One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to start a blog. So, here we go. 1st February. Yay me! It is actually Chinese New Year so rather than feeling tardy I reckon I’m bang on time. I know I’m not Chinese and I did already celebrate New Year on December 31st, at least I think I did...I can’t really remember much about it to be honest. And that’s the trouble. New Year is a stupid time of year to make New Year’s resolutions. Especially if, like me you are an overweight, heavy drinking, middle aged layabout and all your resolutions revolve around doing things, or indeed not doing things in an attempt to become something other than an overweight, heavy drinking, middle aged layabout.
In other words, giving stuff up. Last year I was clever. I told everyone that my NY resolution was to ‘stay in shape’. I just neglected to mention that the shape I’d chosen was ‘round’. I managed to keep it though. I did really rather well. I can’t do that again this year. Something’s gotta give. Something other than the waistband of my trousers.
But New Year isn’t a time for abstaining. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s too close to Christmas for a start. There’s only a week between them and that week is usually spent eating and drinking in the manner to which we have become accustomed. To just give up...go cold turkey if you will, ‘scuse the pun...that next day, that’s madness. It’s crazy to even try. No wonder we fail.
New Year is still part of the ‘festive’ season. We are still in the full throes of gluttony and consumption. We are still stuffing our faces in a way we never do with food and drink we never usually consume at any other time of the year.
There’s still stuff in the house.
There are still a few segments of Terry’s Chocolate Orange. A few cubes of turkish delight are still visible, nestling within the depths of a trough of icing sugar (mmmm eat it with a spoon). There are still dense, sticky dates calling “Eat Me...” There’s stuff everywhere.
And there’s still the booze. The inexplicable selection of Christmas booze. At no other time of year would I purchase Sherry, Port or Baileys and yet there they all sit taunting me from the drinks cabinet. Opened but not quite finished. And it’s wrong to pour booze away. It has to be drunk. However long it takes. Trust me, in my house it won’t take long. Well, the Advocaat might be hanging round for a bit.
Why in the name of baby Jesus do we buy Advocaat at Christmas? It is quite simply the most disgusting blend of milky, eggy, sugary gloop ever to be manufactured and yet every year I find myself thinking, usually at about four o’clock on Christmas Eve, “Ooo, I just fancy a snowball....” If anyone brought a bottle of Advocaat to a party or to a barbecue in the middle of June all the other guests would be screaming “Advocaat? Are you mental??” And yet, at Christmas....mmmm, liquid custard.
So. What I do, is I wait for the Christmas fairy dust to settle, I let the twelve days of Christmas come to their bitter, grinding conclusion and I carry on eating, drinking and watching Morecombe and Wise on telly until Chinese New Year.
Then I give stuff up. Or change my regime. It’s not just about giving stuff up you know. it’s about making little changes, it’s about examining ourselves and our lifestyles and paying attention to our lazy choices and damaging habits. It’s about creating a routine and environment for ourselves whereby we can operate at our ultimate performance level and gain the most reward and enjoyment from our daily lives. It’s about giving stuff up.
Now, I am not familiar with the Chinese traditions of New Year nor have I ever been to China. I’ve been to Chinatown and I know they hang pretty red lanterns and I think they burn pretend money and get new haircuts. I know that each year is represented by an animal. And that you’re supposed to take on the characteristics associated with the animal that represents the year in which you were born. A little like astronomy but without Russell Grant. The Chinese zodiac follows a twelve year cycle including such animals as the rat, the rooster and the monkey. My ex girlfriend recently discovered that she was a dragon. I could have told her that years ago. But then, what do I know? I’m a sheep.
This year we are actually moving from the year of the snake into the year of the horse. A very powerful time apparently. The year of the horse is apparently a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory.
A good time to start a new regime no? I have, ostensibly spent the year of the snake slithering between every different diet and regime available. Crash dieting, panic workouts, desperate pleas to specialists and rigorous training schedules. Now it’s time to relax and digest all that information (without a side of fries); to consolidate all the advice and suggestions and knit together a patchwork blanket of strategies and habits that work for me. that work for my life. and that work for good.
It is time for my real life to begin. For the real me to emerge. Time for me to say “Happy New Year, Happy New Me...” or indeed, "Kung Hei Fat Choy"
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!