If I’m honest, I don’t really ‘do’ New Year’s Eve. In the past it’s been a bit depressing, then it was just another night, and now, well I can take it or leave it. My feelings about it have moved on from hating it, to tolerating it to acceptance of it. I guess it all depends on your expectations and what crazy resolutions you made last year.
As a young adult I would head out on the town already feeling a bit down as I’d realised that none of my resolutions of finding a Mr Darcy type man to whisk me off my feet to live in a huge mansion had actually happened. I would then party with my friends in a nightclub that had just charged me a week’s salary to enter until that dreaded hour. Never ever, not once, at the stroke of midnight did the people on the dance floor part for me to see the man of my dreams heading straight for me as is depicted in films. Oh no, the reality generally was one of two scenarios; either at 11.55pm I headed towards the toilets to avoid that awkward ‘Happy New Year’ shouting and hugging and kissing or rather, standing around as everyone else did that. Or, and this seemed to happen more often than I’d care to remember, at the stroke of midnight I would be sitting on the edge of a curb holding a friend’s hair back as she vomited into the gutter…or vice versa.
Once I’d had children I realised I was saved from the forced merriment and had the perfect excuse to stay in my nice warm house, drink my cheaper alcohol, eat the leftover Christmas chocolates and watch crap TV. New Year’s Eve became tolerable, it’s not great being stuck in on your own with kids while everyone else is having a good time, but there are worse things. New Year’s resolutions still had that unrealistic tone to them, you know the sort; lose 3 stone, pay the bills etc. You’re only going to feel like a failure next year if you set yourself up to fail!
But once I divorced things began to look up. I’m still no party animal on New Year’s Eve, and I would still be happy for it to finish at 11.55pm but the key, I reckon, is not to make unrealistic resolutions about myself and to think bigger. And when looking back over the year don’t focus on all the stuff you didn’t do, look for the good.
Now admittedly I’m in a great place to be able to say that. Some of you may need to dig deep to pick out some good bits in a terrible year, take heart if you’re at the bottom then the only way is up. But as I look back over my year all I can think is ‘Wow!’. It has been an amazing year! There’s been my trip to the Holy Land in February, my recommendation for ordination training in March, I finally left work in August, two great holidays at Scargill House and Greenbelt over the summer, starting college in September and, thanks to a snazzy bit of work by the NHS in November, for the first time in 2 years I feel well! I have to admit it’s been a good year, now how to make next year just as memorable.
Well when life throws you opportunities it’s time to share. So this year, 2014, is going to be my year of action. And I have three…
1. Be fit not fat at forty
Yep 2014 is the year of that birthday. So I’ve joined the gym. I’m determined it’s not going to be about weight loss (that may involve less food and I like that too much!) but more about being fit….toned will be a bonus.
2. Build, re-establish and retain friendships
There is an irony that my friendships are the most important thing in my life and yet I am hopeless at keeping in touch with people. So get your diaries out people, I’m booking in to see you and catch up with all your news!
3. Stand up and shout out – Be the voice for those with no voice
As I write this there are people who have no clean water to drink, refugees sleeping in shelters with no aid getting through, people being trafficked, people being forced to take zero hour contracts and then getting into unmanageable debt due to lack of work, and people living rough when all options have run out and government funding has been withdrawn. These are just a few things, there are many many more, and not being able to singlehandedly save the world is not an excuse to sit and do nothing.
I’m not sure of exactly where I’m going with this one but I will be starting by taking part in the Mansfield Big Snore event to raise funds for Framework. The rest I will work out throughout the year.
Happy New Year!