Here we are
Me and you
Feeling lost and feeling blue.
It’s not just because of my devotion to Abba that I always feel a little bit melancholic on New Years Day, but I’m not sure exactly what it is. It’s not a sad melancholy exactly. It’s more pensive, a little nostalgic, somewhat existential if I’m really feeling pretentious or have had a lot of whisky.
I always miss my Papa today (my mum’s dad, so-named by my eldest cousin before she could pronounce Grandpa). He loved New Years, and it was he who discovered me at around nine years old, hiding under the covers waiting for midnight, and brought me down to join my first Bells celebration. I forgot to mention that yesterday, in Scotland we call midnight on New Years Eve ‘the Bells.’ I don’t know why.
I’m not as a rule given to being bothered about getting older, but this is the one day of the year when I find myself considering my mortality. I’ve always done so, even when I was little. That’s another year of my life gone, disappeared, lost into stardust. Whether it was good or bad, whether I’m desperate to hang on for a little while or glad to see it go: it’s over. On a global scale, I think we’re all pretty much agreed that 2016 was fit for the toilet, but there’s an odd sadness in anything being over, no matter how much it sucked.
Actually not sadness, not quite. Just worthy of a day’s contemplation.
Because tomorrow, everything begins again. It’s a fresh slate, a new start; full of possibilities and potential. I think it’s quite right that we get an extra day’s bank holiday in Scotland, because you need the 2nd of January to do yoga and eat kale and learn French and make pasta from scratch… at least for a day.
I’m excited to be going into 2017. It’s going to be a fun year – certainly an interesting year. I’ve a whole new life to build, for one thing. Being a serial random ex-pat, I’m quite a dab hand at kicking off a life from the ground up, if I do say so myself, and it’s one of my favourite hobbies. Obviously in this case, with family and old friends dotted around Glasgow, it’s not completely from scratch, but given the last time I lived there I was 8 and mostly into Barbies and gymnastics, it’s as good as.
When I moved to Vancouver in my early 20s, I was a pretentious London club scene arse who cared about being seen at the latest Notting Hill (for it was Notting Hill in those days) eaterie and ran guest lists at fancy clubs so basically looked down my nose at people for a living. Then I found myself on the west coast of Canada where people dress to go clubbing as though they might encounter some unexpected hiking along the way. I discovered the tackling the Grouse Grind on a Saturday morning was at least as much fun as eating a fruit salad in the vicinity of sundry members of Oasis. If I’d stayed in London throughout my twenties, I think I simply wouldn’t know that I love the outdoors. I genuinely don’t know how it would ever have occurred to me.
Five years later, I was back in London and scrabbling to get a foot in the door in the film & TV industry. And I worked. Pretty much exclusively. I imagine I must have done some other things some of the times, but my primary impression of 27-32 (give or take) is of getting up at 5am to write for a few hours before getting dressed and heading into the City to pretend to be a secretary for the day. Then coming home and getting in some more pages. Weekends? Pages. More pages.
When I wasn’t actually writing I was networking, researching industry contacts, studying every film or series that was released. And, though I didn’t realise it at the time, I was in deep danger of whatever creativity I have turning to mush and dripping out my ears.
Then I moved to Stockholm, and discovered that Swedes – even those in competitive, passionate industries – give more or less equal priority to socialising and exercising and relaxing. I met actors who were also journalists and economists and high ranking officers of the Swedish Navy, because they’d found a balance that worked for them.
I learned that balance was important to me too, and that it doesn’t make me any less ambitious to take breaks and experiment with different avenues and media. I took a total break to teach pre-school for a couple of years, which kicked off a whole new tidal wave of creativity just when I was on the verge of burning out completely. I’d never have done that had I not been in a brand new country where anything was possible.
This time around, I’m long in the tooth enough that I’m not anticipating any major personality or lifestyle changes, but it’s still a great opportunity to experiment with different habits and hobbies. Plus there’s the sheer anticipation of what a new city holds for me. It’s a bit of a treasure hunt – or real life Pokeman-Go: is my Glasgow life at this event or that class? There it is – quick!
Happy New Year!