This evening I am undressing my Christmas tree with a heavy heart. I'm not an amorous embracer of New Year celebrations and resolutions, and now there's an appropriately gloomy corner of my lounge where my tree used to hold court, with a scattering of needles left behind on the carpet. (Needles, you see, that are prickly and painful. The metaphor is writing itself.)
The heady optimism which intoxicates the perpetually cheerful during early January only agitates my suspicious nature and makes me question what menace is truly in store. This is an attractive quality, I know. Oh yes, you guileless optimists speak of the New Year with its boundless possibility but this is merely the fearlessness of the perpetually ovine*.
So far, January has seen my previously pristine four-month-old sofa sustain its first spilt cup of tea. This actually represents a titanic feat of poise for me, but is obviously less than ideal.
I am thirty-five next week. Literally, inescapably, my mid-thirties.
Most tragically, each time I look in the mirror at my recently cut hair, I am increasingly reminded of Natasha Kaplinsky.
Still, I have found myself unexpectedly glad to be returning to work this week, since my dressing gown had become hopelessly threadbare through prolonged contact with the sofa, and I had observed myself reverting to the dangerous mindset of the long-term motiveless, whereby accomplishing one small task a day such as having a shower or making lunch necessitates a nice rest or a bit of a treat and certainly no more exertion until bedtime, when you will lie agitated and wide-eyed until 4am.
And now I am watching Surviving Gazza. It is bleak. But seeing Paul Gascoigne's stepson nervously asking his stepfather to come home and take him out for the day instead of drinking himself a little further down into the void in a series of hotels is a powerful abacus on which to count your blessings.
* With thanks to The Walrus for adjectival instruction.