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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Billy Keane: How to make the most of the next 351 days

Published 07/01/2013 | 17:00

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It's over now. The proud fairy queen of Christmas who has had the top end of a pine tree stuck up her bum for the last 12 days must be mightily relieved, but today she will be wrapped in newspaper and hidden in a cardboard box in the attic for nearly a year.

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The fairy is a metaphor for all of us. We've had enough of the 12 days of Christmas, but at the same time we miss the lazy time, the treats and the friends coming home from abroad. The airports are lonesome places today.

The kids are back at school and if there's a worse day in the year for children, I have yet to discover it. The cross teacher who hated Christmas related cheerfully to us little boys, on this day many years ago: "What's up lads? Sure it's only 351 days to Christmas Day. Ho ho ho."

But read on for at the bottom of this column lies The Secret. You will discover by piece-end the realisation of a longer and more exciting life. Even on this the ultimate day of reckoning.

There's a certain comfort to be found in the restoration of the mundane, but the facing up to postponed reality is a sore dose. The worst four-letter words of all on this January 7 could be 'work' and 'boss'. Maybe you hate your boss, or even worse, the boss hates you. That recurring Lotto dream where you win and tell him what to do with his job keeps you going. Just.

It could be today that you finally face up to that divorce you've been postponing since the second night of the honeymoon in 1975 when your new bride revealed for the very first time that she doesn't really like sex or Gaelic football or curry chips.

It could be your facing up is medical. The losing of that three stone and the forced feeding of broccoli and muesli? The removal of an ingrown toenail? A colonoscopy photoshoot? Cheer up. It's not all bad.

There's an upside to everything, as the man said when he got back on to balancing on shoes after breaking the world record for standing on his head. I've had my colonoscopy photograph taken many times and maybe someday I will be selected for inclusion, just to the left of Tutankhamen's sarcophagus, in an Exhibition of the Internal Image in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. So there.

Yes folks, it's the time of year for making big decisions.

There are results and implications of decisions we haven't even vaguely considered when we make them. What if when you divorce the sex-hating wife the new someone special is a latent nymphomaniac who wakes you up in the middle of week-nights demanding you know what. She follows teams who play 14 men behind the ball and makes you to eat the chips garnished with dead and alive bed mites and nobbly bits of jumpers in her fluff filled crater of a navel.

You can get too much of a good thing. I read about a man from not too far from here, but not too near either, who exploded from drinking cocoa and eating lobster Thermidor. Spontaneous combustion is not only most unpleasant for the sufferer, but also for those in the immediate vicinity. And while human life is to be infinitely more valued, the busting of an exploding gut is not good for cream-coloured sofas. There's nothing that drives woman madder than spilling red wine on cream-coloured sofas. Which begs the question, why do the ladies buy cream coloured sofas when they know it will all end in tears?

All I'm saying is think things through.

But then by the time you get around to dealing with life, it's that time of the year again. As the man said – not the same man who hated Christmas or the man who stood on his head for 13 days, but a different one. A third man. "Time flies", he said, when he threw the alarm clock out the window.

Time flies and there are only two ways to slow down time. One is to stay stuck in a rut. A rut is a big hole like a tractor makes in mud. There's no need to come out. Boring and cowardly as it is, life passes slowly and you live longer.

There is a better way. It sounds like a political slogan around election time or an alternative to the missionary position.

I gave out this life-changing tip on the very first day of the school year in the autumn. Back on August 28 to be exact.

The better way is to keep a diary. Now is the ideal time to start one. I can hardly remember 10 years ago in any kind of detail. The diary gets you to live longer because you relive your life many times when you read back over the journal. The keeping of the diary will get you to do exciting stuff.

This is The Secret of a double life and The Secret of immortality. The diary will keep your memory alive for scholars and loved ones long after you're gone.

Irish Independent

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