Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reflections on New Years Past...

In less than two days, most of the world will be ringing in the New Year (why do I feel it necessary to capitalise those two words?) and also the New Decade (there go those capitals again...) Not surprisingly, with the onus of having to look forward to the ten years ahead, I've gone all nostalgic on the year that's just gone by, and cannot help but think back to where I was this time last year.

People generally are supposed to have something interesting to do on New Year’s Eve. Normally, I’ve been quite good about avoiding the damp, windy and cold weather that plagues London around this time of year, and have spent the past two years in cities with SNOW, as opposed to sleet. So much better, no? So two years ago it was Paris, and last year it was Berlin. Berlin was definitely the more fun of the two getaways, though that may have had to do with the insane amounts of partying that I managed to indulge in. I went clubbing on New Year’s Eve, and ended up at Berghain, this truly terrifying, massive industrial hellhole spread on three floors in East Berlin. The place has a basement that closes 45 minutes after the club doors open, and what happens in the basement, stays in the basement. I left the club (not the basement, I can assure you) at 7 am, and there was a queue a mile long to get INTO the place at that hour. The Germans can party, I tell you.

Funnily enough, my most vivid memory of that morning is choosing to hop straight into a cab home, ignoring my initial (and ultimately wiser) urge to hop into a kebab shop and pick up food. On getting back to the apartment I was staying in, I realised just how ravenously hungry I was, and as no other shops were open at the time, ended up having to sate myself with a day-old Danish pastry and some apple juice. I spent the 1st of January going to bed on an empty stomach.

Some might argue about the inauspiciousness of such a start to the year, but perhaps going hungry just made sure that I stayed hungry the whole year. Not for food, thankfully, nor shelter, but for new experiences. As much as a cliché as that is (and that’s a lot of “as”-es in a phrase) 2009 has been a fabulous year; time spent travelling, quitting full-time employment to do so, being adventurous, both in my professional life and my personal, my social and my love life. It’s meant not being content with the status quo, not being happy to be complacent. It’s meant forcing myself out of my comfort zone, doing things I might not have done in previous years, pushing myself.

It’s been absolutely terrifying.

But equally so exhilarating that I can’t believe I didn’t do this before and also cannot imagine going back to the way things were in 2008, or indeed in the years before then. I think I’ve figured out now how I want to live my life, and that’s not at all a bad thing.

Unless you’re my liver, I guess.