(New Year’s Day 2009 in Taormina, Sicily, before the proverbial started flying off the fan…)
I don’t believe in wishing your life away but 2009 was such an exercise in perseverence and stamina that in spite of having survived it, I almost cried with relief when it was finally over. Although Monsieur and I have managed to hold onto our jobs, most of our friends have lost theirs, at least once, in the course of the past 18 months, and my Day Job in HR meant that I was too often the one tasked with telling my colleagues that they were about to join the statistics of the unemployed. Following four rounds of redundancy at my workplace in the past 15 months, I turned into a shaky insomniac with no appetite. As anyone who knows me knows, when I have no appetite, you should start to worry.
The only thing that kept me going at the worst moments of 2009 was the knowledge that even though life was stressful for me, it was frequently, although thankfully, for them, not always, much worse for those who’d lost their livelihoods, with mortgages, kids, school fees and loan repayments to keep them awake at night. The unemployment benefits are measly, the likelihood of getting new work has been at an extreme low and many work vacancies have received hundreds, if not thousands of applications.
But life goes on. Humankind have fought their way through far worse predicaments than this, and if there’s one thing about humankind, it’s that it takes a lot more than a kicking in the goolies to keep us on the ground for long.
So it is that I’ve been happy to hear so much optimism from friends and family and colleagues and shopkeepers and publicans and blog buddies with regards to the coming year. Forget the economic forecasts. Forget the doom and gloom news stories that make you want to turn over and watch Come Dine With Me (far preferable to the alternative, in my view). Forget the analyses of numbers of unemployed, of what we spend or don’t spend, or of falling housing prices. It’s time to welcome the New Year with open arms, tell 2009 to get stuffed, and move FORWARD!What’s done is done and what’s happened has happened but it doesn’t mean we have to take up permanent residence in the rut that was the past year.
So to all of you, my friends, let’s hold hands and skip into the next decade together with an optimistic and collective grin.
On a personal note, I’m looking forward to getting married this year, to the challenge of losing weight whilst continuing to cook (don’t laugh), to being able to say “my husband,” when referring to Monsieur (don’t puke), to writing more and reading more and seeing more of my friends and family. But most of all, I’m excited to be in a whole, new year with a fresh start feeling.
What are YOU looking forward to this year?
While you consider how best to answer that, here’s a New Year’s quote that caught my eye recently:
People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.
Couldn’t have put it better myself. That’s what I call getting your priorities right!
HAPPY NEW YEAR, Everyone!