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‘Tis the season to colour outside the lines


untitled-1Let there be tinsel and sparkle, crackers and carols, Jollof rice and moin moin, let there be music, singing and dancing. Let there be joy.

The other morning on my commute to work I took notice of two unlikely fellow passengers – a young man on his laptop seated right next to a young girl with her colouring books. Initially it was just an ordinary commuting scene until I noticed the irony of it all.

The young man was frowning at his laptop screen, pen poised on a blank sheet of his notepad, then he scribbled figures and numbers, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing; he would then frown some more, before he went back to his maths.

There in complete contrast was the young girl blithely colouring in, only occasionally stopping to ponder which colour to use next, colouring sometimes along the borders and sometimes outside the lines. All she cared for was the yellows, the reds, the blues.

These two figures juxtaposed right there on the morning train seemed a picture of life, and I kept wondering just when exactly we give up on the colours and start worrying about the numbers? When do we stop colouring outside the lines and start keeping the numbers in line?

With no disrespect to the reason for the season, don’t you think that Christmas is the one time we are allowed to be childlike with no one raising an eyebrow? No surprise it’s often considered the silly season. What other time of the year can we get away with fairy lights, Christmas jumper and stuffing our face with Christmas pudding the whole week long? Or how many times a year do we get to sit around the dinner table with loved ones digging into soul food, then get to play silly games in the spirit of the season?

A few years back, at yet another family get-together, we sat in two semi-circles playing Taboo – a game which involves explaining a word to your team – without using any of the taboo words – and your team mates shouting out the most unlikely words until one bright spark finally makes the right guess. There I was with a silly paper crown on my head, hair all over the place as I was jumping up and down, making the sort of facial expressions I would scare myself with had I seen my face in the mirror, and yet I was having the time of my life. Shedding any ounce of self-consciousness comes much easier in the season of paper crowns and tinsel hats.

2016 has been one ‘hell’ of a ride for most of us, pun intended. From the passing of iconic legends, Franca Sozzani the latest in a long line including David Bowie and Prince to Brexit and Trumpcopalypse to the impending financial crisis. Let’s face it, if we look at the current trajectory, 2017 is not likely to get any better. While we spend most of our days lamenting the way of the world, let’s embrace this weekend and the next few days between Christmas and the New Year to take a break from the world. The world may be coming to a spectacular end next year, or maybe, just maybe, by some fluke, it may just get better, but instead of worrying about what is to come, enjoy the festive season.

Tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, until January 2, in fact, until time starts again, take a holiday from reality, put on your silly hat, forget the spreadsheets, pick up your colouring pencils and colour outside the lines.

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