I have never been a great fan of New Year or the idea of setting oneself resolutions. New Year’s Eve in the past has often left me feeling quite maudlin; the sense of enforced fun and frivolity only serving to intensify a strange sense of unfulfilled longing and regret in me. I couldn’t even specify what those longings and regrets might be, only to say that this collective moment of passing through the threshold between one year and the next stirs some uncomfortable feelings. I love Auld Lang Syne – Burns’ words and the melody move me greatly – so, when the midnight chimes ring, I have generally been found with a tear or two in my eye, experiencing an aching incongruity between all that fevered celebration around me and my own inner sadness.
I must confess that this year the thought of crossing over that threshold is incredibly appealing. It has been a difficult year of moving through the grief of losing my father; struggling to release many other things that are no longer present in my life; my divorce finalising and – as a backdrop to all of this – finding myself menopausal. It has been a year of exhaustion and turmoil, both emotionally and physically, and so the thought of drawing some kind of psychological line in the sand has started to feel like something worth celebrating. I am not naive enough to think that all will be miraculously well when I wake up on January 1st but having found myself uncomfortably suspended in this liminal place of the threshold for so long, I have decided to approach this New Year’s Eve with a more welcoming and positive attitude.
Moments that mark the end of one thing and the beginning of another offer us the opportunity to hold within us both the sadness of letting go and the joy of embracing the new. If we let it, this can be a potent alchemical blend that leads to a gratitude for life’s experiences, both the testing and joyful; it can allow us to sift and sort the wisdom gained, shedding the outmoded ways of being in order that we might truly move forward in healthy and productive ways. The truth is, this rather arbitrary point on the calendar potentially allows us to partake in a powerful collective piece of magic: all that energetic celebrating culminating in a moment when we release what has been to welcome and make space for what will be. It may be that we have many opportunities to do this at any point in the year, but having a dedicated time when we all come together to ‘wave bye-bye and say hello’ enables us to honour our humanity and the common experiences we all share as we each wrestle with the changes.
We are creatures who move through time and our memories shape our perception of the hours and the days we have lived until now but we should never allow memories to become a prison or our personal or collective histories to calcify our ability to embrace change or feel hopeful for the future.
Tonight I am choosing to see the transition from the old year to the new as my chance to walk through a magic door, one that will take me to places and experiences yet to be known. I have with me a life-time of wisdom gained and I am shining a more positive light on my memories so that rather than them being a weighty burden that I carry, they are instead a comfort and a guide.
When the clocks strike midnight, remember this moment of transition is two-fold: it is both the sigh of a wistful out-breath, a nod of thanks to the past, followed by the hopeful intake of air that will fuel our first step into a new life. We are crossing that magic portal and anything can happen! Let’s walk through together…Happy New Year!! /|\