Happy New Year to all, I raise a glass of bubbly to your collective good health.
Or I would, if I wasn't still at work.
I might anyway, in the spirit of rebellion!
Or I would. If I had any Champagne.
I raise my carton of apple juice to you.
Let us get this out of the way, I have never liked this time of year, really. When we went to family get togethers regularly I was too young to appreciate the company (Or the alcohol) and nowadays our house gets invaded by my sister's mates, and there is invariably one who will miss the strike of 12 because they are being sick into our bath.
Let me also say that there is something to be said for making the choice to start afresh. Because really, there isn't - what's done is done, and time pushes forwards, not backwards. "This too shall pass" and all that, which is a good thing to remember in the very best of times, not only the very blackest days. And so, I think, this New Year's Eve will be different.
It is noticeable, when the sheen of festive childish excitement starts to dwindle, that Christmas and New Year are strange times because of the frantic energy at opposite ends of the pole. At one end, as I mentioned, the child-like glee, frantic and straining under the right to be excited. At the other, I have seen for the first time - total misery, in some cases. Not necessarily from myself, but from those around me. When I started at work my first question was "CAN I DECORATE THE OFFICE AT CHRISTMAS." Not instead of people nudging me to count down the days I have been regaled with stories of what a chore it is to spend the money, how they hate their family, WHY they hate their family, and how generally hard-done-by they are to have a family and people to buy for in the first place.
I had a very good year. I got a new job to support my acting work, and then was almost solidly employed in one show or another. I beat off depression and got off my medication - now I am feeling, as the children have their right to happiness, that I have had bestowed upon me the adults' right to be unhappy.
I do not have, for the first time, a solid plan for 2014. This scares me and I am dreading it a little. I need to make a showreel. I need to move out. I need to find a new agent. I need to find a first voiceover agent. I need to go back to talk therapy and get my mind back on track. I am terrified.
And I am possibly the most hopeful I have ever been. If there is one thing I know it is that I persevere. I will work for myself and put myself first, and while that particular habit has been a curse at time I also believe - crucially - in magic. I am an artist. Art is not supposed to be pleasent, although I derive so much joy I sometime forget this. I go to the theatre to laugh and cry and be shocked freely and without danger. I act to be in the worst kind of danger possible, to be unhealthily infatuated and destructively angry and unimaginably happy in a place where those frightening but more interesting aspects of the human nature are displayed without reserve.
2014 is nothing more than the next scene in my play, if you like. I do not need to force my happiness or success - just like times of suffering do not need encouragement to crop up, as every person will know. And this is what I think about the people I heard declaring their hatred for Christmas or New Year, as I, admittedly, tend to do every December 31st. I wonder how many stand on the edge of November 30th and think, "I don't know how Christmas will be this year. Let's see." And go into it with no expectations that the Turkey will be ruined, or relatives will die, or the kids won't like their presents.
Who knows, you might actually enjoy yourself.
And so, in closing, I would like to publicly acknowledge my own New Year's Resolution - because I'm an old-fashioned lass when it comes to tradition - I will go through this year, as much as possible, without expectations.