Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Australian New Year and New Year Resolution

As I'm sure some of you are aware, I am with my family in Australia at the moment. We have been here for almost a month, and we are having the time of our lives. Spending time with Ian's family and meeting his Sister, Brother-in-Law and twin nieces, has made Christmas 2012 one that I will never forget. However, being away for Christmas always feels alien and Christmas really hasn't quite felt like Christmas. It's the heat, the heat is WRONG, it's simply too hot to feel Christmassy. 

Christmas should be cold, and the nights should be drawing in at 3pm. It's as simple as that.

Yesterday we spent New Years Eve on the beach in Mornington, Victoria. The beach was virtually empty, and we were with the whole family. We couldn't have asked for more. The beach had so few people on it considering it was New Years Eve. But as the day turned into late afternoon, not one of us was interested in spending the evening surrounded by heaps of drunken idiots. We had been planning and un-planning what we were going to do for weeks now and that got me thinking. I realised that I'm finding more and more as the years pass that despite much planning and anticipation, New Year's Eve ends up being just another night?

Or is it just me?
  photo MorningtonBeachcopy_zpsd9130777.jpg

The words anti-climax and unsatisfactory spring to mind – it could actually be any other day. And yet, what this time of year actually stands for is a marker in time, a point by which we can somehow quantify and measure our dreams and successes. It's a life checkpoint.

It reminds us to take pause from the daily humdrum. In an ever modernising world, where work days blend into work nights and weekends are packed with chores and errands, where there is little differentiation between work and play, we need New Year's more than ever, to remind us what we value in life: prompt us to chuck in the bad habits and prepare to be the best we can be in the year to come. So what will be my New Year resolution for 2013?

Seeing that most of my vices I had during my twenties have slipped away without too much effort. Due to focusing on finding a career, raising a child and maintaining a relationship, my new priorities seem to have little time to do much else. Gone are the days of week long benders for no apparent reason (gone, but not forgotten!). And so, this year I don't need to vow to drink less or quit the cigarettes because moderation took effect a while back, all by itself. As I'm sure many 30-year-old(ish) people can relate, less money spent on boozy nights out equals more money spent on good food: fruit and veg from the organic greengrocer, rustic loaves from the farmers market, the daily gingerbread latte – they all add up to become our new extravagance.

But, I'm not willing to spend less on luxury food items and so this can not be my New Year's resolution. So what is my bad habit? The answer is staring us right in the face.
Oh happy friends, laptop and tablet, we've been through so much together. You are the first thing I see when I wake and the last thing before sleep takes over. When you light up, my face lights up and I drop everything to come running to your attention. Whenever we travel, I treat you like my first born, protect you from rough handed baggage handlers, lay you with kid gloves in the x-ray tray. You have become an extension of me, a limb I'd struggle to live without.

But struggle I must, this I vow to do in 2013. After all, less time with you means more time with my family and real people in the flesh. Less time spent searching for stuff, means more time actually experiencing and exploring the real world. Don't get me wrong, I could never shun you completely, you also represent a lot that is good. I cherish living in your global village, and bathing in your vast depth of knowledge. But my obsession with you has been distracting me from the world on my very own doorstep.

So in 2013 I'm going to switch logging on to stepping out, and I urge you, dear reader, to do the same. Make it an experiment and discover that, although you may not have checked your emails for the last 20 minutes, life, strangely enough, goes on.