Let 2020 mark the end of the over-the-top New Year’s Eve and its dreaded resolutions
It’s time to start using the arrival of new year’s to reflect back, rather than to plan forward, writes Louise Slyth.
Why is there always so much pressure to have the most fabulous New Year’s Eve? It has evolved from being the one night a year when we were allowed to stay up late, to somehow become a barometer for the 365 days ahead of us. If you’re not having the most sparkly, champagne-soaked evening, dressed in finery and surrounded by amazing friends, then the night, and the year, are a total disaster.
With so much expectation, no wonder it’s always a flop.
One of the things this year has taught me is that I tend to reflect upwards, not downwards. By that, I mean I compare myself to the A list, but never to someone less fortunate than myself. I suspect we have all been guilty of this in the past, but 2020 will hopefully have made us all re-evaluate. This year, as the bells strike midnight, I will be focusing on gratitude – I’m thankful for all the things I previously took for granted – good health, a loving family and for the first time in months, some hope (thank you, BioNTech) that things will soon be getting back to normal.
I have never understood why we set our life goals in January. Yes, it’s the start of the year, but it’s also dark and dismal. Chances are, we are living off the fumes of too many mince pies and engaging in mortal combat for the last green triangle. This is not the time to set lofty goals, this is the time to regroup and reflect. I have always felt that September, with its crisp back-to-school feeling in the air, is a better time for objective setting and challenges.
But I am a big believer in rituals, so this year I have been looking for the life lessons to be gained from another year on the planet. Reviewing the past rather than agonising about the future. January will be less about taking on additional burdens and more about setting myself free of some.
Much has been written about the fact that our emotions take their toll on the body, and 2020 has taken its toll like no other year. From living with constant low-level terror, to anger at the loss of freedoms, concerns about finances, or not seeing loved ones, we have all been tried more than usual. Add to this toxic mix the usual day-to-day niggles with our flatmates or partner, that ignored Whatsapp group chat, or the sharp shards of a broken heart, and it’s a wonder we can move at all, what with the weight of all that emotional baggage.
So why not use the start of a new year as an opportunity for a clear out? Let it act as an emotional boot camp. Give yourself the gift of just letting it go. Write a list of everything that has bothered or burdened you this year. Then, as the Buddhists say, “acknowledge and accept”. If you are angry with someone try to forgive them. More importantly, if you need to, forgive yourself. Let those emotions out of your body and into the universe – write them down and burn them, throw a rock into the sea for every grievance…whatever works for you.
This New Year’s Eve I have altered my expectations and must confess I feel all the better for it. After all, it’s a Thursday night like any other. This year I will have a party for two and the theme will be “cosy”. Life is smaller and I’m fine with that. My plans involve luxurious loungewear, my wonderful husband, a roaring fire and (forgive me, I’m a creature of habit) bubbles.
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