Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year Reflections




Reflecting tonight on a few of the more memorable New Year's Eves in my life, not all good - in fact it was the memory of one particularly bad NYE that got me reflecting back - but it's all in the fabric of my life...

OK, out with it... let's start with the grim one. I was young. From my vantage point now I'd say veerrry young. That would be about 20 or 21. I had a boyfriend of a couple years that I was in the process of breaking up with. Correction: he was in the process of breaking up with me. We were living together, and the decision had been made a week or so before NYE, but I hadn't moved out yet. And we were "friends". Or so we thought. He was always a very kind soul but I guess so wrapped up in his own stuff about the breakup (or 'her' - the girl he had fallen in love with, that was at the root of me being asked to move out), that his thoughtlessness that night took me by surprise. He had made the arrangements for the night, so I put no attention to the evening, until we were ready to leave the house - and he grabbed a bottle of rum and said "this is what I am taking to drink tonight. What are you taking?" Of course, I didn't know that I should need to be thinking ahead on that count. And that was back in the days when you couldn't just go pick something up without planning ahead (liquor stores closed early on such nights, and were so busy you actully had to line up outside for hours [!]), so essentially I was left with nothing, aside of whatever I might be able to find in the cupboard. It was just so thoughtless, and it was a bad omen for the evening ahead. I had already said that I didn't want to go out for New Year's, considering the situation, but he said he still wanted to take me out (I guess he felt guilty about breaking up with me? and his new gf had plans?), so I acquiesed (sp?). My memories are actually very vague about it now, but I remember it being a night from hell. Being at some party and him kind of leaving me all alone for long stretches, ignorning me (or so it felt), and me just feeling totally awkward and uncomfortable. I just wanted it to be over. But it was something to just endure. And, there was no easy way to leave and get home. So it did need to be endured. And I was Miserable. I was broken hearted, felt unloved, definitely felt jilted, and the whole situation was just laid out in front of me: everything had come to this. And it sucked. I never was much of a drama queen, but that night probably did bring out the bits I did have: I was probably pouting and putting off some pretty 'woe is me' vibes. I am slightly amused now to think of it, but feel a bit sad for the younger me. And am also curious as to what he remembers from that night.

The "good" thing from that night was that I declared I hated New Year's parties, avoided them, and started creating new rituals for myself. Not that declaring all NYE parties bad was a good thing, but the movement to new rituals was a positive evolution for me. I must say I am still not all that fond of NYE parties, but they don't fill me with dread anymore.

Now, what other memories do I have?

I remember the year my sister Carol came and stayed with me in Victoria one New Year's. I was living in a lovely little attic apartment in a renovated heritage house, with a wood stove, skylights and a wee balcony with an ocean view. It had all these multilayered floors, and I had candles scattered about. We stayed in. I don't think she'd ever done that before! lol. It was quiet, but we had little rituals at midnight, wrote lists and resolutions, burned them, saved the ashes - and ate little treats. All stuff I had done alone for years since the NYE from Hell, and was sharing for the first time. Seemed very grand to be sharing it with someone else - and shockingly quiet for her (she kept talking like it was a novelty, I don't think she'd ever not partied).

Also in the low points category was the New Year's Day -- so not the night, but the day after -- where I had memories of some very painful stuff from my childhood come back to me for the first time. I was so shocked and confused. I remember the day because I went out walking in the morning, and there wasn't a soul around. So began a whole new chapter of my life that I have done a lot of work around, but have not written publicly about. But I do associate it with NYE.

In the bittersweet arena, there was the year Carol was in palliative care at St Paul's Hospital, and my sister Patti and I smuggled in champagne and snacks. We took over a wee room used for families and the chaplain - the irony wasn't lost on us - and chatted away the night like girlfriends. No, like sisters, sharing a 'normal' New Year's Evening. It was special. It makes my heart catch, as it must have been her last one....

Had a few memorable New Year's with a close close friend, her sister and brother-in-law. We'd gather at her place, and eat and drink and laugh and argue. I am not an arguer, but there were plenty of amusing moments with one of the trio of people I was drinking with wouldn't stop talking long enough to hear another persective so the only way to get a word in edgewise was to argue one's point. Probably doesn't sound amusing to read, but it is amusing to reflect back on. We also had a lot of fun. It was a ritual that got set aside when one of us diverted to a relationship, but still have surprisingly fond memories.

A definite highlight was 2 years ago in Athens, Greece which I wrote about here. Fantabulous!!!!

If you read that, you'll know why I was out trying to find a pomegrante (sp?) today....

Well, it's about time to clang pots and pans here...mom is up, watching Dick Clark (still alive!)... so will wrap this up. I am sure I have a few more memories that will come to me, and may add to this later.

But for now, let me say:

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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