“HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
Someone shouted. Colors exploded overhead. She picked up her gun and ran.
I couldn’t write one of those Happy New Year’s Day kind of posts, but the clock just ticked over to 12.02 and it’s now officially the 2nd and I’ve missed my chance.
Which is perfect, because I have a confession that can only be made today:
I sort of hate New Year.
I don’t get at all grinchey about Christmas but New Year really brings out my inner Oscar the Grouch. (Caveat: Last night was actually really fun, because my parents are here and we did a Scottish Hogmanay, at which the party BEGINS at midnight, complete with snacks and sing-alongs. Normally, however, there’s a huge sense of anticlimax when the party seems to end when the ball drops in Times’ Square, so obviously I haven’t been doing things right in the past.)
The thing I hate most about New Year, though is the waking up on January the first.
Even non-hungover, I wake up tired and out of sorts. And there, there shining in front of me, is a whole, fresh, unspoiled year full of promise just waiting for me … to screw it up!
Let’s face it: I’m never going to write enough, be slim enough, be tidy enough, be a good enough mum or wife or friend or daughter. I’m going to forget to send birthday cards on time (or at all), I’m not going to phone people, I’m going to forget to turn down invitations and I will be rude, and no amount of good intentions in the world are going to change any of that. (I’m 36. I’m learning to accept that there is only so much about your character that a five column wall-calendar and a host of online organizational tools can work around.)
Added to which the year that just passed? Well, there’s always a temptation to look back and beat yourself up for not doing enough, trying hard enough, achieving enough. Which I do. And now, to ice the cake, I’m another year older.
(On a normal day, I really and truly celebrate that, because let’s face it, it’s a lot less scary than the alternative. On New Year’s Day, however, I’m already tired, so why not worry about being another day closer to death?)
AND, perversely, there’s the fact that the year that just passed will never come again. I’m loathe to admit the Irish in my background, but it’s there, slumped on a sofa up the back, drinking too many toasts to the year that just passed, and singing sentimental songs about how it’ll never be 2008 again, or 19-ANY-stinkin’-thing again, b’jaysus. And for all that I hate the year that just passed for its rear-view mirror panorama of all the ways in which I failed to make it the best year I could have, I was, nevertheless, USED to that year. I was comfortable with it. I was (I admit it) fond of it. And now it’s gone. Gone. GAWN (sob!).
And it’s January: the bleakest month in God’s green Northern Hemisphere.
So I wake up with all of that coursing through my veins, then get slammed with the vague panic brought on by the crushing weight of expectation fostered by that whole shiny new year ahead and, well.
For 364 days of each year I am happy and optimistic (to a fault) and shoo away regrets with a Golden-Age “pshaw!”.
On New Year’s Day: I’m with the rest of you.
So here’s to January the second. Clear, fresh, January the second, a day that comes with lowered expectations and which is definitely one of my favourite days of the year.