Here comes 2023, and another New Year

Photo by Kaleb Tapp

Hard to believe, but here we go again, stepping into the unknown. Is it just me or are these New Year celebrations coming around faster than before?

In my younger days, I looked forward to this event. I had a feeling that new and exciting things were just around the corner and all I had to do was reach out and grab them.

Gone are the days when I would step boldly and eagerly over that imaginary barrier and bid farewell to the known and embrace the unknown. Years ago, the papers and TV were filled with images of a decrepit old man, hobbling on his cane as he slowly walked into oblivion. Directly behind him came a smiling baby in diapers clutching a Happy New Year sign.

Never could figure out how a baby in diapers could do that, but then none of us were as worldly as people are today. Maybe we were somewhat naive and perhaps a little gullible. I know I certainly was.
One of my most significant New Year’s Eves was 56/57, the last one I spent in Australia.

There were six of us, all in our teens and we were determined to make it an evening to remember. We took the ferry from Circular Que to Manly which is on Sydney’s north shore. Everyone on the ferry was in a jovial mood, the sea was calm, the breeze was warm and above us, the sky was filled with a myriad of twinkling stars.

Once we stepped off the ferry, we became part of a lively and exuberant crowd that wound its way to the beach. The earlier arrivals had already laid their blankets on the sand, started a few bonfires and were ready to party. There was a band belting out the popular music of the day and they encouraged us to dance and sing along. There were young boy vendors that came around selling sandwiches, fish and chips, and pop which we wolfed down when the band took a break.

It was a warm summer’s night and some crazies even walked into the surf fully clothed just to cool down. The sun was coming up by the time my friends took me home. It was an emotional farewell because we knew that my family was moving to Canada within the next few weeks and I would probably never see them again.

As a young married woman, I looked forward to each New Year’s Eve with enthusiasm as money was tight and it was the only night that my husband and I would splurge on entertainment.

These were elaborate ballroom parties where at midnight multi-coloured balloons rained down on us. We joined hands and formed a circle as the band began to play Auld Lang Syne.

I can’t say that I ever really knew the words to the song or its meaning, but it was tradition so we just did it. This was followed by thunderous cheering and kisses all around.

Didn’t matter whether one knew the person or not, we just puckered up and enjoyed the merriment.
Age changes everything and now I regard each new year differently. I think of the year ahead as a challenge and I am somewhat apprehensive about what may lie ahead.

During the last decade, I have lost many friends through illness or old age. I have had to accept that, after all, it is the circle of life.

I have much in common with the people who live in my building and that comforts me.

We are pretty well in the same age group so we share and appreciate the same music; we have lived through the same world event; we share the same maladies; have problems with our hearing and need to use eyeglasses.

Don’t get me wrong, I like being around young people as well, their vitality and energy are infectious. But I have to admit that I cannot relate to their music or to some of their way of thinking.

Here on the threshold of another year, I wonder if I will once again make and then break the same old resolutions.

Lose weight; exercise more; keep in better contact with family and friends; clean out my clothes closet; get rid of the things I hold too dear in my storage locker. Most of all, finish writing that story I started many years ago.

Now I spend these festivities alone. I try to stay up until midnight but almost always I don’t always make it.

It does not matter.

During the evening, I raise my glass of ginger ale and toast the coming year. After all, it is midnight somewhere.

As I turn off the lights, my heart is filled with gratitude for what I have and where I live, and as I drift off to sleep, my mind wonders about what lies ahead.