Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I have never been a fan of New Years Eve. You dress up, you go out, you kiss (or don't) at midnight, and eventually you go home with a vague feeling of disappointment. Because January 1st is just another day. It's nice to think that we can use an arbitrary date to wipe our slate clean, gather our resolve and set aside our vices. This year, we all think, this year will be the year I loose weight/get my dream job/quit smoking/become a better, more successful person. But in reality when you wake up, hungover and blurry on New Years Day, you are the same person you were 12 hours ago. There has been no great cosmic shift. All those resolutions will fall by the wayside unless you work for them, and most of the time we find more important or more interesting things to do than an after-work beginners course in Mandarin.

The most important New Years Eve of my life happened over 40-odd hours two years ago tomorrow. It was not particularly fun; in fact it was mostly spent on a succession of airplanes before ending with me going to bed in a strangers house after one glass of champagne and some awkward small talk. But when I woke up  on New Years Day, for once everything was different. I did have a clean slate. I knew nobody. I was finally living in a city that I'd had a long distance love affair with my whole life, and I could be whoever I liked.

Moving overseas was everything I hoped for, and then some. And especially this past year I've changed a lot. I'm braver and less naive; I've made bad life choices and excellent friends; traveled and seen new things and met people I love; kept secrets - both my own and others' - and occasionally, sometimes regrettably, not kept them. It's been amazing, but now, two years on, I feel like I'm standing with a fistful of loose ends and no real idea of how to tie them off before running away and starting afresh. Big, heartfelt declarations are all well and good in theory, but for those of us who don't live in a sit-com telling people what you really think days before you disappear into the big wide world is inconvenient at best, and potentially stupid and damaging.

I have no idea what's going to happen in 2013. Maybe I'll have some great, life-changing experience that eclipses everything I've ever been through. More likely I'll do some travelling and have a lot of fun before returning to Australia to begin living up to people's expectations of me. Good days and bad days, but mostly just regular days. And I'll grow and change and miss my life here and wonder what my friends are doing, and probably wonder if I should have made some big declaration. I'll probably move again, or at least make plans to move again. I'll play with the idea of coming back to London. I'll end the year with new, different loose ends. I will resolve absolutely nothing; most things will resolve themselves in time.

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