I’m not so good at this New Year stuff. When it comes to all the festivities, I feel that I’m really too old to party but too young to go to bed early. And I’ve lived too long to be totally sold on the cheesy new-leaf-turning resolution stuff, most of which is likely to end in disappointment and self-loathing before the month’s out. More often than not, I back my way into January, feeling under-dressed (metaphorically) and under-prepared (actually), wondering what hit me and how to do it differently next time.
This year’s beginning has been particularly damp-squibbish in that I’m recovering from an annoying virus (sorry to mention it yet again) which set everything back so that I’m still finishing my wretched Christmas cards. Both my kids have important, life-changing exams coming up thick and fast too, so the household is riddled with anticipatory anxiety. Not the very best start.
Though not the worst either. I saw this wonderful letterpress print on Etsy the other day. It says ‘All glory comes from daring to begin’ (attributed to one Eugene F. Ware), and it really struck a chord with me. How many times have I wimped out before I even reached the first hurdle? In fact, if I’m forced to make one single resolution for 2011, it’ll be: I Will Not Wimp Out At Hurdles, first or otherwise. I will climb every mountain, ford every stream, yada yada yada, ’til I find my dream. I will cease hiding any light under bushels, or burying talents, however small they might be. In short, I will grasp every opportunity to flourish. There! I have it in writing.
This surprising clematis survived the sharp frosts of last winter and came out big and blue and beautiful in May. It had only just been planted it in its ceramic pot the year before, and I almost gave up on it entirely early in 2010, assuming it to be dead after its first, very harsh winter. It certainly didn’t look anything more than a dead twig. It was that close to going in the green waste. I’m thinking now that it can be so terribly hard to imagine – in the thin, grey light of short winter days – that such a full, brilliant flowering is possible. Let that be a lesson. Resolution number 2: I Will Keep Planting And Hoping, as you just never know which of your efforts will go on to thrive.
So, I hope it’s not too late to wish you a glorious new year. Whatever you’re doing, don’t apologise, or stand in the way of your own radiance (it might turn out to be a surprising colour…) or be easily deflected from your hopes and dreams. Above all, dare to begin.