Traditionally New Year’s Eve has been disappointing for me. Many’s the time I’ve sat drinking beer with my dad and wondering where the party was. One New Year’s Eve, I was robbed. And this time last year I’m pretty sure I was having a cry in a darkened bedroom, while a Chapel Hill house party and the televised fireworks raged on without me. So on balance a long swim, a barbeque with my parents and starting the new year writing isn’t such a bad lot. (Though I must question SBS’ programming of an old Leonard Cohen concert – don’t they think those of us watching television on New Year’s Eve are depressed enough already?)
This time of year always brings reflection. What have I achieved? Where to next? Fond memories and rueful regrets unspool. Highs and lows are weighed against each other, and the impulse to make lists rears its finicky head. One thing you can expect as this blog resumes regular service is my list of favourite albums of the year.
The ultimate for list-makers is new years resolutions. And for we perfectionists, it’s a dangerous time. So tempting to set impossible targets, which in turn are hastily abandoned as soon as the slightest thing goes wrong to sully that glorious blank new calendar. It always reminds me of a Cathy cartoon where she’s keeping a new journal but on the second day of the new year is forced to give it up. “Ack! I wrote in blue pen instead of black! Everything is ruined!”
Looking back on my resolutions for 2010, I actually did well on every count. “More time with old friends; Less flaking; More bike riding; Less days lost to the hangover void; More photography; Less TV; More road trips; Less unfinished books; More music; Less unfinished sudoku; More writing; More new recipes; More random kissing; More learning.” The virtues of realistic goal setting, I guess!
But then again, I am currently homeless, unemployed, and quite a ways financially from meeting my goal of moving back to New York to work. Failures seem more dramatic at this time of year too, and after a few weeks living back with my parents I’m beginning to understand why people say “you can’t go home again”. Surely I’m too old to be living with my folks, doing seasonal work? There’s a ten year highschool reunion approaching after all. My mother is right to ask what I’m doing with my life.
Perhaps it’s wrong or just lazy to trust that things will work themselves out – with hard work and good intentions, of course. But surely one’s unfettered 20s are the time to revel in the luxury of leaving some things to chance, living on the road and leaving time to have adventures? Having spent my first days back in this house sorting through childhood diaries and schoolbooks, and being confronted with what a shy, confused, lonely kid I was, it feels like something of an achievement to now feel so comfortable and indeed inspired by the chaotic prospect of living on the other side of the world.
One of the things I still have in common with that kid though, along with a mile-wide romantic streak and a tendency to make terrible jokes at inappropriate times, is the urge to write. So this is my resolution for 2011. To write every day. Especially the days when I don’t feel like it. Because as that wise man Albus Dumbledore once said, there comes a time when you must choose between what is right and what is easy. Maybe that choice is what separates adults from children. So I’ll keep writing. I hope you find something you like, here and there. But right now I just hope you’re reading this sometime in January, possibly hungover, having had a blast of a New Year’s Eve. I hope 2011 brings you stuff you’ve been dreaming of – and stuff you didn’t even realise you wanted.
And for good measure I’m keen to keep going on all 2010’s resolutions – new recipes, oodles of live music, bike adventures, laughs with friends, roadtrips… All except the random kissing. It was fun while it lasted, but I plan to collect on a belated new year’s kiss a few weeks from now. And I have no doubt it will be worth the wait.
Happy new year! xx