Today, I took down all the Christmas decorations.
I find it a bitter-sweet moment every year; on the one hand I'm glad to get a bit of space back in the lounge when the tree goes outside, but the walls and shelves look awfully bare without the cards and decorations. There's also a distinct lack of sparkle - I find myself missing twinkling lights and glittering tinsel. Everywhere looks dull.
Following on from the glitz of December, January seems such a bleak month by comparison. And goodness knows, we've got terrible weather here in the UK that would make anybody feel depressed at the moment. My heart goes out to all those affected by flooding and tidal batterings. (Although there is a guilty little bit of me that is glad of the wind, because it means our wind turbine is generating lots of electricity.)
But the empty walls also made me think of a blank canvas; the year is stretching ahead in front of me, a thing of mystery and yet also twelve months with certain things already planned. My parents will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary; I will ski on a mountain for the first time; my daughter will sit her first GCSE exam, I'll visit the dentist in May and September, and my book will be published.
If I was thinking in writing terms, it would be like having a broad outline for a story. I'd know the rough shape of it - beginning, middle, end - and perhaps some of the events that get my characters from A to B. But until I started writing, I wouldn't know all the details that fit in-between. So it is with 2014.
I hope I manage to fill in the gaps and don't waste any of it.