I haven’t celebrated New Year in almost six years now, and this is the first year I actually considered going to bed early.
It’s strange because I’m Scottish and Hogmanay is a HUGE event in Scotland. Most of us make our own way to Edinburgh with our friends and celebrate it in the best way possible; or at least, those of us that can. Even rarer that I don’t drink alcohol. I’m like a Haggis wandering its merry way through a deep forest ravine in the thick of the Cairngorms, stopping to sniff the flowers and watch tentatively as a golden Leprechaun skips by.
I’m a bit of an agnostic evolutionist, and whilst I don’t believe in man-made Gods and the somewhat cryptic logic that befalls them, I do believe that there’s a lot about this world that we, or science, just haven’t discovered yet. Many, many years ago we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s as a way to give thanks for enduring the worst of the weather our Solar Cycle could throw at us. To survive that was an epic triumph. Food was scarce, and for all the medicines that are available to us now, there were none back then that could cure even our currently easiest to treat ailments. Thousands of years before time and dates were recorded, we would ritually give thanks for surviving yet another harvest, yet another winter, yet another harsh climate.
And now we sit in our cosy homes with food aplenty and drinks flowing. A lot of us live until we’re 90, and beyond. We take antibiotics if we’re unwell, and seek hospital treatment if worse. My Grandad could remember a time when it was common to have a brother, or sister, or family member die young because of the medicines and treatments that weren’t available.
But the whole premise of New Year has been lost on me. I don’t drink. My alcohol intake has been 0% going on eleven years now. I was brought up in a family that understood the whole substance of New Year was to get flat out drunk and break every new resolve they had vowed the very next day. Apparently it wasn’t a good night if you made it home.
My Mum, even now, has some superstitions about New Year and how it can have a dramatic effect on the year to come. She would always force me to have a shower and clean my room the night before the bells rung in. She hadn’t grasped the concept that I should have been made to do this every day. Every. Day.
Of course I’m not saying that I only shower once a year, or that I live in an unkempt hoarder house cleaned only on Hogmanay, but my idea is that we shouldn’t be looking at one day to make resolutions to change our lives for the better. We should be doing it every, damn, day. Every new day for me is a start from scratch. I look at life like this:
“What can I improve upon today that I failed on yesterday?”
This month alone I’ve made important changes to my life because of the adverse influence some situations have been having on my life. One of them being that I have become more focused on my writing. I’m terrible at getting lost in deep, deep conversations with really good friends but it’s had a negative impact on my production. Since realizing this, I’ve been focusing more on creating content and seeking my goals. That’s not to say that I won’t be having any more deep conversations with friends, because often they bring up the best ideas for content; only that I will use my time more productively.
And it’s an ongoing thing. Every day I look at what I’m doing, how I’m interacting with people, how can I approach things differently to better my life. In every area, in every part.
So I look back on New Year and I think, what does it hold for me anymore that I don’t do on a daily basis? I surround myself with amazing friends, I make resolutions to myself daily, I have a loving family, and I don’t drink.
It’s just not a special day anymore for me like it used to be; it doesn’t hold the pizzazz it used to. I don’t think in terms of years to change things, it’s an every waking moment of my daily life for me. And there’s always something to change because I’m far from perfect.
But I’m not saying I hope you didn’t go out and have fun, because I’m not one of these naysayers that tell you what you should be doing. I hope you had the best New Year EVER! And spent it in the best way that you could, or wanted to.
For me, it was write an article (coincidentally, this one), have a coffee, talk to friends, then snuggle up with the wife. That’s a good New Year for me.
I hope you had an amazing time.
And Happy New Year!
This post is dedicated to Darla Halyk and her everlasting quest to spread love into this world. I want her to feel a bit of unconditional love back, and that she’s not alone. She deserves it.