Updated: Dec 31, 2022
So, the moment I have just about grasped that the year is 2022, it is ending and I've got to get my head around the nonsense of 2023, which isn't at all catchy and frankly freaks me out. To the teenage me, 2023 was very firmly The Future where everyone had homogenous sleek gender fluid haircuts and little robot pets, like Furbies but better. Instead, me and The pirate will be seeing in the New Year on an island that has only had electricity since 1973 and still seems a little bewildered by it; where the bus stops intermittently so the driver can pop off and do his shopping...an island almost completely unspoilt by the horrors of Modernity. Heaven.
But....time marches on and a new year is dawning whether we like it or not, so, as ever, thoughts turn to the challenges and opportunities of our next go round.
I'm talking about New Year's Resolutions.
Now, as a Lover of Lists and a Die-hard Over-thinker, I love a New Year's resolution. Mine have, however, changed a bit over the past few years. I've retired the' lose 8 stone' one and the yoga one and I have to say, I don't miss them. I'd obviously love to be thin and bendy but I also love cheese, garlic bread and lolling about and have always struggled with the notion of moderation so they're on the subs bench for another year.
A few years ago, my resolution was to be less wastefuI. I was in a little beach hut in Goa and remember (albeit hazily) being bowled over by the kindness, generosity and resourcesfulness of our hosts. A very drunk Trudi spent the early hours of the New Year scribbling furiously in her travel journal and emphasising the need to" Re-use, Re-gift, Re-cycle."
(Still makes me shudder...)
But, to my credit, I did!
One whole year was my goal, one whole year of not buying a single new thing, or thing I didn't need. No new clothes, no nic-nacs, no trips to Waterstones, no nonsense. I found it worryingly easy and deeply satisfying and I can honestly say that it had a profound lasting effect on the way I still manage my consumer habits. The year after, my resolution was to read 100 books. I made up little rules for myself to make it more interesting; a book i hated the cover of; a classic I had been avoiding, a genre I would never usually touch with a bargepole. (I didn't manage it but got to 97 and to this day, still blame The luminaries which I just couldn't seem to get into and is the size of a small family hatchback.)
Anyway, I digress.
The point is, I have a real love of new year's resolutions. It is a very human thing, to want to take charge of your life and to prove that you are in control of your choices. I asked my children and best friends if they were making resolutions and, if so, what they were.
My two step-daughters will be spending next year "not eating shit" and "not having post-breakfast naps"
My medium sized child told me his resolution is to 'finish stuff.' My bezzers will be continuing their quest to feel less guilty after finally achieving a sustainable work-life balance, and trying not to offer unsolicited advice even if they definitely know best.
I love all of these.
They all share a common theme - to work on our selves, to be the very best version of us, to live happier, healthier and more fullfilling lives.
I've had a funny old year, a bit of an emotional rollercoaster going on and I'm just pleased to have ot to the end of it relatively unscathed, so for me, this year, I'm keeping my resolutions fairly simple. Of course I'd love to swim every day, and of course, I desperately need to take Spanish classes but this year, my only firm resolution is to be kind...kind to myself, and to those around me, to strangers, to the planet. I've got no big plan yet and nothing to measure whether I've been successful or not, but I want to end the year safe in the knowledge that should I ever find myself in Willy Wonka's factory, on the big judgey scales, I will be deemed a "Good Egg"
That's what Humanism is about, surely?
I know I am lucky to have a job which enables kindness-which might seem like a weird thing to say but it occurred to me recently that not everyone is so lucky. When we flew out here a few days before Christmas, we watched a member of the airline staff scouring the queue of people waiting to board and pulling aside those with bags that looked a little larger than the microscopic prescribed dimensions. These poor souls were unceremoniously taken to a handy nearby desk where they were forced to pay an extra £60 for their mistake. I'm sure that it was the last thing that the young girl wanted to be doing and it made me sad for all those who have to make a living from misery. I have two jobs -as a celebrant and a library assistant- and they both give me the opportunity to be helpful, generous, compassionate and kind. As I say, I'm very lucky.
2022 was a difficult year for many of us and it's looking like 2023 may be even worse so surely now, more than ever, is the time for us to look out for one another and be a great big basket of good eggs?
P.s I love Willy Wonka.