I was born to a Scots father and an English mother and learned at an early age that my mother was a huge Christmas fan whilst my father loved Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve. 31 December at our house was a very special occasion.
My mother would spend the day preparing party food for a huge number of people – my very hospitable father would tell friends, neighbours and acquaintances that it was “Open House” and all were welcome.
Droves of people used to arrive at our house at any time from as early as 7pm, followed by the pub chuck-outs and the “First Footers” from midnight. The last man standing was usually my Mum who closed and locked the front door at around 3 o’clock on New Year’s morning, having ushered out the last couple of die-hards!
However, it wasn’t only the celebration of the old year and ringing in of the New Year that appealed to my father. He had a very positive outlook and used to tell his children that the New Year was an exciting time of opportunity, to learn new skills, and experience new things. Trash what’s passed and look forward, he used to say.
So for many, many years, from the age of 21 onwards, my New Year’s resolution was to give up smoking and I eventually succeeded following a bout of viral pneumonia when my lungs told me they were not up to having a fag, and am I glad they did!
As my father used to say, out of something bad comes something good. Besides the toll that smoking would have taken on my health, I know that I would not be able to afford to smoke today with a packet of 20 cigarettes priced at over £5.
Since then, I’ve been resolving to go on that diet and get fit (giving up smoking tends to mean you put food into your mouth instead of a fag). This year I’ve managed to shift some weight but again that was health-forced, having been diagnosed as a borderline Type 2 diabetic. Once again, out of something bad comes something good.
So what are my resolutions for 2012? Guess what…. the same as my father’s all those years ago. Except in this economic climate, I need to be thrifty and prudent with my money so that I can afford to grab the opportunity to learn new skills and experience new things. And to look forward with optimism to each day, no matter what it brings!
Happy New Year, everyone!