So here we are, the first Monday of the new year which is, in it’s own way, another new start. Back to it. Party’s over!
Which direction will your resolutions point you in this year?
Mine are going to take me onwards and upwards and ready to take on the joys and challenges that will inevitably arise in this new year. I actually enjoy thinking about and making resolutions, which are really just post-it notes in our brains instead of on the fridge, to remind us what we want to achieve in the next twelve months (thanks go to Julius Caesar for dividing up our time this way and to some Gregorians for later agreeing to it). It’s also The Year of the Monkey. It’s a win-win all the way.
Wanna know why we even make resolutions? It’s because we cannot shake off our past…
Making resolutions, let’s call it a “trend”, first started with the ancient Babylonians 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations in honour of the new year—though for them the year began not in January but in early spring when the crops were planted. During a massive 12-day festival they either crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed (I’d like my CD back, you know who you are!). If they kept to their word, their gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor—a place no one wanted to be. Bloody Pagans. It’s all their fault.
Romans under Julius Caesar continued this “trend”, as well as those for funny hairstyles and toga parties. Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Romans celebrated by offering sacrifices to Janus (doesn’t bear thinking about), exchanging gifts with one another (and they didn’t even have Tom Ford then), decorating their homes with laurel branches (the Roman Martha Stewart must have made a killng) and attending raucous parties, toga parties of course.
I really fancy a caesar salad now, not sure why.
So, civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for thousands of years; we have a lot of people to blame! Today, New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of New Year’s Day…unless you’re old and/or tired and prefer to have a cuppa and got to bed early. In which case you look a lot better the next day than those who did not and I speak from experience. Now common traditions include parties, drinking champers, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year, drinking champers, watching fireworks, and drinking champers!
Traditions of celebrations have since developed differently in different cultures. In Spain and several other Spanish-speaking countries, people bolt down a dozen grapes (in the form of champers, kidding) symbolising their hopes for the months ahead…right before midnight. No choking allowed. Other New Year’s dishes feature legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and herald future financial success; lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the southern United States. Pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other countries. Ring-shaped cakes and pastries, a sign that the year has come full circle, (that’s cool isn’t it?) round out the feast in the Netherlands, Mexico, and Greece. In Sweden and Norway, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served and if you find the nut, expect a year of good fortune. If you find a nut in Canada, this does not happen, just sayin.
I love that so many celebrations are about enjoying food and feasting, cos by New Year’s Day it’s all about denying yourself of any of it. Annoyingly. So it’s bla bla bla drink lemon water, lose weight, exercise more, detox bla bla bla. All of which are good resolutions but I think they lose sight of the more important things…
This year I am concentrating on fundamentals. I do not make beauty resolutions per se, because I believe that concentrating on other things will make us more beautiful in any case.
So I am going to:
- concentrate on taking care of myself. This is a hard one, because sometimes, depending on what our responsibilities are, we feel guilty about this and call it ‘selfishness’. But there is a big difference between self-care and selfishness. Women tend to have more issues with guilt because we usually take care of others before ourselves. I will pay special attention to this one this year because if we don’t take care of ourselves, there is actually less good stuff left for the ones we love and want to take proper care of. Capiche?
- laugh more. I hope your friends and lovers make you laugh, otherwise what’s the point? Think of it as comedy collagen and imagine what laughing can do for your looks as well as your spirit. Laugh-lines are beautiful.
- work less and have more fun, doing things I love with the people I love. No point working all the hours god sends if there’s no-one awake when you get home.
- get outside. Fresh-air fitness is the name of the game!
- give myself the gift of silence and meditation, regularly and often. Anti-ageing for the body and soul!
- eat lots of avocados, coconuts, grass-fed butter and beef broth. Think food for your brain, skin and hair!
- stay away from violence in “entertainment” because I am sick to death of it and it leaves me irate at the state of affairs and what is found acceptable. I will rally against it but not watch it.
- donate make-up to women who are returning to the workplace after trauma or crisis and who are in need of a bit of help. The thing about doing things for other people is that it does something for ourselves too.
- accept the things I cannot change and wish for the courage to change the things I can.
Wish me luck. Whatever your resolutions this year I hope they come to fruition and that we all have a wonderful year. Happy New Year everyone!
P.S I love New Year’s Eve and all the fun and hope that goes along with it, always have. The best New Year’s Eve I ever experienced was undoubtedly heralding in 2000 on London Bridge. Will never forget it. We all thought the world might go topsy turvy with the new millennium. Instead we celebrated under a sky of endless fireworks which took breaths away, and got home safely.
Second best was last year in Times Square. I got the closest to Taylor Swift that I will ever get. Probably. That wasn’t what made it a fabulous night- New York alone can do that for you.
Signing off this year from Vancouver. I am going for a walk in the sunshine. Start as you mean to carry on! And Happy New Year xo