Author Ronnie Reed
People and Wildlife Officer Seven Sisters Country Park
I am not sure whether it is just that Christmas has now slipped passed again, or the rain lashing against the window but there is definitely a sense of the January blues hanging around
Maybe it is due to that bloated sensation of excess that Christmas leaves behind; should I really have eaten all that Christmas cake? Or maybe it is a sense of guilt; should I really have spent all that money? Or perhaps the depression goes a little deeper.
January is a time of reckoning, a time of reflection, a time to take stock and to make new resolutions. It is a time for looking back on the old year; assessing the last twelve months. It is also a time for looking forward ready to make changes that will improve our lives and hopefully the world around us. January represents a cross roads.
It is the time of year when it seems possible to change the little things and even the big things around us even if we know it doesn’t work that way.
What would I like to change? Rather naively I would like to change the mind set that says happiness comes from possessing material things because our headlong race to have more and more has led us to plunder this amazing world we live in.
My January blues started on Black Friday, an American innovation that is designed to make us spend large amounts of money in order to be happy by buying as many ‘things’ as our bank accounts allow. Do you really need a 52 inch television screen? Then came endless Christmas advertisements encouraging us to spend, to gorge ourselves on food, to make our loved ones happy by buying them the latest iPad, computer game or smart phone. Once we had got over the Christmas blow out we hit the January sales. How often do you need to replace your sofa
The depression really settled in as I drove around Sussex over the holiday period. A trip up to Broadbridge Heath left an imprint of a moonscape where the countryside is being cut up to build an enormous housing estate. Where had the green fields gone? Another journey took me around Haywards Heath and Bolnore and there is something deeply sad and poignant about the dormice runs stretched above the ring road to allow these creatures to cross between the houses into the tiny scraps of ancient woodland the developers have spared. Once the fields and the woodlands have gone, they have gone for ever. People need homes but so does wildlife and at the moment it seems we are winning the competition for space and every other thing is losing out. Surely there must be a way to balance these needs better?
Equally every time we buy something, whether it is a can of beans, a new car, a computer game or a litre of petrol it has an impact on the world in which we live. We gain something but somewhere down the food chain something else loses out.
So my resolution for 2015 is to buy less, to stop and think whether I really need it. I started with the January sales and didn’t leave the house and I have managed to resist the rather nice jacket hanging at half price in the window of a local dress shop. It is only a small step but if everyone did it maybe we could change the world.
And maybe it would stop raining!