Happy, Happy New Year

January 2, 2007 at 1:48 am (Uncategorized)

Well, it’s back to work for us today – poor Llew is back in the office, and I am back at the desk. It feels like most of Sydney is taking this week off, too, but no such leisure for us – we used those holidays in Papua New Guinea, Italy, and our cheeky Tokyo stopover, so we’re not really in a position to complain.

I had one of the nicest New Year’s Eve celebrations in recent memory, perhaps because I didn’t leave my own home. We kept it very casual, and it was a lovely intimate gathering of some of our dear friends. The barbeque kept cranking out the goods over the course of the afternoon and evening, the records kept turning, the conversation flowed, the champagne foamed, and the laughter filled the air. We even had a couple of nude bathers make the dash into the surf after midnight, just for good measure. Watching their bare and blindingly white bottoms disappear into the surf with great gulping whoops of glee seemed as good an omen for the coming year as any other I can imagine. There were too many boys present for me to join in on that occasion, but I must remember to take my own plunge very soon. Skinny-dipping at night is a joyous act, full of freedom and just a little courage, mixed with some of the recklessness and abandon of youth. For me, it’s the perfect celebration of the possibilities of a new year.

I love this time because it very neatly straddles the past and the future. I can still see last year, and all it contained, and I can look ahead now, and see my hopes and dreams for this next one. Last year, a number of my friends celebrated their marriages. A number of friends gave birth to healthy, beautiful children. A number of friends joined us in PNG for one of the most amazing trips of my life so far. I made new friends. I continued to occasionally miss long lost ones. I spent time with old friends and new. I returned to Italy, and this time saw it with Llew, mercifully without the crushing budget and woefully limited wardrobe of a necessarily resourceful backpacker. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Tokyo, and loved it as fiercely and as instantly as I always knew I would. I had a wonderful year living, travelling, eating, drinking, swimming, talking, competing, learning, and laughing with my husband. Llew’s parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with a lovely party at their home, surrounded by some of their dearest friends and their three children. I saw them, for the first time it shames me to admit, as simply the two of them, a couple in love, rather than as the parents and in-laws they have always been to me. Now I will never again forget that’s who they are – one day, that will be me.

I graduated with my PhD, and said goodbye to the academic life. I tried my hand at journalism, and, although I don’t want to be a full-time journo, I continued to eek out a small living as a freelancer. I had a false start or two, but now I know I want language to be about meaning, not about vacuity. I want to care about what I write, and I want what I write to be worth caring about.

I started work on a graphic novel, and two other works besides. I made that start last year, and I am going to finish them this next. And then I am going to try to get someone interested in publishing them. It has taken me until 2007, damn it, 2007, to get back to exactly where I started. I only ever wanted to write books. And I’ve done plenty of other things instead, but I’ve never done that. It turns out that writing is still the only thing, professionally, that I want to do. So I’m scared – petrified – of what finally doing the writing will bring, but I’m very excited, too, and very hopeful that although it’s taken me so long to get here, I do now come to it better equipped for the task, simply for having lived longer, and lived well, and suffered deeply in the time it’s taken to reach 2007. We’re here now, this year has begun, and I wish everyone a peaceful, happy, healthy, personally challenging and fulfilling year. Going forward is just as thrilling as looking back.

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