Dear (INSERT NAME HERE)
Well another year has rolled around and we haven't managed to catch up face to face. But be assured I miss you terribly (INSERT NAME HERE)!
I talk about you often dear (INSERT NAME HERE) and have such fond memories of our time in (INSERT PLACE/RESTAURANT/CULT/ DEPROGRAMMING UNIT/ CULT SUPPORT GROUP HERE).
If we'd had kids I'm sure little (INSERT NAME HERE) would be doing marvellously at his Montessori school and looking forward to all the gifts Satan will be bringing him for christmas.
And had I finished 'that' novel I've been tiredly working on for two decades then I imagine this letter would be a lot shorter and considerably less humble.
But life being what it is – a long inexorable march toward death, the terror thereof ameliorated by alcohol, shiny bargains and life hacking TED talks that convince us we matter – 2017 was sadly not the year that I became a success. Or in many ways, a grown up.
The tree is up! Imagine our delight when we woke in the morning to find it potted and bedecked with baubles. We almost believed in Father Christmas for a moment until we followed the trail of our visa receipts and realised that we had in fact put the damn thing up ourselves. Who knew that off licenses sold decorations? Not I. And once we'd wiped the blood off the ornaments they certainly did glitter with all the promise of a turd wrapped in tinsel.
I suppose a small re-cap of the year is in order so I'll do my best to lift something from the addled fog of sleep deprivation that was the past 11 months.
January brought an all inclusive trip to Mexico and the mere sight of a lime can evoke the heartburn and indigestion that prevailed.
We returned just in time to catch the beginning of a new sitcom in which a narcissist with the IQ of a spoon became president of the United States. We laughed and laughed until the tears ran down our faces. They haven't stopped.
By March everyone in the UK with an accent was proposing to their English partners and quicker than you could say 'Brexit' the invites were pouring through the door. Of course a lot of people had quite a difficult time finding venues that could host their big day what with all the staff being either on the guest list or getting hitched.
I have absolutely no recollection of April or May but judging from the tattoo on my back I can only assume that this is a blessing.
June fluttered in with all the promise of a summer that would never come but we removed three layers anyway huddled around the aga.
That's a lie. I should have an aga by now but I don't. I refer you to the unfinished novel.
We skipped through July aided by industrial strength ibuprofen and a can do attitude and skidded to a halt in August for a long conversation about all the BBQ's and picnics we were going to have. And never did.
In September I went to the gym, enjoyed their power shower and a pep talk before leaving and never returning.
With October came the rustle of fallen leaves, fallen loved ones and fallen standards.
With a new found determination I opened the fridge, pushed aside the weight watchers 1 point loaf and reached for the cheese. I wrapped it in chocolate and enjoyed it with eight pouches of Virginia Bright and a vitamin C tablet dissolved in gin.
In November I wrote half a book, deleted it and played scrabble online with a woman in New Delhi who had a broader vocabulary than I. Me. I.
Which brings us to today.
As I sit here, a metaphorical pizza in a gluten free dairy intolerant world, and think of you dear dear (INSERT NAME HERE). I wonder what lessons I can take from this last year and what if any wisdom I can impart.
The answer at first glance appears to be 'fuck all.' But I'm going to just keep typing and see what emerges.
If your 2017 has been good to you then pay it forward it 2018 and make someone else's next year one to celebrate.
If your 2017 has been shit don't come moaning to me about it, I've got enough on my plate.
If you're full of fear and trepidation about what's to come, don't panic, we all are.
If you're confident that everything is going to be okay, you're probably ill informed or haven't read the small print.
If I can wish anything for you in the coming year then it's what I wish for myself: Good health, good love and good times. Moments of real happiness that cannot be expressed on social media because they rest in your heart and not in your humble brags. A sense of truly moving forward, always striving to attain the things you want without forgetting to be present because as the cliché goes, it's the road that counts and not the perceived Eden at the end, the chasing of which will always be more than the attainment.
We too often take a picture of a tree or a sunset and post it because we want the world to think we find it beautiful and be validated as the sort of person who appreciates the gorgeous vicissitudes of nature. Don't take a picture. Just look at the fucking tree. It'll be boring at first but with practise and time we might all become the people we'd much rather be.
Always tip your server, and do so in cash. Try to be kind even when you want to rip someone's lungs out for being a complete mouth breather.
Unless you have a genuine life threatening food intolerance, shut the fuck up and eat what is put in front of you.
Take dance lessons.
Learn an instrument too late in life.
Use the words 'Omnishambles', 'Clusterfuck' and 'Brouhaha' (It's time they made a come back)
Write a letter.
Write a book.
Kill your darlings when you do.
Have a wonderful time of it all because we're not here for all that long and we are terribly lucky to be here at all.
Try not to be a cunt.
And take comfort dear, dear (INSERT NAME HERE) that you are nothing. You are barely an idea in a huge canvas of much more important things than you and the universe doesn't give a toss about you. There's a freedom in really knowing that. It makes you feel special.
I love you. Stay golden. Let's not leave it so long this time.
(INSERT NAME HERE) Xx