One of the primary reasons I began this blog is that last New Year’s Eve I was filled with despondency at spending the most important night of the year playing Little Big Planet with my mum while the outside world erupted in fireworks and joviality. I love my mum (and also Little Big Planet) but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being left out of a universal cause for celebration. This ignited a lightbulb of realisation that I’d become the kind of person who waits around for life to happen instead of forcing it to work for me which could only end in another 12 months of failed expectations and false hopes that each successive year would be better.
Did these 52 resolutions make for a better year? My initial response was no but that was because I was looking at it from the wrong perspective. Sure I am still single, working a casual job and living with my parents. If anything, the resolution challenge made it even more difficult to improve upon these areas, sapping all my money and spare time. But it did give me a purpose, 52 personal achievements to be proud of and more confidence in my writing. It sent me on many journeys I wouldn’t necessarily have taken and forced me to put aside excuses to learn and create things I’d always wanted to but would never have gotten around to otherwise. While it distanced me from some, it brought me closer to others and it has given me a handy method to tackle all my tasks in future and an ingrained motivation to continually strive to be better in years to come. Maybe I didn’t tick any of those big boxes but that certainly doesn’t mean that this blog has not been worthwhile. Perhaps it wasn’t a brilliant year but it was by no means a bad year either considering it was rich and full and I was blessed in many ways. There are two sides to everything—it’s just a matter of which one you choose to focus on.
For my 52nd resolution I was adamant to spend my New Year’s Eve doing SOMETHING. Initially I had grand plans to finish my resolutions with a flourish but most people don’t like to think about New Years before Christmas and early efforts to rouse interest in friends fell on deaf ears. This was my mistake in 2009 and the frantic scrambling for last minute activities was not something I wished to repeat. Subsequently, ideas such as house boats, theme parks, beaches, golf and picnics were all thrown around as the ideal way to spend the day of New Year’s Eve but when I discovered I’d been scheduled to work, my plans shrunk in size. Instead I considered a pre-eve dinner, gathering friends together before they set off on their drinking adventures but my work hours were extended and so all my plans became unfulfilled dreams. No matter. I still had a party to go to and nothing was going to get in my way.
After work I was a whirlwind of preparation cooking hors d’oeuvres and blending fresh raspberries, mint, and apple & cranberry juice to act as mixer for my vanilla vodka. Both of these were enjoyed amidst my friend’s backyard tropical garden where the night was filled with chats, laughter, music, sparklers, toxic punch and the inevitable end of night Singstar screeching. (I suspect our hosts practice a lot of Singstar in their spare time as I can never beat them.) It was a fantastic evening among company that I always enjoy immensely, even if I did suffer a mammoth hangover, a shattered container, a grazed knee and a potentially fractured toe the next day. But as the night ended at approximately 4:40am these ailments were probably to be expected.
The interesting thing I learnt in my process of concocting the perfect evening is that most people simply don’t care about New Year’s Eve. Many folk I spoke to about their plans were more discouraged by having to stay up until midnight than the disappointment of spending the night at home. It seems that they’d learnt a lesson I was still yet to learn. That New Year’s Eve simply marks the end of another average year and the start of another mediocre one and no manner of crazy celebration is going to affect how the new year will turn out. It made me realise that I shouldn’t feel resentful if I have no plans and in fact, if I hadn’t spent a New Year’s Eve at home I may never have devised the Resolution Challenge.
However, there’s also much to be said for sacrificing one night of sleep to spend tapping into universal good cheer with friends and family celebrating having made it through another year with all the trials and triumphs it bestowed and the glimmer of hope that the next year will be filled with good health, good fortune, inspiration, accomplishment, happy surprises, and more good days than bad. And if nothing else, the recognition that it takes an average year to prepare for an amazing one.
There are two sides to everything—it’s just a matter of which one you choose to focus on. And your choice may make all the difference.