It’s that time of year again.
The time of year, where I ask myself where on earth I went wrong in my life, that I should end up here – stuck in a corporate job, in the industrial wastelands of county Dublin, behaving like a circus monkey, doing dreary tasks for a company populated by pasty, suburban trolls, that would fire me in an instant if they thought it would save money.
Yes dear reader. We are currently submerged in the misery of November. My least favourite month of the year.
I don’t want to check – as I rarely reread these blog posts after I have hit the ‘publish’ button, for any reason other than to correct major spelling or grammar mistakes – but I’d be willing to put money on the likelihood of me posting a blog, very similar to this one, last November.
My rational mind is aware that my sorrow during November is eminently explainable. When the autumnal clocks go back by an hour on the last Saturday of October, it is only to be expected that daylight becomes a luxury. It is dark leaving the house in the morning. It is dark coming home in the evening. There is a winter chill in the air. Yet we are only at the very beginning of this gloomy season. There are another four months of seasonal drudge to endure.
Humans are like plants in some regards – we need sunlight to flourish. Without it, despair becomes an acquaintance.
By about the third week of November, the true, deep, aching misery descends. The days are still shrinking, and will continue to diminish into little acorns of nothingness for another month.
It is easily known why the early Christians decided to adopt the winter solstice – the old pagan bacchanal celebrating the shortest days of the year – as the appropriate time to celebrate Christmas. Any excuse for a big old party to elevate the dreary mood.
Some people I know declare January to be their most detested month. Not I. Even though January is bleak and cold, I am still conscious that slowly the days are extending. That we are entering the home stretch. That spring is around the corner.
The grimness of my mood in November is predictable. Every year in the few days before the clocks change, I feel a low level sense of dread. I know that it is temporary. I am aware that there is even a medical term to describe this sensation – S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder); and that you can buy a lamp to trick your body into thinking it is getting enough sunlight.
I know that by April, I will be feeling much more amenable to my daily tasks, and that I’d be able to muster up some enthusiasm for my colleagues, working life, and even perhaps my daily commute.
But for now it is November.
And this afternoon I have an appointment with a dentist.