New Year Musings: F*ck The Countdown

The dawn of a new year creeps through the slit in the curtains; a rude awakening. Emerging from a self-induced coma, the remnants of the previous night begin to pound against your skull and scratch the roof of your mouth; your eyes strain against the winter sunlight. You slowly recoil at the thought of stepping outside and breathing in the fresh, crisp new morning, deciding instead to submerge once more beneath the duvet, in an attempt to escape the day.

Eyes close with a deep longing: to forget forever that which you can barely remember. The exuberant cries of a countdown echo softly in the dark recesses; the night begins to creep back slowly, in shameful snippets.

“10…9…8…7…”

You can recall being able to just about make out- through the whiskey-infused haze- the face of the moderately attractive girl whose hand you were grasping; you rattle off some names in your head, in vain. She was blonde, you certainly remember that much. The circumstances under which you had met resurface, and you allow yourself a wry smile; your offer of a drink, accompanied by a lazy compliment on her hair; she tells you her name (which escapes you still), her drink order (Tia Maria and milk), followed by a suggestive reminder that, “Blonde’s have more fun, y’know”.

Jesus.

“6…5…4…” 

Sleep is painfully elusive, so you decide to give in to the demands of the day. You pull back the duvet, and have to stop yourself from shouting. Your heart rate quickens, and the throbbing against your skull intensifies, as you stare at the stranger laying naked on the opposite side of the bed. You recognise the blonde hair, and immediately begin the process of rattling off names again. What the fuck was it?!

“3…2…1…”

Off to a flyer.

It’s hard to fathom a time when this sort of lifestyle appealed to me, but for whatever reason, it once did. I guess back in my follow-the-crowd days, things were very different.

At this time of year, for myself and the rest of the crowd, everything revolved around a countdown. And if, God forbid, you weren’t at a party to celebrate this momentous countdown, or you didn’t have someone- anyone- to share a midnight kiss with, well, let’s just say you weren’t exactly revered in the eyes of the crowd. So we conform; the ball drops, the drinks flow, and the memories of another uneventful, forgettable year fade.

New Years Day, a time to wipe the slate clean, right the wrong’s, and look forward with anticipation for better things to come. That sounds about right!

Right?

Nowadays I must admit, that doesn’t quite sit well with me. One of the biggest understandings I’ve come to over the past couple of years, has been that this whole idea of counting down to something, really doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

It’s no way to live.

Why do we find ourselves constantly building up to things, or counting down to events, wishing our lives away, in the hope that we can get there quicker. In the process of doing so, we fail to appreciate the magic of the present moment. Worse still, we become oblivious to the signs of the universe, manifested in order to place us on the right path, and allow us to continue in the direction of our true calling.

It’s programmed in us, this whole fascination with looking forward to things: “I can’t wait for this”, or “Roll on that”. And how often does that thing that we’ve been building towards, fail to live up to the grand expectations that we’ve placed upon it.

When you are measuring life, you are not living it.

– Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper

I refuse to live in this constant state of countdown; I don’t want my life to be such that I feel the need to wish the days away, with thoughts of something seemingly “better”. Why choose a life we are not content with anyway; a life that we feel the need to escape from every once in a while; a reactionary, follow-the-crowd life.

Why not act now, in the present. Why not change your situation permanently, if you do indeed feel the need to escape from your current one. Break free if you have to, and pursue the life that you’ve always wanted. Listen to the messages that are being relayed to you. Continue boldly in the direction in which your inner compass is pointing. Make each day great.

Put that on your list.