I happen to hate New Year’s Eve, with its emphasis on time and having fun and looking back while also looking forward, it’s enough to make you dizzy.
In the Kuhn house we hibernate in front of the fire with nice food and fairy lights and music and I usually manage to stay awake, but that’s mainly out of stubbornness. Because I do hate this evening and it often makes me sad, but I also want to look it in the eye before punching it in the face by surrounding myself with the people I care about most. I want it to know it hasn’t won. And for this year in particular, I can’t wait to see the back of it and I want to make sure it has actually gone and it’s not just a trick, that it hasn’t used all the life force of the people it’s taken away to prolong its own life, like a monster in a horror film.
I’m making it sound like something from a Harry Potter book when of course it is just a year, just another twelve months, a passing of time. There were no horcruxes involved and tomorrow will just be another Sunday. It just so happens that a lot of bad stuff happened in 2016 and we all like to give meaning to meaningless things, there has to be a point, even to the bad stuff, especially to the bad stuff.
Everyone’s talking about the famous people who have died and at times it’s felt like someone has been going through a list of all the people who were the backdrop to my childhood and ticking them off, one by one. But people have also died who I personally know. I’ve been to four funerals this year, some were for people who have lived their lives and left brilliant stories behind, some were for people who seem to have hardly got started with their stories. But too many people I care about have had a terrible time this year and that’s a really helpless feeling.
The bad things that started to happen in 2016 will play out in full in 2017 but my inherent optimism is still making me see this next year as positive, with things to look forward to. I can’t completely write off 2016 because there were some good things in amongst the bad.
I’ve reconnected with old friends and made some really good new ones. I’ve taken responsibility for something that wasn’t making me happy and done something about it, which means that while I’m ending 2016 a little bit emotionally battered, I’m healthier and much more confident. I’ve found something that I enjoy doing that also helps people, while giving me more time to write, because I’ve also found that the best way to get over your book being rejected by lots of publishers is to just get on and write another damn book.
So in a year of Brexit and Trump we have to look after each other more than ever if we don’t want to end up in some kind of Hunger Games scenario. And while women are still not being believed, and still not being paid the same, and still having to scrabble around for jobs, any jobs, that fit in around their kids because the working world is stuck in some kind of 1950s nine-to-five conveyor belt with little flexibility, we need to make even more fuss. It’s more important than ever that we make a noise about the injustices and prejudice we see around us on a daily basis, even if other people would rather not hear that noise.
So give yourself a break tonight, it’s just another night, you don’t have to make any big decisions or put extra pressure on yourself by making stupid resolutions. Just get through it the best way you can, the same as always and I’ll see you on the other side.