Sunday, 11 January 2015

Resolution and Remembrance

"Auld Lang Syne". Mairie Campbell (version) 
"Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future."
(Fulton Outsole)

"I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done."
(Lucille Ball)

"At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent."
(Barbara Bush)

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne;
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for the sake of auld lang syne."
(Robert Burns - adapted)
My mother said that there were always four things you could never get back in life; the harsh word after it was spoken, the stone after it was thrown, the occasion after it was missed, the time after it was lost. We set our lives to the ticking of clocks and the buzzing of alarms, dashing from one scrawled page entry to another. We tie ourselves into appointments and routines to make the most of the time we may have, then mourn the lack of time we've left ourselves simply To Be.
At New Year, we celebrate the opportunity to do all the things we've been meaning to do but  never found the time for. We immediately make lists, physically or mentally, and commit a whole new calendar to appointments and events. Yet we also encourage ourselves to look to times past; to reminisce and mourn. Memories, remembrance; this is how we mortals hold on to people, animals, places and events. It's how we hold on to ourselves in the passage of time.
I wasn't unduly surprised when a friend told me that the blog and I had missed New Year, even before the twelve days of Christmas 2014 were over. We pin our hopes and dreams on the big clock striking midnight; we link arms with inebriated strangers to call to mind sadly missed loved ones and opportunities. Then the first day of January stumbles into the second day, slips into the third and beyond... The truth is that this will be a "new" year until we embark on the next one, God willing. It's a fair assumption, based on personal experience, that the majority of resolutions earnestly embarked on ten days ago will be abandoned within weeks. Is it any less commendable if we restart the diet, finish the painting, join the gym or begin the Mandarin conversation course in May?
Mankind has not equipped itself well so far this new year: the news stories attest to revenge and aggression rather than remembrance and resolution. In the blink of an eye, the squeeze of a trigger, those who were so recently clearing away over-priced wrapping paper and cheap tinsel and vowing to give up smoking after that last packet are gone. Whoever they are, whatever they have done, their names may indeed be brought to mind for those who remain to link arms at midnight at the end of this year. And so it continues; until, one day, it stops.
All our days are numbered; the longest life may still be too short if it's heavy on regrets. I have learned at least one lesson in recent years; that time can scar as well as heal when it's mishandled. This year, I've resisted the urge to comfort myself with a list of resolutions that may become a testament of regrets. Instead, I've decided that, whatever I achieve or fail to do, getting through this year must be sweeter if I try to move forward with Grace, Grit and Gratitude in equal measure.
Instead of New Year's resolutions, I've included here some little guidelines to living well, applicable regardless of how old the year is, or indeed how old we are. I've also included a favourite version of "Auld Lang Syne", even though New Year's Eve really is old-long-since; possibly not that surprising, considering my Robbie Burns crush. Burns didn't intend to restrict his iconic anthem to one day of the year. Across the globe, it's sung on birthdays and anniversaries, at funerals and reunions. I often find myself humming it in my local Poundland (they're used to me). Which is just grand, because resolution and remembrance, like friendship and kindness, are for life, not just New Year x

 ("One Day Like This"  Elbow, with the BBC Concert Orchestra and choir Chantage)
"Drinking in the morning sun,
Blinking in the morning sun;
Shaking off a heavy one,
 Heavy like a loaded gun.
What made me behave that way,
Using words I never say?
I can only think it must be love:
Oh anyway, it's looking like a beautiful day.
 So throw those curtains wide;
One day like this a year will see me right."
(Garvey, Jupp, Potter, Potter and Turner)



  1. Gisele this is so very true and apt. :) Keep em coming love xxx

    1. You may rue the day you said that, now I've got a laptop up and running again! Thanks for always reading 'em! See you soon Chrissie xxx