Over the last couple of days I have been struggling with what I should write next. With the New Year now upon us it would seem the obvious thing to write about, but I have been hard pressed to come up with any ideas.
‘I could write about the history of New Year,’ I thought. Something like—the origins of celebrating the New Year can be traced back over 2,000 years to Mesopotamia, although the Romans really made it their own much later on. Ancient Romans worshipped Janus for whom many believe the month of January was named. He was the god of beginnings and endings, and for all the gates, doors and passageways in between. Janus is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.
Are you riveted yet? No, me either.
Or, perhaps I could write something about New Year’s Resolutions? Really? Like that hasn’t been done to death. Besides, I don’t make ‘resolutions’. I learned a long time ago that I am lousy at keeping promises to myself.
So—what about writing something about the local celebrations? Nah. That wouldn’t work either. I have no plans to be going to any of them. Sigh.
If you hadn’t already guessed, New Year’s Eve always leaves me a little cold. I find it all a bit difficult to get enthusiastic about. All this happy, happy, rah, rah just doesn’t really ring true for me. For whatever reason ‘New Year’ usually makes me melancholic, and this year is no exception.
So, after sitting and staring at the blank computer screen for much longer than I intended I finally made the decision that I wouldn’t write anything this week. I was not ‘inspired’. (Besides, no-one would notice anyway as they would all be out partying.)
Instead I would go and do the other thing I was feeling totally uninspired about—mow the lawn. That alone should tell you how discouraged I was. I hate mowing the lawn (or at least the patch of scrub and weeds that likes to pretend it’s a lawn). At least I was managing to making myself feel slightly better about the task by having a good old bitch to myself as I mowed. ‘Bloody thankless task . . . back and forth, back and forth . . . stop, pick up sticks . . . back and forth again . . . stop, pull up weeds . . . wouldn’t mind so much if it looked any different once I had finished . . . bloody hell it’s hot . . . ‘
And then, as I marched ‘back and forth, back and forth’ and muttered to myself, a random thought—‘At least I have a lawn to mow’ completely stopped me in my tracks. (I swear it literally stopped me between a ‘back’ and a ‘forth’.)
Whoa. Where did that come from? Well, actually, I know exactly where it came from. I watched the TV news early this morning and it was all about the bushfire devastation in South Australia; and the flood, snow and tornado damage across the United States; and scenes of most of northern England underwater. Add to this earlier stories of the European refugee crisis and escalating terrorism around the world and 2015 was a truly horrifying year for a lot of people.
And here I was grumping about having to mow the lawn. I should be ashamed. Unlike all those people on the newcasts, nothing horrible or traumatic has happened to me this past year. I still have a roof over my head. I have a job I like and consider the people I work with as friends as well as colleagues. My family and friends are all safe and well, and my girls and I are healthy and happy. And I am grateful for that. For all of it. And I am also certain I take it all far too much for granted. I apologise. I am going to try and stop doing that. (Damn—that sounded suspiciously like a ‘resolution’.)
I want to wish everyone well for 2016 but how do you say ‘Happy’ New Year to people who have lost their homes, their possessions, their loved ones? It seems trite and insensitve. So I won’t.
What I will do is wish everyone, from me and my girls, a ‘Safe’ New Year, along with the fervent hope that 2016 is a better year for everyone . . .