Friday, 31 December 2010

It's 2011......

The clock has just passed midnight here. 2010 is over and 2011 has begun.

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.


  1. Happy New Year - it is true that whatever you are experiencing now is temporary - nothing ever stays exactly the same - even New Year's Eve activities. I was happy to spend mine at home this year. I'm glad I saw the new millennium in though. I thought I was going to get crushed in a crowd!

  2. Yes, the only constant in life is Change. Here's to changes big and small in the new year - and gratitude for all of it. Happy New Year, new friend.

  3. Happy New Year everyone .. lets hope it's full of positive change!

  4. Happy new year to u Barry! Being also Scottish I can relate to the tradition to get bladdered & sing auld Lang syne but this yr I decided not to feel pressured into going out & doing just that. And guess what? I'm as happy as a pig in shit, I am not worrying about the payback, the cold, the waste of energy that would further deplete me. I am also entering 2011 with a sense of optimism & relief that last yr is over, there was a huge increase in loss in all areas of my life but this yr i feel happy that things will change for the better for all of us! Happy new yr to u dear Barry! Lovely to have got to know u Xxx

  5. i always wondered what happened to your al girl. i am deeply sorry to hear:...(
    you are a good man, a caring man. my life is richer just knowing you. and may 2011 be our year for answers! xx

  6. I had a commenter leave this line on my blog and I think it is a great one to recall as we move into a new year.

    “It is not just waiting for the storm to pass, it is learning how to dance in the rain it brings!”

    Love that!

    Happy New Year Barry.

    P.S. I'm so sorry about your past girlfriend and your grand-mother. And of course, that you have joined us in this journey we now find ourselves unwittingly taking! :-)

  7. Personally I find New Year more demanding and 'obligtaional' than Xmas and I'm not even Scots !

    Good for you for spending it how you wanted and needed and here's hoping 2011 will bring good things for us all. (*)

  8. Wow Barry, That must have been a very hard time in your life. Thank you for sharing. i wish for you a peaceful 2011. xxxx

  9. happy new year! I am a little behind with reading of blogs, as you can see ;)