‘New Year’s Day…now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.’
There’s too much pressure on us to celebrate the coming of the New Year; the anticipation is so high it makes it impossible to enjoy ourselves, and the evening usually goes with less bang than a box of damp fireworks.
It’s not just about the fun that can be had. I’ve had my share of Catherine wheels and damp squibs, and some years that I did nought but sit watching Jools Holland’s Hogmanay on television. The highlight was probably the Millennium New Year, which I spent in a hostel near a stone circle on the Isle of Arran with a bunch of strangers, singing folk songs and drinking on a seal strewn beach until the sun came up. At their low point, four years later, I was left alone, abandoned for another guy on Leeds train station by a girl I’d been obsessing about for months. That’s the kind of New Year we can all do without.
How you spend it isn’t what I’m getting at, but the attitude to it. In my experience, New Year’s Eve is a disappointing affair because it renders in sharp relief twelve months of failings and wasted potential. What are you doing now that you weren’t doing a year ago? Have you moved on or achieved something with your life? Do you really think that next year will be different?
A New Year is an opportunity to put your problems behind you, and begin afresh. But you’re off to a poor start if you spend the first hours of it drunk, and all your good intentions soon decline until they accept the status quo. Gyms see a huge swelling in memberships every January, as if we are seriously gullible enough to think we are going to stick at these new regimes, whether they are diet and exercise, fidelity, financial solvency or philanthropy. It’s a case of New Year’s Eve, same old shit.
So, with that in mind, I fully understand your doubt when I tell you that in 2012, for me at least, things are going to change.
For the past few years I have been conducting my life like trench warfare – trudging through the mud, barely sticking my head above the parapet. I am stuck in what can only be described as a rut. The inspiration for change comes from a close friend, who two years ago decided the life he was leading no longer had anything to offer him. His work, social life, relationships, hobbies and location had run aground – very much the state my life is in now – so he decided to do something drastic about it. He upped sticks, moved down south, got a new job and a new life. It involved some struggles and some ups and downs but now, almost two years on, he’s just got married, has a baby on the way, has started a very desirable new job working for the police, and has a new flat.
I’m not saying that’s the life I want – the idea of a family right now terrifies me beyond reason – but it’s the kind of difference I need in my life. There’s potential, for certain. I’ve begun a new relationship which is going better than I ever imagined it could; I’m getting away from home more and experiencing new things; I’ve begun to write again – hence this blog.
I’m not necessarily advocating a complete life transplant – the grass isn’t always greener – but sometimes these little New Year concessions just aren’t enough to effect the kind of change that is needed. A New Year could be just that – one completely different from the year before.