Happy New Year! Frohes neues Jahr! Gelukkige Nuwe Jaar! Welcome to 2022! Happy 2022! Bonne Année! ¡ Feliz Año Nuevo! Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
A couple of phrases you might’ve heard or even used over the past two weeks. But now that this new year is on a roll, I feel that I am finally ready to share a fact about myself that not many people might know. Here it goes:
I DON’T ENJOY NEW YEAR’S!
Now I’m sure your response might be one of shock, horror, confusion, questions and wondering why I’m such a party pooper, but let me explain.
Growing up in South Africa , our school terms used to run from January to December. During our summer holidays (December), schools would be out for roughly five weeks. My parents would take leave and we would pack our bags and head off on an adventurous holiday to the Cape. Five weeks of adventures, camping, family and fun! I had worked really hard during the whole school year to FINALLY reach this point. Move aside schoolwork and responsibility, it is vacation time!
The holiday would be going brilliantly! Sun, sea, Christmas, presents, ice cream, family, camping and great weather!
But then slowly but surely that dreaded 31st of December would come crawling along in stealth mode. One moment it would be the 1st of December and then “BOOM!” the 31st.
The last day of the year would always bring perfect weather. My mom would pack a picnic basket and we would be off to the beach to spend the day building sandcastles and splashing in the waves. You see, without my knowledge, my mom actually knew how I felt about New Year’s and therefore used her masterful distraction skills to keep my mind off of the date and time.
After a long fun day on the beach, old year’s eve would then arrive.
Back at the campsite, my dad would start lighting the fire and getting the meat ready for the braai (barbeque), while my mom would prepare some salads, my brother would help carry things and I would set the table. The final evening of the year would be spent enjoying one another’s company, playing board games, chatting and enjoying the warm weather.
at 23:55 the realization would occur that there are only five minutes left of the year. Anxiety would kick in and at 23:57 I would excuse myself and head off to the bathroom. I would wait for the dreaded clock to strike twelve, knowing that in three minutes time I would never be able to go back to that year.
What would be the last thing I do in that year? Seeing as I’m stuck in the bathroom, should I brush my teeth? Test the effects of toothpaste on hair? Attempt to remove the toilet roll from the middle? Read the instructions on the soap bottle?
The options were endless, but time would be running out soon.
As the clock would strike twelve, uncontrollable tears would run down my face, as I would quietly sit alone in the bathroom and say goodbye to the previous year. (Let’s just say I don’t do well with goodbyes.) Everything I had worked so hard for, gone in the blink of a clock. Now I had to start all over again! Back to school and back to reality!
Five to ten minutes later with bloodshot eyes and a sniffly nose, I would head back over to the family where they would calmly be waiting for me to return from my “New Year’s morn”. We would wish one another a happy new year, finish our board game and head off to bed.
As an adult, one would think that I would’ve grown out of it. Oh, how I wish I did. Even though I don’t cry myself into a state of bloodshot eyes anymore, unfortunately, New Year’s is something I still battle with.
If we are ever to meet at a New Year’s party and you notice me stealthily moving towards the bathroom at 23:57. Please don’t worry, I am perfectly okay. I kindly ask that you excuse me as I have a year to say goodbye to.