The new inconvenient truth is that we should probably all give up alcohol – for good. Most of us will have a friend attempting dry January, swerving the demon drink for a month for varying reasons: to live more healthily, assuage festive guilt, avoid hangovers, save money or prove their willpower. Looking at the array of benefits, it makes perfect sense to stop drinking, doesn’t it?
Judging from social media, everyone has had a terrible 2016. The year and the collective suffering it has apparently inflicted upon us is fast becoming a cliche. We have all been through the mill equally, the narrative goes, hit by the myriad misfortunes of Brexit, Donald Trump and beloved celebrities dying.
My family was recently quoted £2,000 for a week of respite care for my mum, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Does that sound expensive to you? Here are some things that also cost £2,000. A week’s rent on a two-bedroom apartment in Mayfair, London. A Tag Heuer watch of the type worn by Formula One drivers. Seven days at an all-inclusive luxury resort in Mexico.
I sometimes feel lonely. There, I’ve said it. But most younger people wouldn’t. According to a report by the Mental Health Foundation, 42% of those aged under 34 would be embarrassed to admit to feeling lonely. This is despite the fact that one in 10 people in the UK do not have a close friend, a study by the charity Relate found.
I am a carer. I help look after my mum, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It is a difficult, demanding and often depressing job, and I only do it part time, filling in the gaps to ensure that my mum receives 24-hour care. Even this limited but significant share of my family’s responsibility has had a profound impact on my life.
As I awoke to the news that more than half of Britain had voted to leave the EU, I felt sad and surprised. The world hasn’t ended and the drawbridge has not been pulled up, but I fear for where the UK may be headed. Continue reading