2023 Grateful 52: New Year

I seem to have lost the party gene. Perhaps it’s something that happens when you turn the five-oh corner. Don’t get me wrong: I still like to whoop it up on occasion but that whole mad thing with lots of people and noise no longer appeals. Especially for New Year. New Year is now a head wreck.

It’s the traditions. The long list of things I should do is only slightly longer than the list of what I shouldn’t do. A new one this year, helpfully contributed by the lovely BE, is that I couldn’t have anything wet in the house as the clock moved from 11:59 through to 00:01. I was busy making sure all the towels were dry; I chucked the dishcloths outside before midnight. Having something wet in the house portends tears for the year and I’ve had enough of those in 2022 to last me a while.

l had to make a decision as to whose New Year superstitions I’d adopt as we were a mixed bunch: Irish, American, English, Belgian, and Russian. But as we’ve all chosen Hungary as our second home, I kept the caviar present for another day. Hungarians don’t eat fish at New Year’s as fish can swim away with your luck. They don’t eat fowl either as they scratch the luck out. And there’s a reason they don’t eat beef, but I can’t remember. The safest bet is pork.

We did the whole burying money in the back garden and digging it up again on 1 January. That’s one I’ll keep, even if we move to Outer Mongolia. And I had lentil soup to eat after midnight.

We had an unseasonably warm New Year with sunshine and temperatures reaching 18 degrees C. We watched the sun set from the terrace for the first time (new house) instead of making what had become an annual trip down to the island to watch it from there. Now that we can see the Kis-Balaton from the house, it’s all a lot more convenient; I can have my bubbly with a clear conscience.

I’ve only made one resolution – and that’s to embrace the possible.

I came across a quotation from author John Andrew Holmes that resonated:

Never tell a young person that something cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for somebody ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing.

So, I’m now making a stellar effort to think possible. It’s not as easy as it sounds, mind you.

We also celebrated Orthodox New Year, adding three more countries to the pot. Beds are in short supply but we have couches and sleeping bags. No one seemed particularly bothered.

This time we got to open the caviar at midnight – it seemed more appropriate. It was also Friday, the thirteenth. I may well have gotten a speeding ticket on my way back from town but even that thought didn’t faze me.

It had been two years since these friends had been down. The last time, the house was a wreck. Seeing their reaction to what we’ve done in the meantime did something to alleviate the bad memories of the whole process. Renovations are stressful. And that in itself is an understatement. We’re nowhere near finished. We’re about a year behind schedule. But we’ll get there.

As if to give the nod to my newfound efforts at thinking possible and their amazement at the transformation, another quotation crossed my desk. This time from Henry Curtis:

Make your plans as fantastic as you like, because twenty-five years from now they will seem mediocre. Make your plans ten times as great as you first planned, and twenty-five years from now you will wonder why you did not make them fifty times as great.

It’s said that whatever you do on the first day of the New Year is what you’ll do for the rest of the year. Even though 1 January was a Sunday, I sent a couple of invoices. I started a book. I took time to learn some Hungarian. January 14 (Orthodox New Year) was a Saturday. We went to Slovenia to the healing forest and were home in time to watch the sunset from the terrace. We ate well and brought out the boardgame Discover Europe.

Small white church with a steeple in a winter forest

I think I’ve covered all my bases.

Am grateful for the new start, the new year(s), and the new attitude. Long may it last.


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