At one second past midnight of Friday 31st December, it will be Saturday. But we make a big deal of this because it is the start of a new year. Why is this? To celebrate having got through the last 365 days? To celebrate that we survived? (I am thankful for my survival everyday when I wake up. I am healthy for a 67 year old but I never get too smug about it.)
After the year we’ve all had, I imagine many people will breathe a sigh of relief they got through 2021. Those people will probably be making New Year resolutions – most of which will be about surviving 2022; i.e. must do more exercise, have a healthier diet, reduce stress, have more booster jabs etc..
Of course most resolutions fail but I can see why people make them. It’s a way of taking some control in an increasingly uncertain world. Who’d have guessed what nonsense we would have to put up with in 2021 and the level of uncertainty and unreliability we would have to endure. And I don’t put this down to just Covid and Brexit.
It seems to me that the world is changing more quickly and less predictably. I feel like I have less and less control over just about everything and that the world is becoming a more dangerous, poorer, less democratic, dirtier, violent place and less fun to live in.
This year I have worried much more about military conflict with Russia or China, dysfunctional governments all around the world, climate change, environmental disasters, another pandemic or biotechnology risks, the rise of Artificial Intelligence, the decline of human intelligence and social behaviour, the trend towards totalitarianism and human control, the lack of real choices available to us, wokism and cancel culture, how our grandchildren will deal with all this, an asteroid landing on my house and of course the diabolical driving standards in Greater Manchester.
That’s not to say these things didn’t occur to me in previous years. But they are large in my mind now and they won’t go away on 1st January. Yet I will still observe the rituals of Auld Langs Syne, Firstfoot and bringing in coal, salt and silver for the New Year toast, and I will try and gather together some enthusiasm for 2022.
And my Champagne toast to family and friends will be,
“Thank God 2021 is over. To Hope and Survival! Now let’s party like its 1999!”
And a very Happy New Year to my half-dozen readers!!