Time for a New Year

Christmas is over and those of us wishing to experience Hogmanay in Edinburgh (Hogmanay is Scots for new year) are trickling back in to the ‘burgh and readying our livers for some serious New Year’s damage, fully intending to start 2016 on thoroughly the wrong foot. Here in Edi a load of us will be joining the annual street party. Please don’t let it rain. After a brief sojourn back in the Big Smoke, it is a real pleasure to return, my BFF in tow, and get away from the crowds. Of course, tonight’s street party will entirely invalidate that, but for now even my residence hall has tumbleweed blowing around in it, it’s so quiet. Not to mention dirty. I look forward to when the cleaners come back from their holidays.

As the last 11 hours of 2015 tick away, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the concept of Time. The tradition of making new year’s resolutions is really a chance to acknowledge time, and the limited amount we all have of it; to resolve to make better use of it in the next year – a unit of time with which we measure our existences. Last semester flew by quicker than all the many autumn/winter semesters I have experienced yet. Already I mourn its passing, even as I look forward to the next. The three months of September to December were really rather eventful, with a whole lot more living squeezed in than the previous three, which is probably why it passed so quickly. Things and people have come into my life who have forever altered it (for better or worse… I’m inclined to think better, though).

I have many friends who are very ambitious and multi-talented, who drive themselves hard to excel in all areas of their lives. I know for a fact that more than one have life plans laid out in Excel spreadsheets, with specific goals and milestones for specific times (if there is one thing I gained from my corporate job, it is learning the value of Excel for organising my life). Yet even as we make resolutions for how we will better ourselves in the next twelve months, we mustn’t forget to appreciate how far we’ve come in the last twelve. Arguably my career took a step back this year (certainly my disposable income took a leap backward) but overall I’d say I took many steps forward in developing myself and my personal relationships – the most important things at the end of the day.

2015 was a landmark year for me in the sense that I turned 25 – my quarter century, officially putting me in my mid-twenties. The main difference to my early twenties is the number of engagement announcements on my Facebook news feed, and an ever-so-slightly more pressing sense of urgency to attain life goals, whatever that means. Buying first properties, marriage and even babies are becoming realities for an increasing number of my peers. While before these things seemed like faraway, terrifying adult concepts, now in closer range they have become simultaneously less intimidating, and much more so. Conceptually, the idea of engaging with them is less unthinkable, but their gravity and challenges seem more terrifying than ever.

The prevalent theme of the second half of my year has been intensively questioning my beliefs and expanding my awareness, as I have encountered more and more varied people with highly advanced levels of thinking. I have always been an open-minded, liberal person, but I never pretend to be perfect. I find my prejudices and biases being blasted one-by-one as time goes by and I am confronted with my shortcomings. Conventional “wisdom” or generally accepted ways of thinking, living, loving, speaking, being… they’re starting to fly out of the window; or at least I don’t judge and value things the same way as my mind and heart expand. I have even greater regard for the variety of individual human experience, rather than referring back to how closely or not something may align to a “norm”. As long as it’s not making the world a worse place or harming anyone, anything goes. It is getting harder and harder to shock me these days, and I see that as a positive development, which is still ongoing. The older I get, the better I learn how to be young, and not to take myself too seriously. It’s quite liberating.

Well, that’s my last post for 2015. Thank you all for reading thus far, and I look forward to writing more for you in 2016.

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr!

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