Being Scottish, I've always felt a strong sense of obligation on New Year's Eve. It has to be best night ever, every year. We have to be drunk. Very drunk. We have to be surrounded by people. Lots of people.
I remember the last New Year's Eve that I spent alone. It was the big one. The Millennium. Year 2000 was about to become reality. I had grand plans. I was to be all kilted up and to welcome in the New Year with the girl I was seeing at the time. I had moved to England 4 years earlier and she was American but we were going traditional - spending the night at a beautiful Scottish castle.
Unfortunately, our plans never became reality. She was back in America with her family for the holidays and was involved in a serious car crash that resulted in brain damage. A few days after that, my grandmother had the first of her strokes. And so it was that I welcomed in the Millennium alone in my flat. Plenty of tears were shed and there was much sadness. The sounds of celebrations outside my window only heightened my sadness, my bitterness and my resentment of all that is optimistic about this time of year.
Now, 11 years later, I am spending another alone. It feels very different though. This is all down to choice. I am happy to be alone. In fact, the past two days of my life have been spent in a cocoon thanks to the wonder-drug that is Melatonin. A double-dose gave me the ability to sleep, almost constantly, for most of those two days. To withdraw from the world. To cease all communications. Even with myself. To quieten my hyper-active mind and just let the world turn without me. I must admit, I enjoyed it so much that I am almost loathe to return.
2010 has presented me with plenty of challenges. I got sick. I dropped out of University. I lost much of the ability to care for myself. I questioned most aspects of my self. My values. My friends. My future. And now, as I listen to the sound of fireworks and celebrations outside the window of the tiny room that has become my sick-bay and the scene of most of my days and nights, I am content. Happy to be able to avoid any sense of having to interact but knowing that it isn't rooted in sadness or depression. It is a temporary respite. A recharge. A calm and quiet that will precede my continuing battles - to get well and to help others who are battling the same illness.
Here's to 2011. I enter it a better man than I entered 2010 and a much happier man than I entered 2000. May all your futures be full of abundant hope, happiness and health.