Now's the time for getting well and truly into excessive consumption mode ( just in case we were at all restrained over Christmas), as we say farewell to the old year and face the new one with hopefully not misplaced optimism. For those of us who decide to party, as the clock strikes midnight, no doubt we'll be lifting our voices in song in yet another boozy rendition of Auld Lang Syne - a nice if somewhat archaic tradition which we can blame on old Robert Burns who obviously let sentiment get the better of him after a few whiskies - while we try not to fall victim to too many sloppy kisses, or kissers for that matter.
This New Year's Eve I've decided that instead of making a lot of ridiculous and unrealistic resolutions, it might behoove me better (Robert Burns again?) to think back over the departing year and figure out what I can maybe learn from it. A quick retrospective glance is initially rather depressing as there have been rather a litany of, if not disasters, things that could have gone better. I began the year resolving to find a brilliant new job and embark on a late midlife career challenge in some starring role, and of course to find true lurve - the lasting kind. On both counts I flunked out. I'm still in the same job and any lurve that came my way was of the fleeting and/or fantasy kind. Still and all, I don't despair. On the job front, I have a new and fantastic boss and we are already in the throes of establishing an excellent and productive working relationship, one that for me bodes very well for the future. On the lurve front, I remain optimistic, although I have of late tempered my optimism with perhaps more realism. My wish list has been amended somewhat and now weighs more heavily towards those human qualities I really value such as honesty, integrity, caring, compassion and family values, than it does towards physical, monetary, status and intellectual attributes - oh shallow me (that was)! I would really just like to find someone who I can genuinely care for and who can genuinely care for me and so long as we don't find each other mutually repellent, who cares about the odd flaw. God knows I have plenty, some of which you've already heard plenty about. The fragile fetlocks however are very much on the mend and I've finally reached the stage where I can fling off the dreaded surgical shoes and slip into something else - if not Manolo Blahniks, at least not velcroed clodhoppers.
I can't let this year go past without thanking those dear friends and family of mine who've propped me up, kept me sane, made me laugh and just been there in the good, bad and indifferent times. Some of these friends have been through particular hells of their own. Three of them are facing a new year still battling with cancer and all the pain, uncertainty and fear that sentence entails. As I wrote about in an earlier post, my brother has spent most of the year grappling with the loss of his wife and trying to fashion a life without her. By their calmness and courage these people I care about have shown me that often what I whinge and complain about is nothing and I should be grateful for the many blessings I have, especially good health.
Other people in my life have disappointed me in different ways and I've felt overwhelmed sometimes with confusion, anger and resentment at behaviours that I just don't understand. I'm trying to learn patience there too. That old chestnut about time being a great healer is actually a good one - a great example I read somewhere recently is if you're a woman who hates being whistled at by construction workers ... just give it time. It works with people too. If you're not sure about someone, just give it time ... true colours will out in the end. Or you'll die first, or they will.
Time of course is what New Year's Eve is all about - an arbitrary line in the sand. Whatever we do or don't do to acknowledge it, the line will be crossed regardless. The world at the end of this old year is a pretty messy troubled and hopeless one in many ways. Let's just hope that those who lead us can look back and learn their own lessons from the past, rather than blundering on into the new year making the same old mistakes.
Happy New Year and may it be a peaceful, healthy and happy one for you!
Poem of the week: Fiametta by John Peale Bishop
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