I’m not a traditionalist. I question everything and I break rules. When I see people doing things en masse I take a step back, observe and query why.
I’m not a snob, I’m not superior, I’m not deliberately difficult. Maybe I’ve had too many experiences of *doing things just because it’s the done thing* backfiring on me. Or maybe it’s in my genes. Throughout my childhood I always felt like a bit of a misfit. There’s an overpowering force inside me that says, “Whoa. Make up your own mind about everything; do things in your own time.”
Tonight I will not be worrying about what I am going to wear, because I will not be going out and squishing awkwardly into someone else’s house or a busy pub, reluctantly kissing drunk, sweaty strangers, making forced conversation, willing it to be time to go home, wondering where my husband is or if my children are okay. I will not be drinking champagne and staying up really late and waking up feeling ill tomorrow.
I will not be making a list of resolutions just because it’s the done thing.
I don’t feel any significant endings or beginnings more than any other day right now. Life will not be different for us tomorrow just because we have counted another 365 days and it’s time to start again. My husband will be going to work on New Year’s Day, anyway.
If I make a list of things I want to do or change, or things I think I should do or change then I am setting myself up for disappointment. This is a time of year (in the UK) of long nights, dark groggy mornings, viruses and cold. I know I will fail. Instead I make mini resolutions regularly: I will buy more organic produce this week, spend less on Amazon this month, I will do yoga today, I will play the flute today, I will tell my family I love them today. Last month we decided to research a greener boiler for our home. We will do something about that when we know we have enough money.
If I feel like dancing, I dance. If I feel like having a few drinks I have a few drinks. If I feel like staying up late and making a life changing decision about how I can be a better person then I do that. But it will probably be on a Wednesday in April or a Thursday in June.
Endings are deaths, final exams, leaving home, finishing a relationship, the first cold day in Autumn. New beginnings are births, moving house, the resolutions you make after a painful ending of some kind, the eureka moments you have in the shower, the first daffodil in spring.
(In fact, the worst 2 experiences of my adult life happened in early January 2009 and in March 2010, right near the beginning of the year)
I never start a diet on Jan 1st. I am my own harshest judge. I will fail and I will hate myself. Instead I will instinctively want to go for brisk walks when the weather is better. I will eat more salads and fruit when they are in season. I will do yoga when the children are back at school. I will naturally eat less when it is not so damn cold.
But I’m not a completely miserable stubborn git. (I leave that to my husband – Just kidding darling, if he reads this!) Tonight we will eat a nice meal, watch TV, say ‘Happy New Year’ at midnight and tomorrow we will make an effort to have a slightly more exciting family lunch than usual. We will start new calendars, new diaries and write 2011 on everything instead of 2010. We will be joining in, in our own little way!
If you need a new beginning at midnight tonight, if you are happy to wave goodbye to 2010 then I say good for you. If you work hard all year and need an excuse to let your hair down tonight, then I hope you have fun kissing sweaty drunk people! If you have had sadness or difficulty in 2010, then I hope 2011 is better for you.
I think my eldest daughter will say that she can’t wait for her GCSEs to be over in June 2011 and then she can leave the school she is not enjoying and start to be herself.
For me, I think the life changing new things began in about July in 2010 and the year before it was in September.
Happy New Beginnings to you, whenever they happen!