I am the first to admit that I hate New Years Eve, and I would imagine that I’m not alone in that thought. Any occasion where you are expected to go out and have fun, whether you feel like it or not, instantly gets my back up and until last year, I hadn’t celebrated a New Years Eve for quite some time.
When I was younger, it was a very different story. I loved New Years Eve! We would all go to my Nans house for a party, eat turkey sandwiches and sausages on a stick and the novelty of being allowed to stay up past midnight was almost as exciting as the taxi ride home.
In my teens, New Years Eve was all about the parties. We would plan our outfits weeks in advance, debating over dresses that skimmed our thighs or showed off our new enhanced cleavage courtesy of the Wonderbra we had convinced our parents to buy us for Christmas. We would stock up on 20/20 and White Lightening, drink ourselves into oblivion at a friend of a friends house, snog random boys and projectile vomit in their parents en-suite.
In later years we would dance on the tables in our local pubs, knock back tequila shots and smoke cigarettes, crashed from people who actually smoked. We would dance arm in arm, swaying wildly from side to side, declare our undying love for each other and cry drunken tears through Auld Lang Syne.
New Years Eve was fun, it was exciting, it was full of promise and expectation. Back then a year felt like such a long time, each month dragged on for what felt like an eternity, the memories of the previous year little more than a distant blur.
But the older I get, and even more so since having the children, time seems to speed up, the weeks passing by so fast that I lose track of time. And all of a sudden 365 days feels like very little time at all.
And I hate it. I hate that New Year comes around so fast, that time is slipping away from us. It terrifies me that when the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve that another year has gone, another year of our lives that we will never get back. I find myself longing, more so the older I get, for that elusive pause button.
2015 has passed in the blink of an eye, more so than any year I have ever known. I can recount to you with such clarity last Christmas Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day. I can tell you what we ate for dinner that night, how we sat around the table and toasted the New Year and how I had hoped that this year wouldn’t pass quite as quickly as the last. And yet as Winter turned to Spring, and Spring spluttered into Summer, by the merging of the seasons the year was gone, and I never got round to achieving even half of what I had planned.
For I had big plans for 2015. I had planned on re-discovering my good health, of getting fit and strong and kicking ass on the virus that had left me so poorly the previous year. I hadn’t planned on spending my year in and out of the hospital, seeing consultants, having tests, agonising over results and awaiting new treatment plans. I hadn’t planned on ending the year feeling just as poorly as when it had started.
I had planned to relax more, to let go of my panic and anxiety and my need for control in so many aspects of my life. I hadn’t planned to spend months in therapy still talking through my issues, nor to end the year still battling with my nerves, with a never ending cycle of worry, anxiety and negativity.
And I had planned that this was the year that I would be a better wife, a better parent, a better friend. I had planned to compromise more, to improve on my patience levels, to make more of an effort to socialise and stay in touch. I had planned to become a more polished, more improved version of myself, to be able to look back a year from then and see how far I had come. And now, with the year behind us, I feel that I have achieved so little.
But sitting here, reflecting on our year, looking back through photographs of our time together, I have forced myself to seek out the positives. And actually, there are many.
We have made so many memories together as a family – holidays, trips out, birthdays, anniversaries, regular Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays. There have been so many smiles and so much laughter, times we have creased over in hysterics, clutching our sides and howling at the children, at the funny things they have said and done, at the foolish things that we do together in the confines of our own home. There has been big changes – the end of Primary school and the beginning of High school for Lew, starting Pre-school for Eva, and Meggy starting Nursery and finally finding her feet. And my Harry, who we have finally come to accept is no longer a baby but instead has become the most delightful toddler and our little piece of Heaven. There have been moments that I shall cherish for the rest of my life, snap shot memories of their little faces, the sound of their laughter, the twinkle in their eyes.
As with all years, we have seen hard times, sad times and tears and we have said goodbye to those whom we loved dearly. There have been times that I would rather forget, low times that we have struggled through as a family, difficult times that we have battled through as a couple. But we always make it through, we always survive them and emerge stronger than ever.
But we have been lucky, we really have. Despite the bumps in the road this year, my children have continued to thrive into the amazing little (or not so little!) people that they are. I have watched them grow in confidence, in character and in strength and their closeness as siblings has continued to exceed all of my expectations. They have made me smile every single day of the year, even on days when it was a struggle simply to get out of bed. They have been the best medicine, the best therapy and the best company I could ever ask for. They have, quite simply, been the best.
And we have ended the year exactly how we started it, surrounded by our children, our parents, our families and friends. We have a roof over our heads, we have clothes on our backs and food in our bellies. We have opportunities to come, occasions to enjoy and memories to make. And most importantly, we have each other, our beautiful little family that means the absolute world to me, and in that way, we have been luckier than we could ever have thought possible.
When the clock strikes midnight tonight I shall be safe in the arms of my husband, the knowledge that our relationship is strong, that between us we can take on whatever 2016 throws at us. I shall know that at home my four healthy children are sleeping soundly in their beds, that my parents are sat in my lounge, enjoying a drink and awaiting our return, and that my beautiful boy is shining down on us from the sky. And I shall look around at my friends, those who share our evening with us and those whose messages flood in on my phone, and know that we have a pretty wonderful life with some of the loveliest of people.
And I shall remind myself that 2015 was a good year.
Life is hard, it’s unpredictable, it’s a constant challenge. Life is exciting, it’s rewarding, it’s surprising. Life is beautiful, its scary, it’s utterly exhausting. But one of the most important things that I shall take away from this year is that life is precious, and above all, life is short.
My hope for 2016 is to be right here this time next year, in our family home, surrounded by those I love, feeling just as happy as I do right here and now. That is all.
Happy New Year to you all, may 2016 bring you kindness, happiness and health. xxx