Our New Years celebrations just seem so poorly timed, coming as they do at the very end of four weeks of insane indulgence.
Having my parents in town for almost a month meant constant cooking, constant eating out, a trip to the hospital, continuous activities and a level of household upkeep I just can’t maintain when I’m eating and drinking that much.
Oh yeah. And, you know… Christmas.
My mother the psychonaut and I discussed New Years before we packed her and my father into a minicab for their ride to Heathrow yesterday afternoon. My best New Years Eves were
- Mobile Home at Bondi Beach for the Millenium.
- Circular Quay in 2002 with my sister, days before I flew out to New Zealand to live.
(Sidebar: Christmas is better in the Northern Hemisphere. New Years in the Southern. Somebody invent commercial teleportation already!)
Both times I was thin, pretty and pinging completely off my face on ecstasy. Those days are long gone. Last night, after my parents had left and we had the house to ourselves, my partner and I donned our ‘housewear’ (sweat pants and a stained St Pauli hooded top), collapsed our fat, tired limbs into the couch with some supermarket take-out and watched old episodes of the X-Files until just before the countdown -NYE TV being the dross that it is- before switching over to the BBC for the fireworks.
Then I sent a few tweets and was in bed by 1am. Bliss.
2012 was expensive, tiring, amazing, enlightening and generally epic. On balance, this was my best year since at least 2007 and easily makes it onto the medal podium for my best year ever. Some highlights:
- Got back to Stonehenge
- Visited Tolkien’s grave
- Saw the lizard boat from way up high
- Went to New York (twice)
- Accidentally partied with a Prince of the Realm
- Was in France for a socialist presidential election street party
- Watched the Olympic ceremony in Paris
- Dived with sharks again
- Escaped a flooded opera in Tuscany
- Helped get a company acquired
- Saw some nazi ghosts in Spain on a search engine’s dime
- Went back to York
- Saw a lot more of Hamburg than anyone needs to
- Watched some weirdos tie the knot
In years past, January 1st would find me lounging on the lawn of a converted church, champagne in hand, watching the warm sunrise over Sydney harbour, swapping stories of the previous evening’s sexual misadventures.
Today I am sitting on an unadorned bed because the sheets are being washed, soberly drinking green tea and considering, in preparation for tomorrow, whether to iron the shirt that best hides my festive food baby or the one that looks the most officey. The worlds may be pulling out of their most recent apocalypse but life in 2013 is still very complex. I need more psychological runway to prepare for the Game of Thrones than I once did.
Which brings us neatly back to the ‘R’ word.
Do ONE thing
Drink less, smoke less, be more diligent at work. These aren’t resolutions. They are flotsam adrift on a sea of background anxiety.
This time last year, my partner and I sat in our tiny backyard and I asked him what is the single thing he could achieve that would provide the biggest material uplift in his personal happiness in 2012. Mine was more effective weight loss which was achieved. (Not at the goal weight yet but this is another reason to stump for Chinese New Years instead.) His was to launch a web project he was working on. The project wasn’t launched but it was taken as far as it could go before being abandoned. I still count this as a success. Most things fail. Never let that stop you doing all of the things.
Rattling off a list of things you want to accomplish is, in many ways, absurd because as the military stratagem has it, battle plans never survive first contact. However, honestly looking at the one thing that will result in the greatest increase in personal happiness is a worthwhile exercise. It may surprise you to find that your one thing rarely aligns with traditional resolutions. Neither of ours, for instance, either last year or this year, have anything to do with our careers or making more money.
Think of it like the early stages of magical target selection, long before you’ve chunked down into little steps to enchant for. The most common answers involve finding love, studying more or pursuing creative projects. And yet everybody seems so eager to pack their gym bags and race out the door. Where is that going to get you if you really want to take a month out and go write poetry in the woods?
All your work plans, all your health plans, most of your money plans will crash and splinter against the chaos that is future events. Wizards don’t like to admit to themselves just how much of the Game of Thrones is reactivity. But it is. Pieces move. New players appear on the board. The best thing you can do is have your head in the right place so you react advantageously.
Your happiness, however? That one thing that will improve it the most? That one thing that always seems to get pushed further down the to-do list due to unforeseen circumstance? That’s on you. Resolve to achieve it.
Because, to paraphrase King Mob, there is only ever one
Happy 2013, kids!