Despite hailing from North of the border, I don’t like many things that are inherently associated with my homeland. Haggis. Whiskey. Rab C Nesbit. Deep-fried Mars bars. And New Year. (I’ve actually had my heritage questioned in the past because of these aversions). I also struggle to remember when Burns night is, which does not help.
The worst has to be New Year. I have always found this to be a depressing time. As a child this signifies the end of the festive season, next Christmas is positively a lifetime away and the only thing to look forward to is the possibility of snow/the school heating system packing up/any other unplanned occurrence which necessitates school closure for a few more days.
However, I can remember vividly when my New Year aversion plunged to new depths. I was 6 years old and had just worked out (all on my own) that just as the days of the week repeated themselves in an endless loop, so the months of the year also came round again in (slightly longer) endless cycles. I used this knowledge and understanding of the world and concluded that the years must likewise come round again eventually- at some point – if one waited long enough. I brightly enquired of my parents when it would be 1978 again, honestly expecting confirmation of my logic and an approximate timescale.
Instead I was told the devastating news that it would NEVER be 1978 again. Ever. 1978 was as good as dead. The year had come and gone (well- there were maybe 3 hours left) and the millions of moments, both good and bad that had collectively created it would never be repeated. Not even if we waited a r e a l l y long time.
I was numb with shock. 1978 was almost over and would never be back again! The implications were just astounding: I would never have my 6th birthday again. I would never have Mrs Bonelli as my teacher (unless she moved up a class). I think I may have cried a little bit. I really liked Mrs Bonelli. (And it was WAY past my bedtime) The synapses whizzed across my brain as I processed this new information, and the significance it brought.
So time moves forwards.
And once you’re on the conveyor belt you stay on it until you die- getting older all the time.
This made no sense to me whatsoever. Even as I processed this, people were actively celebrating New Year and being all happy about 1978 being dead and gone forever –didn’t they know how this works for goodness sake??
Fwd 30+ years on... and I still love Love LOVE Christmas (the incarnation gets more and more wonderful and astounding to me every year. Why God, why? What a risk. What a de-motion. Seriously. But I SO love you for it…)
And I have come to accept and appreciate New Year, sharing many of them with some ace friends who tolerate all-nighters of pictionary, uno and wine. I understand why people celebrate. Family being together. Friendships. Reflection. Making plans. Looking forward to new things. Having a legitimate excuse for a bender. All that stuff.
I still don’t like it though and THINK it’s because I’m rebelling against the flow of time which is out of sync with my soul (I want heaven now!!) I could never have articulated it at 6 years old, but am sure I realised that day- I am not meant for this world.
‘If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main objective of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.’ CS Lewis
PS. ‘He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart.’ (LOVE it…)
MERRY NEW YEAR people x