My family were never good at celebrating festivities under duress.
Gift giving and joyous celebration were fine on a non regimented level and at spontaneous and random moments, but a whiff of obligation and the shit would hit the proverbial fan.
No money would be available at the necessary times due to pre seasonal stress related binge spending, special meals would be burnt, parents and grandparents would have knock down fights and my sister and I would wake to find a living room littered with foil wrappings from our Easter eggs after our mother succumbed to issue related chocolate needs in the middle of the night.
This family training tied in with my own anti authoritarian reactivity, have made New Year obligatory behaviours as distasteful as Christmas ones.
Thus I’m presently ensconced in a magnificent Georgian living room (I’m house sitting for a week) surrounded by remnants of someone else’s splendid Christmas, lying on an exceptionally large sofa and ignoring the sounds of revellers outside my central city window as 2017 approaches.
As with Christmas my only qualms with this evening’s choice of activities have been in how others would view me.
Luckily I’m staying away from my home and there isn’t the need to pull my curtains so the neighbours can’t make a judgement as to my sad and anti social life style choices.
Saying that, the older I get, the more I suspect that I’m not alone in the way I bring in the New Year.
Years ago my not drinking or imbibing chemicals meant that I was castigated somewhat for my choice of not spending long hours with others as they get progressively more hammered.
Now, most of my peers are themselves tucked up in their own homes with necessary supplies to see them through the evening.
Facebook activity among my friends presently seems to be much higher than usual and as I was in the supermarket after work I ran into a friend of a similar age who was bulk buying discount Christmas chocolate in preparation of the rigours of a night ahead in front of his television.
In some ways I’ve had an incredible year in 2016.
I’ve travelled in the name of my art and writing, pushing boundaries taking risks and achieving so much. I have experienced new and wonderful things, learned, created and challenged myself.
I have fallen in love, descended into some very old shitty patterns of behaviour and madness but eventually managed to claw my way out of the crazy hole.
I realised I am very loved, that I know incredible and unique people, and sometimes I even thought…I’m okay.
On a global scale it has been like an episode from a 2000 AD comic.
Decimation of icons of several generations, justifiable dissolution of faith in the media and political systems and a more than usually apparent madness and irrationality on the part of the powers that be.
So I’m welcoming in this New Year lying on a sofa positioned under a huge crystal chandelier, and vowing to hang onto my creative expressions and the knowledge of the wonderful people I love who love me back, and most importantly, vowing to hang on to hope.
As long as these things exist, there exists the strength to survive and create positive change.
A wonderful 2016 to everyone, and so many thanks for your support!