Just like that, the New Year has arrived. Part of me enjoys the symbolism of this; a fresh start if you will, out with the old and in with the new, where we’re all full of positivity for what the next 12 months brings. There is a slightly more cynical part of me which takes it all with a pinch of salt and thinks it’s just another day but I try to keep the cynic in me at bay, seldom good ever comes from her getting air time.
The customs and traditions surrounding New Year differ from country to country and have evolved over the years. I remember as a little girl both of my Grans deep cleaning their houses on New Year’s Eve as it was tradition that you shouldn’t take any of the dirt of the old year into the new one with you.
In Scotland we used to have a tradition for ‘first footing’ whereby the first person to come through the door after midnight on Hogmanay brought with them a lump of coal as a sign of good luck that the house should always be warm for the coming year. It was thought to bring the most luck if this ‘first footer’ was a dark haired male and even more so if this person was a stranger. In some countries this dark haired stranger would also bring salt and bread to symbolise food and money for the coming year. In others it’s tradition to open the back door at the stroke of midnight to “let out” the last year whereas in other countries it’s considered bad luck to enter the new year with any outstanding debts.
We may have lost a lot of these traditions over the years but there are some that we’ve hung onto, such as waiting up till midnight on New Year’s Eve to see the old year out and welcome in the new one. Another is, of course, the making of New Year’s resolutions.
We’ve hit the time of year where we decide what we’re going to do to make our lives that little bit better and we’ve all suddenly became full of very good intentions. January is like the ultimate Monday, you know how you can’t start a diet or a new fitness regime on any day other than a Monday (that is a law right?) So every year like 90% of the population I set some fitness related resolutions. The usual; lose weight, get fit, get healthy……highly predictable I know ! This year more specifically I’d like to lose two stone and run a 10k. I have wanted to lose that same two stone for the last two years though so I won’t get my hopes up there! Oh dear there’s that cynic again!!
I’ve also set myself some blog related resolutions – things I’d like to achieve on the blog this year and of course some personal resolutions too. Nothing particularly revolutionary but for starters I would like to improve my French. I’ve also decided that at 31 it’s maybe time I finally start taking care of my skin. I’ve always been a face wipe and water type of girl and I think I’ve been fortunate enough to get away with this until now but I think 31 might finally be the time to take better care of it before it’s too late. I’d also like to learn to use chopsticks well enough to be able to use them in public without resembling a bumbling idiot, lead a more clutter free life and to challenge myself more, in all aspects of my life.
Today is the day known as ‘Blue Monday’, the universally renowned gloomiest day of the year. Now I’m not by any means whatsoever suggesting that this day has any correlation to people who are actually suffering from depression. A mental illness is far, far more complex than that and of course it’s important that we all understand that we have to differentiate between an actual mental health problem and the feelings brought on by a miserable Monday in January.
It’s thought that the term ‘Blue Monday’ was concocted by the travel industry to encourage people to book holidays to relieve their ‘January blues’, and I hope the person that first created the term got a raise as it’s PR gold! As, as absolutely ridiculous as it is, today really is a miserable day. I have had so many messages from friends today saying they’re fed up, or got no energy and I know I personally have struggled to get motivated today much more so than normal. Mondays are gloomy at the best of times but the third one in January is never going to be great. The weather is bad; we’re in the middle of winter, Montreal is currently a sludgy, icy mess; we’re all still feeling the pinch from Christmas spending, and summer seems an awfully long way off so it is no surprise that it’s also the day where statistically most people break their New Year’s Resolutions. So if you’re still going with yours then well done you!
I hope that this year maybe I will be able to keep my resolutions for longer than normal (considering I normally fail by about day three I’m not doing too bad) but even if I don’t I guess the fact that the arrival of the New Year makes you look at these aspects of your life at all is a positive. I’m still the same old me but maybe I’m just trying a little harder to improve certain parts of myself and that can’t be a bad thing, we always have room for improvement.
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? If so I’d love to hear how you’re getting on with them.