It always fascinates me the power we give each new year – power over our lives, our goals and our habits. In reality, it’s just another day. The earth doesn’t divide time the way we do, the need to impose some kind of order and a sense of growth and progress is ours alone.
I really love the new year, and not just because my birthday’s on the second day of January 🙂 I love a good spring clean, I love to clarify and to refocus my goals, even if those goals are more about being and savouring than doing.
So I always find it disconcerting when I read horrible news stories of things that have happened in the new year, sometimes on the very first day of the new year. Thankfully, it’s been relatively quiet but there have been some horror stories that have gone viral. It makes you think how the messiness and strife of one year can spill into the next. The story of the Brazilian mother who kidnapped and hurt her own child to punish her ex-husband springs to mind (I won’t be putting a link to the story, a quick Google search will bring up the macabre details). This woman had no thought of a new start, of all the great possibilities that lay ahead for her son in this new year, but instead all the anger and hate that had clearly been building up from the previous year took over.
I think the new year, like seasons, is God’s gift to us – to take a deep breath, take stock and reboot. No matter how tough the previous year, there’ll always be another chance to start again. And conversely, no matter how optimistic we are, like the young man who posted an amazing Facebook NY post and then passed away in a car crash that same day, we never know when our time is up. I could literally hit ‘publish’ and that could be it. This is life…and death.
My phone getting damaged just before the new year, leaving my job after exactly three years to the day and being on the cusp of starting an amazing new position teaching English and Drama (more to come later- eek!) has made this time extra poignant. I have no Whatsapp and I can only read my emails by sitting down at home and switching on a laptop. I’m using an old Nokia that’s way too embarassing to whip out in public, it’s so small it doesn’t even look like there’s anything in my hand! I haven’t Skyped anyone properly in weeks because I usually do so on my phone and I feel totally out of the loop. It takes AGES to plan a playdate or coffee now, averaging about 2 days when it used to take 2 mins, lol.
On the flip side, I’ve read a novel a week and planned all my lessons for the new term. I sit on the bathroom floor with my son while he has his baths, giving him my full attention, I’ve watched more dvds than in 2015, completed a short story and am elbow-deep in my novel manuscript. I’m choosing when to plug into the ‘net’ and when not to, and that feels bloody brilliant.
I communicate solely with the people I live with and that’s about it…! When you think about it, those special people and the connections you have with them, your closest and dearest are really what’s most important. Do you really need to know what your friend in Milan wore to a Christmas party? What Chrissy Teigen cooked last night? What’s ‘trending’ around the world? No.
The very fact you’re reading this post means you’ve taken 5 very precious minutes out of your life to connect and that means a lot, so thank you.
New Year. New balance. Real connections…