Like many people, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Eve. I don’t like the pressure to do something really fun and amazing, but nevertheless feel I should be doing something. This year, I spent the night in Canberra at a BBQ with some of my wonderful friends. It was low-key, which I’m beginning to realise is exactly how I like most things in my life to be. And because there was no pressure, I really did have fun.
For the first time in a long time (maybe ever) I actually had several options for New Year’s celebrations. Maybe as a result of agonising over which I would choose, I thought a lot about what the celebration at this time of year really is for me. I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about why we celebrate the beginning of a new year quite as much as we do. But when I eventually came up with an answer, it helped me feel comfortable about the things I was saying no to.
New Year, for me, is simple really: it’s a chance to reflect on what has been and to look forward to what might be.
All of the events I was invited to would have allowed me to do that, but some of them would have come with the added pressure of getting somewhere and spending money that I just don’t have. So I chose the simplest of the otherwise equally appealing options.
My Mum said to me the other day, as I thumbed through the year 12 art diary we’d just found in a box in the garage, that I’ve always been a dreamer. I guess she’s right. I dream, I plan. I’m pro-active about lots of things — I’m no stranger to jumping into the deep end, hoping it will all work out — but there are so many more things I’ve dreamt up that never make it into reality.
In 2010, some of those dreamer-plans actually started to happen. And it was great.
Looking through my old art diary, I felt an affinity with my seventeen-year-old self that I’ve not felt in a long time. She was in equal parts excited and confused by all the possibilities that were coming her way (and she wrote terrible poetry). I feel like that now.
That afternoon I sat down to write out some resolutions, something I’m not sure I’ve done before. None of them are particularly wacky or difficult to achieve. But it is a list I think I’ll need to come back to more than once throughout the year, because much of what’s on there is stuff that slips through the cracks: keeping in touch with friends (which I’m terrible at), writing regularly, getting to the arts events I want to.
I know I’m not going to do everything on this list. It’s not unusual for me to expect far too much of myself. But if I can do just half, this time next year I’ll be very pleased with myself.
Happy New Year!
PS. Upon re-reading this post, I’m conscious of several claims about my character that seem contradictory. This is something that’s been pointed out to me by a friend once before. My theory is that most of us are walking contradictions. Unless it’s just me.