Post Christmas, and the pendulum swings from feast to famine.
How can the broadsheets advertise a ‘new fitness regime for 2017′ across the front page of January 1st? We’ve heard it all before.
Adverts from November to Christmas Eve: feasts of turkey and wine; chocolate mountains; indulgence of expensive perfumes not normally smelt the rest of the year. Adverts Boxing Day onwards: cycle machines and cheap summer holidays featuring lithe bodies fresh from the predictable fitness regimes of the new year.
Do we have to swing so violently between feast and famine? Is there a way to live more balanced? Someone said to me the best thing about their family Christmas was calculating Christmas dinner to be just enough, and then not feeling over stuffed afterwards (you can leave that to the turkey). That sounded like a good negotiation between feast and famine.
Family life with grown children – the same: feast or famine. ‘Children’ that have left home suddenly become occasional visitors. With lots of extras. The feast of those six additional duvets; a simmering pot of food feeding twelve; whole day long TV marathons; things you thought weren’t particularly funny turning utterly hilarious with the spontaneous laughter of twenty-somethings.
And the famine when everyone’s left again. Tiny tapping footsteps of hesitant cats venturing out, now it’s safe. And oh, so quiet.
St Paul can maybe save us from this emotional feast or famine syndrome. He said somewhere ‘I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation’ (Philippians 4:12).
The secret of being content in any and every situation. It’s a learned response to change; a way of dealing with comings and goings; a way of avoiding the feast or famine pendulum.
And, as a feature of a mindful way of segueing from December to January, from one year to the next, from party to diary; it could be as good for the soul as 100 new fitness regimes.