I have to confess, this must be the first year that I have ever said I want to see the end of. I don’t set much store in the new year resolutions or the good ridden to, and welcome in, thing. I usually sit at home and watch a film whilst my husband wanders off to the boys and gets plastered. I’m in bed by 10pm and then up the next day to cook dinner. Last year was special, I had a friend who does welcome in the new year, join me for the evening. It was nice to help him say fair well to one year and hello to the next. My year doesn’t quite run the same way. I’m stuck with the calendar, that’s not a problem, the 1st of the 1st of the new year is ok. I have no quibbles with it, but why does it mean that the world thinks it can alter reality.
I get it, you had a crappy year and you pin everything on the man-made illusion that the next year will bring about a miraculous change. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it won’t.
My mantra, my opening prayer if you wish, every day is, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” Take today for instance. I have woken up this morning knowing that the dining room is still a wreck, that the ceiling is still falling down, that the builders are still scheduled to come and destroy and reconstruct the house. I know that I no longer have a driving licence and that until someone actually goes to work and opens my appeal, there isn’t much I can do about it. The dog is still old and not getting any better and my mum is still in hospital. I’m still fat, Mark is still my worst enemy until he has shit, showered and shaved and had coffee and I’m still stuck in no man’s land as far as my health is concerned. But I made the choices that led me here. I made the decision to eat copious amounts of food, I made the decision to marry Mark, to move into this house, to go to the hospital and get my health seen to, which led to an overly excited medic to tell the DVLA that I was on medication that I’m not taking…sorry sour grapes and all. The point is, everything that has led to this end of 2017 hate manifest, has been brought about by choices I have made. The only way that 2018 will be any better is if I make wiser choices.
“Hang on,” I hear you cry.
I know I hear a lot of you crying when I am typing away. I suppose I can hear my inner audience read my scribblings with incredulity. But it’s true. I do have resolutions, they happen when I’m ready to make them. Don’t push me into making up goals that I’m not ready for, just because some man with an eye on the sky and the power to put numbers on a day said, this is the beginning, and then some bright spark said, I know let’s make a wish and call it a resolution, doesn’t mean I have to lie to myself. That’s how I feel about it. I see everyone telling themselves fibs. “I’m gonna do.” “This year I will.” And how many do you think will?
I stopped believing in my own lies a long time ago. I do believe in myself. Last year it was August when I resolved to learn how to play a guitar. I’m getting there, slowly.
However, this year I am going to make a point of following the crowd. Purely because 2017, well the last couple of months at least have been poo. Can I use that word on here? For want of any other word, that will do.
So here goes, 2017 has been a bummer. There have been lots of good things about it, in fact more good than bad. Nope I just can’t do it. I can’t do the woe is the year. I can’t dismiss it, just like that. How can anyone? How can anyone take one day, and one night and use it to dismiss every good thing that has happened in the last 12 months. Yes, there have been mishaps and problems and rotten tomato moments but there has been fun, and laughter, new movies and meals that have been delicious, there have been walks in the sunshine, warm mugs of hot chocolate. There have been new friends and pitiful jokes that I have laughed at. I don’t want to dismiss 2017, with the wave of a glass of gin and say good bye. I want to remember it with love and joy. For the paintings I’ve created, the books I’ve read, the people I’ve spoken to. I want to say thank you for the help I’ve received when I’ve had hiccups and I want 2018 to be just as much fun.
I don’t want the same problems I’ve had, but what are the chances of that? What are the chances of having another car accident, the chances of my boiler bursting again, the chances of a year that has the same ups and downs as 2017, 2016, 2015…
The truth. The chances are there every year. The difference is, I can change my life on 1st January, 25th March, 29th December. I don’t need a marker to make a resolution to make better choices. I can do it at any time.
So, when you wake up on 1st January 2018 and the hangover has subsided, what will be different. The number at the end of the date? The place you live in? Your resolve? And what happens if on 2nd January 2018 you reach for that cigarette you promised 24 hours before to quit smoking? What happens if by 25th March you are still overweight?
Honestly, not a lot, and you know that, you have made the same promises before and you have lied to yourself, and no doubt will do it again.
Me? This year? I’m going to say good bye, but for other reasons. Not because the calendar tells me I should start again, but because the shutdown of our society has given me the opportunity to take a deep breath and look at what has happened and how I can fix it.
I can help the builders by getting the house ready for their arrival. I can make my dog comfortable and spend the time we have left with him creating wonderful memories. I can choose to be fat and unfit and stop whinging about it or do something. I can fight for my licence and find ways around it whilst I wait for a decision. What I won’t do, is rely on an age-old tradition of wishing and making empty promises to myself.
I welcome 2018 with open arms, but first I want to welcome 29th December, 30th December and the 31st December, because today is the first day of the rest of my life and I’m not going to waste three days waiting for a man-made year, to start living.