go home). Now I’m by far the youngest worker at my new job (unless you count the students who work the bar at night), where work nights out are Mama Mia singalongs (which I do not attend) and no one swears (I actually lower my voice to say ‘shit’ in front of people at work now) or if they do they immediately apologise and it’s all very soft and professional.

I went on my first protest this year, after the election results in May (can’t believe I stayed up all night for that! although perhaps Boris Johnson’s 5am story of a shoe was worth it…) and I’ve been to a few more since, travelling to London and Manchester for big, noisy protests (and realising that the North is not another country but just a short drive up the motorway).

I’ve changed my diet around, switching to vegetarianism early in the year with the hope that I would have more willpower than the last time I tried it. This time, I’ve more understanding of the fact that one mistake or slip up does not mean you have to give up. In the summer I finally turned to veganism, the arguments for it too compelling not to, and I don’t regret it. No more sharer cheese Doritos for dinner! The food side of it has actually been way easier than I imagined, and cheese just tastes kind of gross to me now. Now everything before just seems like a kind of denial; I always knew that meat and a lot of cosmetics were bad, I just didn’t think about it because it was easier not to.

I’ve tried a lot of new things this year. Next year I plan to try even more. I’ve got a list of projects to work on and I plan to be more active in protesting (I skipped the climate march a few days ago to focus on some editing, and I still feel guilty).

Writing wise, I have a few things planned. I won’t say what, because doing that always kills the idea for me. I’ve just recently sent off the first official edits for my Welsh highwaymen story, titled Bat’s Children. No release date on that yet, but it’s getting closer! There’s still more to do, of course (there always is), but I’m looking forward to sharing that one.

In the meantime, happy holidays and all that (or good luck avoiding the holidays, if you prefer to hide out for the duration). I’ll try not to leave it another six months in between posts. Perhaps I’ll add that to next month’s resolutions. It’s going to be a long list :p

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*other holidays and decorations are available.